Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Anna on TV: Tips on having ‘the talk’

Quite a lot going on for me, lately, so unfortunately I haven’t had time to do more than short posts like this. That said, if you missed yesterday's segment on View from the Bay, you can watch the whole thing online.

If you already saw it, or don’t like watching videos online, here are my main tips for moms on talking about sex with your kids (read them before you tease, please!).
  1. Don’t let fear keep you from having a conversation. If your discomfort with the subject matter keeps you from answering your kids’ questions, they'll just get answers somewhere else — and you’ve lost that opportunity to help them create realistic expectations about sex and relationships.
  2. Schedule a monthly date night with your child, so that you’re not just giving them attention around activities such as soccer practice, or the conflicts that spring up. This not only builds your relationship (and their self-worth in the process), it also provides a safe space for talking through issues they may be struggling with.
  3. Practice critical thinking when you watch TV shows/movies with your children, by taking the time to talk through what you just watched or heard is “teaching” about sex and relationships. Remember that most of us probably learn what sex “looks” like from the media, which can lead to lots of misconceptions and unrealistic expectations.
  4. Model the sexual ethos and respect for self you want your kids to have in their own lives as adults. For all the things you could say or discourage, your example is one of the most powerful ways you teach them.
  5. When getting into sensitive topics with your kids, don’t assume the worst; ask open-ended questions that draw out what they’re actually thinking (which may not be as bad you think), or why they asked a question.
  6. Provide a safe space for your kids to honestly share their thoughts (half-baked as they may be or seem to be). You might be surprised by their answers. Teens can get caught between the experimentation of their friends and the cautiousness of their parents, and find that their views satisfy no one. By giving them room to talk about what they’re thinking and feeling, you provide a safe space for them to think through issues, role play situations, and figure out what their standards are.

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