17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.
 

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

It's only S.E.X.

Its not news to any of us that this world is screwed up. And as the mother of a little boy I find myself having increased anxiety about his puberty years. The kids not even 2 yet and in my mind all he wants to do is have sex. Now I will be the first to admit that I am completely neurotic, I mean the kid is only 16 months old for heaven's sake. But, I am also constantly reminded of how little we value sex and sexuality in this world. These things can be traded for popularity, money and success. I am becoming a basketcase about the positive development of my sons sexuality (yes, I’m losing sleep over it) and I have now vowed to be the militant keeper of his innocence.

It isn’t surprising to me that there are people in my life that have had some sort of negative experience with sex and/or their sexuality, most of them at an early age. More and more predators live in our neighborhoods and the abused are coming out in droves so its bound to affect most of us. If you have no idea what I could possibly be talking about, count yourself lucky. Its true that you really don’t know whom you are until you see these problems face to face.

Stories that stand out: #1 My best friend's husband seeing his first nudie pic when he was only 6 yrs old while playing over at a friend's house. This little kids father had an enormous stash of Playboy mags. While my friend’s husband has gone on to be a great father, he is also addicted to pornography.
#2: My (male) cousin who was sexually molested by the 12 yr old neighbor girl while playing in his tent in the back yard. He is now serving time for one count of child molestation. And most recently, #3: Having a (very nice) woman in my home on a weekly basis (Yeah, New Member FHE!!) who has openly shared that she is still being sexually propositioned by her own father. As with each of these stories, once the cycle begins it’s hard to break, and because of that (even though its completely judgmental of me), I cringe every time she tries to pick up my son. (And yes I realize how horrible this makes me sound)

I know the probability of my son making it through his life completely unscathed is impossible. I continually pray that I will be able to keep him safe and have the guidance to know when he shouldn’t be somewhere, or with someone. But what can I do? Follow him around until he’s married? (hhmmm, tempting) How is it that I can protect his innocence while supporting the natural stages of curiosity, hoping he turns out to be a respectful, sexually healthy husband and father?

And as a side note, I do realize that I might be raising the easier of the two sexes (if that’s possible). I have a strong husband that can help teach my ds to respect and love women, which honestly, seems less challenging to me than teaching a girl to love and respect her own self. Some days I am truly astonished that I even chose to bring children into this filthy world and I’m surprised my brain hasn’t exploded yet… although it’s started now, so I guess I can’t really get off the ride.

16 Comments:

  • What a good subject! As a product of a divorced home (I was 11 at the time--any age is awful, but especially 11), I was sent into a whirlwind of self-doubt and self-esteem issues, that sent me into a few years that I wish I could take back. I think with any children, male or female, the key to healthy self-image and sexuality as adults is a good dose of self-worth. I think you're right that having a father that shows sons how to treat women is huge. We have 3 girls, and my husband has always said how important it is for them to know how they should be treated too. They know that a man/husband should show respect for women by being kind, using kind words, supporting modesty, showing love and doing all the extra things like opening doors, etc. When I think of my daughters being teenagers I hypervenilate a little, but knowing that they are being raised in a loving, supportive environment gives them a good start.

    I also believe that being open in conversation with your children is so important, especially when it comes time for "the talk". There wasn't much conversation (besides the mechanics, not the emotional side) in my home, until my dad had the affair and it all came out.

    I think you're on the right track, especially if you're already concerned about it!!
    posted by Blogger wendysue at 2/08/2006 07:51:00 AM  



  • Wow...AMAZING post! With two little boys, I think about this a lot too....but I think I'm in a little more denial, "They are so cute and innocent...they will NEVER want to have sex!"

    As moms, I think all we can really do without going completely insane is to try and trust our instincts about the people around us, let our kids feel open about talking to us about ANYTHING and finally, just trying to keep some faith. It definitely isn't a foolproof strategy, but short of leashing our kids to us until they are 18, I'm not sure there is one.

    I tend to be critical of my own mom at times, but she did do an outstanding job of keeping us safe without limiting our freedom. She had an amazing "sniffer." Kept us away from our own neighborhood predator when all the other moms and kids loved him. (It came out later that he was raping his own young daughter and abusing other neighborhood kids), as well as other questionable relatives. I didn't see what she was doing then...but I do now and I am so grateful for her vigilance. I just pray that "sniffer" was passed down in the genes for my own kids benefit!
    posted by Blogger Jen at 2/08/2006 07:52:00 AM  



  • Talk about a Pandora's box. There are so many things to be frightened by, and I have lost sleep over my two (little) boys, too. With my first girl on the way in only a matter of weeks, I can only imagine how much more sleep I will loose.

