Sexual control

sex-ed

As mum to 4 girls, I worry about sex. I don’t actually worry about them having it, because they will at some point and I’ve got to get over that one. My worry is whether they will feel in control. I have more than one reason to feel worried, but for now let’s focus on the fact that nearly three quarters of girls in their late teens said that they heard names such as, ‘slut’, ‘bitch’ and ‘slag’ used several times a week. Boys call it banter, I call it harassment. I call it undermining females and taking away their control.

Kids are accessing porn younger and younger. Kids own mobile phones younger and younger. My step daughter didn’t have a smart phone until she was 17. My 12 year old had one at 11. With the best will in the world, parents can’t always be the internet police. Primary age children are being exposed to violent and graphic pornographic images and common sense tells us that many of them will normalise what they see, in order to try to understand it. The porn industry’s core target is boys aged 12-17. As author Mark Kastlemann said, “Giving porn to a teenage boy is like giving crack to a baby. Addiction is almost guaranteed.”

Schools are a hot bed of risk for our girls and so they must share the responsibility of sex education. Yet calls to make sex education compulsory for all children have been rejected by ministers. This is despite a group of MP’s finding that almost a third of girls aged 16-18 said they had been groped at school. I’m sorry? You what? The inquiry was also told that it was common place for girls to be slapped on their bums and for naked pictures of girls to be circulated among boys. So you see, I really am worried about control.

We can bring our girls up to be savvy and confident females in many areas of their lives, but the world of sex is different. Talking about it openly brings awkwardness and shut down, making exploring the issues surrounding it a whole lot trickier. Their sexual experiences are hidden so far away from us parents, that getting an understanding of their views on it is virtually impossible. “Don’t ever send tit pics” I lamely told my eldest daughters. They both looked at me as if I was a freak. The disdain in their faces made me feel uncomfortable, when I thought it would be the other way around. I am parenting in the dark here and I would appreciate a bit of help from teachers who have an element of detachment. People who can give out the facts to kids who can’t walk away with eyeballs rolling towards the ceiling. Kids who must listen, even if they think that they know it all. My daughters may not want to sit and chat to me about sending naked images of themselves online and the implications of it, but they may feel grateful if it came up in an organised discussion at school.

Yes, I really do feel a bit helpless here. “Ok girls, when you end up having sex with someone, make sure you are in control. Make sure you want it. Make sure you are happy to do what they are asking you to do…erm” Oh Christ, this isn’t going to happen. They’ll have switched off at the first bit. They’ll have run for the hills by the second. Yet this is an area of their life that could completely undermine the confidence that we have spent all these years building up. One photo, one misunderstood,’no’. A life long impact.

I need help. Society needs help. Our kids need sex education in school.

 

 

 

30 thoughts on “Sexual control”

  1. I’m sorry I can’t offer advice, this absolutely terrifies me. I wrote a post recently about how the teens of today are trying to grow up too quick. They are exposed to sex and violence on a daily basis which in turn is normalising it and de-sensitising them. I really don’t know how I’ll deal with this when my Daughter is older. I worry how much worse it’s going to get over the next ten years. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. I really hope that it doesn’t get worse, but I do believe very strongly that the government have made a huge mistake in taking away compulsory sex education. I honestly don’t know what they were thinking. It’s difficult, because as a parent you do feel a little helpless. Thank you for your comments.

  2. They definitely need sex education at school. I worry for boys too. If they aren’t educated, they won’t know their behaviour is wrong. Parents need to be honest an open, and this needs reinforcing in schools! I can’t believe how long these conversations have been going on with very little ever getting done about it. #familyfun

  3. You raise some really valid points. Interestingly, as I sit entirely focused on my #coolmumclub reading, Eastenders is on in the background. The final scene was of a teen sending a naked pic – so for all it’s bad acting / depressing christmas storyline faults, maybe that will raise some good lessons amongst some kids. Not sure how many teens watch benders – but these things can do a surprising bit for raising important issues eh?
    Thanks for linking to #coolmumclub

    1. Yes, in many ways you have just hit the nail on the head: teens will ‘learn’ from all sorts of sources, the least effective source being their parents. Thank you for your comments.

