This was too good not to post.
Sex positivity isn’t about what you do. It’s about how you make people feel. Welcome, unjudged, safe.
Everyone Is Gay is an organization that makes videos, answers questions, and visits schools (elementary and up) talking about sexuality, parents, identity and whatever else you want to ask about.
They spew such simple statements as
“Your parents may feel uncomfortable until they feel comfortable.”
“Don’t be a jerk”
Like I always say Keep It Simple, Stupid.
This is probably one of my favorite episodes so far. I love that they make discoveries while shooting. I love that they approach things differently and have differing levels of comfort with statements and activities, and still find their way back to agreeing with each other through problem solving. And they solve all problems with words. Never do they say, if you don’t like what your partner is doing blink at them in morse code until they figure it out, ahem, Cosmo.
And did I mention they lip sync too? What more could you want?
Last week I wrote about a friend who had an upsetting (to me at least) lack of sexual education as a kid and it got me thinking about what sex-positive parenting really looks like.
And then, like a prayer, in came Lea Grover, to address that exact question.
“Sweetie, we don’t play with our vulvas in the living room,” I said. Which sounded ridiculous and strange, but nonetheless true. Why is everything with little kids “we” statements? “It’s OK to touch your vulva, but people are private, and it’s a private thing. The only places where you should touch your vulva are in the bathroom or in your bedroom. If you want to play with your vulva, please go to the bedroom.”
And she smiled and did, without question, because compartmentalizing where you do certain activities makes sense to little kids.
In a way thinking about sex positivity as it regards to children defines what sex positivity is at it’s core. Normalizing your body, how it works and what it does. No shaming, no yucking someone’s yum, no telling someone the right way to feel about or touch their body.
And, equally importantly, making clear that it belongs to one person and one person only.
Telling children the truth about sex isn’t giving permission for them to have it — and this is the most important part — because when the right time comes, nobody has the right to deny them permission for sex but themselves.
And that’s the thing I try to keep in mind when I say things like, “We don’t touch our vulvas at the table.” Sex is something that ONLY happens when both people WANT it to happen. And that means that the only people in the entire world with any kind of say over whether or not my daughters have sex is them.
I don’t get to tell my daughters they have to have sex, but I also don’t get to tell them they can’t. They’re in charge. Your body, your decision.
I never want to be responsible for setting the precedent that another person gets to tell them what to do with their bodies, and especially with their sexuality. I don’t want to be the gateway for a manipulative, potentially abusive boyfriend.
So I teach boundaries. Appropriate places. Hygiene. I teach my children that nobody is allowed to touch their bodies without permission. When we get in tickle fights and they say, “Stop!” I stop.
And when we talk about pregnant friends, we talk about uteruses and sperm and eggs.
And most of the time, it’s not uncomfortable. Most of the time, I’m verifying information and the conversation lasts 15 seconds.
And that’s the thing about discussing sexuality with kids. They’re kids, so they only care as much as a kid would care about anything else. They’re as amazed that their vulva feels good as they are that they can create poop, or that you can jump higher than they can.
So it isn’t complicated and it isn’t scary. What makes The Talk scary is that it’s something you’ve been avoiding and creating discomfort around all these years and suddenly you’re going to pull the switch after all that bait.
I’ve had talks with lots of other moms about having “the talk.” I don’t think my kids and I will ever have that particular talk, because they already know. And we talk about it often — kids are obsessive creatures. We read Where Did I Come From? and What Makes A Baby, which together cover every aspect of the subject. We can talk about IVF and C-sections, because both of those are part of the story of their births, and we can talk about the fact that yes, mommy and daddy still have sex regardless. And when they’re older, we’ll start talking about contraception.
Plus, making it something that you talk about together early and often, makes it something you can talk about together forever and always.
…I like that when that time comes, I’m part of the “we.” Because if I can tell my girls, “we” have to be careful, they’ll know that no matter what happens, I’m still in their corner. I’ve still got their backs. Even if “we” make bad choices, I’ll still be there to help make things right again.
Tonight I finally got to see Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel.