    All I can come up with is to provide a good, strong model of what a healthy relationship between a man and a woman looks like. I hope we are doing a good job- and I think keeping close tabs, being open and honest and keeping the leash short can't hurt.

    Also, waiting to introduce sex as a BIG topic when they are older seems counterproductive. Who won't be embarassed and uncomfortalbe if this is something never talked about? Rather, having an open, ongoing dialogue, in an age-sensitive manner, is probably a better idea.

    Now, if we can just pull it off...
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 2/08/2006 10:50:00 AM  



  • I am so scared of sexual abuse. I watch Oprah and I just take mental notes about how to avoid it for my children. I recently found out about some similar stories about some people close to me and it breaks me in two. I don't believe there is anything more adverse and more violating than sexual abuse.

    Abuse can become a family tradition. In one family I know 2/3 of the children continued the abuse, another changed and has spent a lifetime finding health.

    1 in 4 women is sexually abused, and that is only REPORTED cases. Another friend of mine was on a girls trip with 8 girlfriends, and a casual conversation turned serious when someone brought up that statistic. 2 of the 8 girls in the room admitted to being sexually abused.

    The social masks we wear are certainly dangerous...nobody knows what's happening in the dark places at night or elsewhere. I remember my mom's radar going off once and I didn't really get it, but now that I am a mother, I know EXACTLY what she is talking about. Mine has gone off twice RECENTLY and I MUST listen...I would rather be wrong about that person than right.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/08/2006 11:01:00 AM  



  • Thank you Tracy M for your comments. I do keep forgetting that you can talk about sex at any age as long as you keep it understandable. I definitely grew up in a home where it was NEVER talked about. I finally got the "do you know what sex is?" at 16 yrs. a few months before my 17yr old sister gave birth (the third girl in my family to do such). Ummmm, love my mom, but a little late dont you think?

    Thanks Kage for the reminder to listen...i still struggle with that and always end up getting bit in the end and I dont want the consequence to be my childrens well being.

    AAHH!! Im scared!
    posted by Blogger ksl at 2/08/2006 11:18:00 AM  



  • Last year a preschool teacher held a workshop for parents regarding protecting your children. Her main message was that children should not direct contact with strangers and as parents we are responsible for making sure that our children only come in contact with adults that we know and while under our watch. She emphasized that parents are barriers and children are too vulnerable to be left unattended with strangers and or acquaintances. Moreover, she added that you should never force a child to give a kiss or say hello to someone that they do not feel comforatable around even if it is Grandma because this teaches them not to listen to their own fears. It was a great workshop that left me thinking about how I need to make sure that I am protecting my children. She also gave us website to Megans Law that allowed us to find sex offenders in our area. Much to my dismay when I looked at the website one of the offenders actually attended our ward. I felt sick for weeks. This was so hard for me and we have since moved for a variety of reasons. I know there will be other issues, but I have to make sure that my priorities are securing the safety and virtue of my children.
    posted by Blogger Tri Mama at 2/08/2006 11:31:00 AM  



  • Really great post! I have also seen three really great members of my family struggle with pornography addiction. All are worthy members who have struggled with it in their past and it is a constant battle. It is sad to see how (specifically pornography) effects every aspect of their lives - in ways I never would've imagined. It is so scary thinking about raising my little boy to be a strong, worthy member of the church. As a convert to the church I always wonder how I'm going to teach him about sex & marriage. What a temptation for young people today! I think all of the previous advice is great. Especially keeping an open dialogue with your kids. If they're awkward about it, try not to be yourself. Create a home where they really feel like they can talk to you about anything... where they feel safe and that you are there for them. And make sure they are emotionally connecting with you often... not shutting off and turning to "other things" (porn, etc.) to escape from the world and pressures of their everyday life. YIKES! It is scary. And having a strong male example in the home has to be a huge influence. Dr. Phil says a child's biggest influence is their same sex parent. I know you have a strong one in your home!
    posted by Blogger Beth at 2/08/2006 12:45:00 PM  



  • our plan is to take our kids out to a special dinner just my husband and me and the child when they turn 8. We will explain everything about sex, how babies are made, and how it is a wonderful, beautiful thing that you want to save for when you are married. When they are 8 they are old enough to understand and are very interested, but not embarressed and havn't (hopefully) heard wierd stuff from their friends. Once the issue is in the open hopefully that will leave an open dialog through their teen years if they have questions or concerns. And they will trust that it is something they can talk to their parents about.
    posted by Blogger Brandolyn at 2/08/2006 01:41:00 PM  



  • brandolyn, deciding on age 8...where did you come up with that number and why do you think that each of your individual children will be exactly ready at that moment?

