The Importance & Impact of Open Communication: Sex & Beyond
Hello! Mama Bear here! I am honoured & excited for introduce our newest mama and our first guest post of 2020.
This is a topic very near to my heart and I pray you welcome this article with open hearts, minds and arms.
Welcome to the Wild Living fam, MC!
My name is Mama Coyote, and this is my story.
“The health of any society, the happiness of its people, their prosperity, and their peace all find common roots in the teaching of children in the home.” ~L. Tom Perry~
Let’s talk about sex. Oh my gosh, when it’s right, it’s amazing!! With the right person, in the right moment, with the proper respect, and a good dose of humour. Who doesn’t love a good romp in the hay, am I right? Don’t lie, we all want it! I don’t care what your style is, rough, gentle, spontaneous, loud, desperately fast because kids will burst any moment through your locked door, however you enjoy it, we all want it.
But! We all had to start somewhere. Do you remember when someone sat you down for “the chat?” Was it incredibly awkward? Did it even happen? Did your parent/guardian/legal household adult leave it up to the school system to teach you? Or, did they decide that you’re too young to learn about sex, and it’s something that you should be learning about on your wedding night with your new spouse, and pull you out of the sex ed classes? (...stop looking at me...)
Did your dad sit you down when you were 18 years old and tell you that he didn’t want you to go out with your boyfriend one last time before leaving town for University because he was afraid you would have, ahem, “strong emotions”...?
(I was touched that he was worried about me crying in front of my boyfriend when it was time to say goodbye. It took me a few minutes to realize what he was actually trying to say! Geez, talk about awkward!)
On that note, what about puberty? It’s all connected. Were you taught what your body is capable of? Did someone take the time to teach you about some of the changes you would go through?
Quick story, growing up, I was completely sheltered. My first period, I thought I was dying, and was mortified at the thought of telling my mother what was happening. I finally had no choice, and through terrified tears, whispered to my mom why I was running late for the bus. She actually laughed, and sent me off to school with no supplies, promising to discuss it after I got home in the afternoon. I went through a terrible day of junior high with blood on my pants, cramps, and the embarrassment of having a substitute teacher pull me aside to suggest I wrap a sweater around my waist to hide the evidence.
The high school boys on the bus ride home all made fun of me, calling me a whore and a slut because the knotted up hoodie under my winter coat made me look pregnant. In what world is that okay??? First off, that I had no teaching about my own body, and second, that nobody had taught their sons the decency to be kind??
These last few years have been really frickin’ hard. I met my husband at 17, married him a few weeks before I turned 19 (against the advice of many friends and family), had 2 beautiful children whom I adore, got demoted to glorified slave, suffered through a few years of emotional and psychological abuse, and finally left my husband a few months before our 5th wedding anniversary, when I’d finally had more than enough.
I’ve had people ask me why I didn’t leave sooner, and a big part of that is because I had been taught that we don’t talk about things. We don’t talk about sex, or things our spouse is doing behind closed doors, and we certainly don’t own up to our mistakes unless we’re ready to hear “I told you so!” and be properly ashamed for what we’ve brought upon ourselves.
Since sex wasn’t talked about, I didn’t know for a long time that I was being sexually abused. That I had a right to withdraw consent, even as a married woman. That I was allowed to stop if I was uncomfortable. That satisfying someone else and then being sent out to take care of chores or children without reciprocation is not okay. That sex shouldn’t hurt, and if it does, your partner should have the decency to stop.
For me, the train stops here. The conversations are happening. I have a daughter, who deserves to know that her body is beautiful and wonderful and she is amazing, no matter where life takes her. I have a son, who deserves to know that he is handsome and kind and has the potential to protect and honour his family, no matter how they come to him. They both deserve to be taught right from wrong, and to have respect for, and knowledge about their bodies. The conversation starts now.
So, how do we do that? Start young. My pups are 3 and 5 years old. Little Bud knows what his penis is. I told him when I was changing his diaper as a baby. I tell him every time he goes to the potty to make sure he wipes his penis, and we talk about proper hygiene. Little Miss knows she has a vagina, and that’s where babies come from. She knows it is important to keep that area clean, and it’s okay to tell Mommy if she is itchy or sore there. Both kids know that nobody is allowed to touch them there, unless Mommy is helping them get clean, or the doctor needs to examine them. Even then, Mommy has to be there. The Doctor isn’t allowed to look by himself.
We talk about privacy, and having respect for our bodies.
We have an open door policy at my house. If I’m in the shower, the toilet is still available. If I’m on the toilet, the door isn’t locked. Kids need to knock before just waltzing in, but the door is never locked. Both babies know that sometimes, Mommy has blood. They take turns getting “Mommy diapers” if I forgot to grab supplies, they do their best to be nicer to me on those days. Little Bud will ask me if my tummy hurts, and Little Miss will remind me to relax and have snacks. They understand that one day, Little Miss will go through the same thing, and it’s not scary.
I’ve taught them that when they get bigger, they will grow hair in different places. They know that Little Bud’s penis is for peeing, and one day, he’ll need it to help make babies...they don’t know HOW at this point, but that’s okay. He says it is special and takes good care of it.
My point is, we need to normalize conversations with our children. As soon as we make it awkward for them, they’ll stop coming to us. We talk about farts and poops, why not sex?
We can be respectful about it, sure, but we NEED to talk about it. Our children need to be able to protect themselves, and how can they do that if they don’t understand they are being hurt?
How can my son be a decent boyfriend/partner/spouse one day, if he hasn’t been taught it is his duty to have respect for himself and the other person?
How can my daughter stand up for her needs and talk to her significant other about what she feels if she hasn’t been taught how to communicate?
How can they learn to have an open and honest relationship one day, if they didn’t have that with their own parents, their first major influence? Talk.
You owe it to them, and to yourself. Be their parent, and talk. Teach them. Your example and your teaching can change the entire course of their lives. Don’t underestimate that. Talk to them. Now listen. Hear that?
They want to love you too.