Let’s talk about voyeurism.
According to Dictionary.com:
[vwah-yur-iz-uhm, voi-, voi–uh-riz-]
The practice of obtaining sexual gratification by looking at sexual objects or acts, especially secretively.
Not to give away anything for those who haven’t seen the show yet but the action plays out on various floors and in various rooms of an “abandoned hotel” and you follow (or don’t) the performers around to follow (or not) the story. While wearing a full face mask.
So you’re watching people have very intense moments, in various states of dress, while wearing a mask, surrounded by other people wearing masks. If you’re someone who thinks about voyerism in general it can be an exceptionally meta experience. Watching the show; watching other people watch the show; watching other people watch you watch the show; it just goes on.
It’s sort of like if every time you clicked on a link a little bubble popped up that told you all the other people in the world who were clicking on it at the same time as you.
It reminded me very much of this NSFW website which shows terms being searched on porn sites in real time. Watching other people watching.
It also reminded me of a section of Oh Joy Sex Toy’s review of Club Sesso where she describes the private rooms at the club and how the people involved use the architecture to convey how much exposure they want. In the show there were sections where you had to be invited behind a door- exclusive, sections in large open halls- public and sections in small rooms or hallways- don’t get too close. And then there was the roaming which you were invited to take part in. Walk around and check stuff out.
As I walked around I couldn’t help thinking “This is someone’s wet dream,” all this sexuality, vulnerability and voyeurism. It’s a beautiful experience and an even more interesting exploration of how humans choose to interact with each other given exponentially more choices than in any regular situation. I was pleased to see that most everyone was very respectful, even in large groups and tight spaces. That’s the thing about when people are given unexpected freedoms, sometimes they surprise you by not taking liberties.
Listen up peasants, the queen has something to say.
A few weeks ago a friend was telling me that before she got married her and her then fiance were going at it like bunnies and then after they got hitched it took a swan dive. She brought it up and apparently there was some mental block about the word “wife.” Dan Savage talks about this too.
We have a lot of concepts in our culture of what it means to be a wife and mother. A whore/madonna discourse that leaves a lot of women with unmet needs.
Thank you Beyonce for remembering that adding Wife or Mother to your list of descriptors doesn’t detract from any of the other things that you are. A woman, an artist, sexual.
And thanks for reminding us all too.
P.S. I love hearing that Partition is mostly just fantasy. That she isn’t bragging about how perfect her sex life is but instead it’s an expression of the fact that her life has a lot of different responsibilities but when she sees her husband, this is what plays through her head because even after a baby she is still INTO him.
I’m a big fan of Macklemore’s Same Love, but for everyone looking for a more authentic story here are two versions that aren’t by straight, white men.
The other day I ran up a set of stairs and I almost died.
Well, that’s how I felt at least. No one ever told me I’d get so old so young.
That isn’t the point. When I got to the top of the stairs my date was waiting there for me, laughing and holding the door open as I tumbled into the train car. And for a moment I wanted to throw myself into his arms and thank my lucky stars that I didn’t break a hip or have a heart attack or something. And then, because my brain is a strange and non-romantic place, this popped into my head instead.
A moment I would stare at without realizing I was staring and thinking things like ‘straight people just…do straight things…and everybody’s just okay with it’ and they would pretend not to notice me staring. Then I’d see something shiny and we’d both forget it ever happened.
i’m okay with straight people as long as they act gay in public
‘straight people just…do straight things…and everybody’s just okay with it’
I thought about how easy it would be to throw myself into his arms, how in a few weeks when he’s more entrenched in my life maybe I’ll really want to do that… often. How maybe I’ll want to do it so badly I’ll hardly be able to stop myself. How hard it must be to feel that way and always have to stop yourself.
And so instead of throwing myself into his arms I tried to steady my heartbeat and catch my breath and I got really sad. I got really sad at the depravity of the world we live in. A world where every day people can have that overwhelming need to throw themselves at their loved ones and then recognize that same need in others and deny it to them. It seems I get really sad on the subway a lot lately.