    I am picturing myself at age 8 at said dinner and hoping that I didn't order my favorite food, because I surely would never have eaten it again.

    Please tell me more about this and where you came up with this idea....
    I am intrigued.
    posted by Blogger Kage at 2/08/2006 02:59:00 PM  



  • This is just me, but I'm going to have "the talk" with my kids whenever the moment comes up. If that moment happens when DS is only 4, so be it. I'll explain things in terms he can understand, but I'll explain it. Same with DD. If they're older, fine - we'll just delve right in.

    I think I was 7 or 8 and I remember doing dishes next to my mom in the kitchen and just asking her stuff. She was so cool about it, no big deal, answered all of my questions. The message that was sent to me (and it was powerful because I remember it 20 some years later) was - I'm not embarrassed, you can ask me anything. So the sex talk wasn't scary or weird or even momentous talk - it was natural and all of my questions were answered. No big deal.

    That's how I want to approach it with my kids. No big deal, ask whatever you want, no question is off limits (with the possible exception of answers regarding mom and dad's sex life - that's just too weird to talk about with your kids!).
    posted by Blogger chloe at 2/08/2006 06:01:00 PM  



  • I found this blog very frightening to think about. Although I am not a mother yet, I hope to be one day (in a long time from now I pray). I came from a family that DID NOT talk about sex at all, so when I married into a family that it was a regular dinner conversation it was more that a little weird for me. I also work with all women so I hear all their childrens sex questions/stories, and to be honest it scares the @#^% out of me!! I would have never dared ask my mom a question like kids do now, (if I would have even known what they were talking about) But it is very inspiring to me, the moms that can answer truthfully and calm, like it’s not big deal that your d.d. just asked you what 69 was? I hope that I can be that open mom with my future kids when they ask me about sex, because yes it is a very wonderful, amazing thing, but it's also only S.E.X.
    posted by Blogger Jessie at 2/08/2006 08:18:00 PM  



  • Im curious about the age 8 thing too.

    We already talk to our four year old, in very a very age-appropriate way, whenever anything comes up. (Usually it's while he's in the bathtub, for some reason)I think the fact that we are having another baby soon makes the topic more in the forefront.

    I think Chloe's experience with her mom's casual and COMFORTABLE answers is more of what I'm shooting for- I really am not sure about dropping a bombshell, at any age.
    posted by Blogger Tracy M at 2/08/2006 08:43:00 PM  



  • Richard and Linda Eyre's book recommends the big talk at age 8 with dinner, etc, and using very positive terms like "beautiful" and "awesome." Is this where your method comes from, Brandolyn?

    I read the book, and liked the general approach they used (teaching that it's special, not shameful, and encouraging kids to go to their parents rather than peers for information).

    While reading it, I did think, though, that to keep the whole process a big secret until age 8 would be a mistake. Kids ask LOTS of questions before then, and I think answering their questions as they arise (simply and age-appropriately) is a better practice than answering with "I'll tell you when you turn 8." More details can be added as the kids are ready for them, but even 3 and 4 year olds want to know what their body parts are called, and will ask questions about where babies come from.
    posted by Blogger Allison at 2/09/2006 06:41:00 AM  



  • Here's the link to the Eyre's book:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1582380570/qid=1139496132/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/002-7174736-7217629?s=books&v=glance&n=283155
    posted by Blogger Allison at 2/09/2006 06:45:00 AM  



  • I remember asking my mom questions, and I very quickly regretted it. She got out a book about horse anatomy and it just got worse from there. I'm all for the ongoing dialogue with honest answers to all questions. And I too have had moments of horrible, gut wrenching fear when thinking about all the horrible things that could happen to my baby.
    posted by Blogger Starfoxy at 2/09/2006 02:18:00 PM  



  • Hi, I am a new poster (frequent reader), so I hope you don't mind but this conversation really hit home for me. I was sexually abused by a cousin at a very young age and when I tried to tell my parents, I din't even have the words to say what had happened. My face still gets hot and my heart races at the thought of it. I believe my parents really didn't understand what I was trying to tell them, because they never took any action and continued to leave me alone with him.

    It is so important that we listen to our children, and that we give them the words to speak. Not only to say that sex is wonderful and beautiful, but words for them use when they are scared, embarrassed, mortified over an experience they may have had. Believe me, if a child has been violated in some way, they will feel it. There is nothing like that feeling. I wish I had had these words, or that my parents had tried to listen a little more.
    posted by Blogger Nutella at 2/09/2006 04:06:00 PM  



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