The other day I was hanging out with my three(almost four!!!)year-old playing dolls and such when she shifted her legs a certain way and got a distant look in her eye. As she shifted slightly back with curiosity I said “Hey, whatcha doin?”
“It feels good”
Dammitdammitdammitdammitdammit… what do I say?! Don’t screw her up! I rack my brain for the latest and greatest articles on age appropriate sex education. Don’t shame her! Um, but I don’t want her to start walking around telling strangers about her “feel good” spot, either. DAMMIT. Things just got real.
“Yea, it does feel good sometimes, but that is just for YOU, not for anyone else.”
Crap…. technically one day she will share that feeling with someone, so that’s kind of a lie. I want to be honest, but she is only three – why is this so complicated?!
This inspires her to tell me all of the words she knows, proudly spouting off the genitalia of everyone she sees regularly and of course tops it all off with the story of how baby sister came out of mommy’s vagina. I am proud that she knows these words, and I know that it empowers her to know about her body, but it is weird to hear someone say “vagina” and “penis” without the inherent hush in their voice, much less with such vigor. I think about how long she will be able to say these words with such naivety. She is so innocent.
We are once again pulled back to our dolls as she reanimates the ribbon snake that refuses to leave our poor princesses alone – I am relieved. That might be bad. Or normal. It’s just another body part! But… it’s also not. I am glad that I have more time to consider my responses to her future ponderings.
I don’t think I scarred her for life during – what I was pretty sure was – our first “sex talk”. My response wasn’t perfect, but it will do for now. I just try to remember to do my best to be as honest, and as age appropriate, as I can be.
A few months ago my friend, Julie Gillis, performed a paramount piece about sex education in the state of Texas at Bedpost Confessions. We live in a state that allows schools to teach from a curriculum that compares their sexuality to a chewed up piece of gum. She spoke about having this conversation with her son and goes on to say:
The less access to education and resources kids have the more problems we’ll have. The less resources young folks have around how to love, learn, consent, respect? The harder things will be for them as adults.
This resonates with me, and I want to be a resource to my daughters, but at the same time sometimes it can be hard to know what to say in the moment. So when the talented Ebony Stewart joined Julie on stage and challenged the crowd I knew I had to share what she spoke. An oath for every adult who is around, near or has children to pledge (hint: that probably means you).
I hope you will take her oath with me:
“My name is Ebony Stewart aka The Gully Princess aka “I’ll eat cho cupcake.”
And as a Sex-Ed teacher in this he’er great state of Texas I believe it takes a village to raise our adolescents.
I’m here to DEPUTIZE YOU!
On this day November 21st and every day forward before my friends, strangers, bartenders, BedPost Confessions, a sex-ed teacher, and all the gods we serve…
I will, if asked and in the most consensual and ethical manner with good boundaries and only if I feel safe in doing so, teach adolescents how to affirm and respect themselves as sexual persons (including their bodies, sexual orientation, feelings and to respect the sexuality of others).
I will increase comfort and skills for discussing and negotiating sexuality issues with peers, romantic partners, and people of other generations.
I will stay current in all the latest music, relationships and sex scandals (such as KimYe because Brangelina is not relevant anymore).
THINGS HAVE CHANGED since “back in my day.”
I will not use the phrase “back in my day” anymore!
I will explore, develop, and articulate values, attitudes, and feelings about my sexuality, their sexuality and the sexuality of others.
I will reject double standards, stereotypes, biases, exploitation, dishonesty and harassment.
I will acquire knowledge and skills for developing and maintaining romantic or sexual relationships that are consensual, mutually pleasurable, safe, and based on respect, mutual expectations, and caring.
I will be honest in talking to adolescents about sex.
I will actually use the word sex.
I will also use the words vulva, clitoris, penis, arousal, erection, and ejaculation.
Instead of whoowhoo, peepee, whoHA, Jimmy, nut, bang, blowpop, or pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey when talking to adolescents about sex.
We DECRY the act of shaming.
Sex is not bad.
If sex was a bad thing none of us would be here.
If I don’t know, I will say I DON’T KNOW!
I will find a way to get the best and most accurate answer by contacting Ebony or any of the BedPost Confessions team and we will Google the answer TO-GETHER!
I, Ebony will always be available to help parents and adults learn how to talk about all this!!!
The body is a good thing.
I am a good thing.
I am worthy of good things.
And so too, then are the teens of this great state.
So say you AYE??”
What it boils down to is: all we can do is our best to be honest and open with our youth. Will you take the oath with me? Say AYE!
The photography for this blog post was done by : http://www.steve-rogers-photography.com/