  4. Your posts are always brilliant! So well written, thought through and they always make me question my own actions and feelings. This one was no exception. Interestingly enough I think the problem is around the British embarrassment of talking about sex. I have lived in Holland for 11 years and that embarrassment is just not there only open and honest communication. Thank you for linking up to #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Thank you so much for your utterly gorgeous comments! That’s a really good point about the British reserve – I fear it will be to all our detriment.

  5. I have two boys and I worry that rape culture is so ingrained that, no matter what I teach them, they will call girls sluts or grope because ‘everyone does it’ or ‘my mates think it’s funny’. It makes me sick with dread. I just hope I can get through to them strongly enough to give them confidence not to let their integrity be compromised for the sake of popularity. I want them to understand it is never, ever okay. I am pretty sure I will end up showing them the ‘consent and tea’ video on youtube! x #coolmumclub

    1. Thank you for your comments and wise words. The ‘consent and tea’ is a good analogy. Tools like this are extremely helpful for parents – anything to take the focus away from the embarrassment!

  6. I really think sex education should be compulsory for boys and girls. We need to talk about sexual consent and respect. We can’t rely on all parents having these types of conversations with their kids – some will but some won’t – that’s why is should be covered in schools. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Exactly! It’s the same as: bring back the nit nurse…because some parents will check their kids’ heads and others won’t…

  7. I think we have lucked out in that both our children have had good sex education at school and continue to receive it through regular PSHE lessons which cover a range of mental and physical issues that affect young people and topics like porn, sending pics via social media etc. I do also talk about issues at home, especially with my eldest, I want him to have good values, respect girls and think about his actions and the consequences. But on your point, I cannot understand why the government would remove it as a compulsory subject. In this digital age it is more vital than ever before. The more information and communication the better. #ablogginggoodtime

    1. Thank you so much for all your comments, Jo. I find it really upsetting that it’s not compulsory, because I worry for the kids whose parents aren’t proactive like you are. How are those children going to learn? As you say: the more the better.

  8. This is a subject that really worries me too. I’m sorry I can’t offer any advice but reading all the comments and the post has definitely helped me. My kids are only young yet but it is worrying to think what might happen in the future! Education is key!

    Amina xx | http://www.AliandHer.com #coolmumclub

  9. You are spot on and I absolutely share your concerns. We do sex ed at our school but as far as I’m concerned it’s too little, too late. The stats you reference are appalling – I think of the students I teach and I hope this isn’t happening to them but who am I trying to kid?! And then I think of my own children and the prevalence of porn and violence online and I am worried. Yes sex ed needs to be taught but also it needs to be taught in a much different way to how we were taught it at school…so that it’s relevant to today’s youth. Thanks for the thought provoking post. xx #ablogginggoodtime

    1. You are absolutely right when you say that it needs to be taught differently to how we were taught it: putting a condom on a banana and all that! It’s so different in this digital age and I am so concerned. Thank you for all your comments.

  10. Totally get where you are coming from, I have to admit I haven’t thought about it too much as I only have a little boy at the moments but I surely hope he grows up to be a boy and man who respects women. I am sure they have sex education in school though? They certainly did when I was at school… have they stopped it now? It definitely needs to be updated though to include the digital age we live in now as a lot of sexual harassment is done through the internet and social media platforms. Great discussion… could go on forever I feel. Strong points to be made I feel <3 #ablogginggoodtime

    1. The amount of sex ed varies from school to school and because it isn’t compulsory, it can be almost non-existent – terrifying.

      1. Ah I see… that is quite terrifying. Its surely an imperative part of ‘education’ as a whole? Smarts won’t get you anywhere is you don’t know the fundamentals of the opposite sex, or your own for that matter! <3

        1. Exactly! I see it as part of education as a whole. As you say, it’s not just about the grades, it’s the social aspect too – perhaps more.

  11. That statistic about a third of girls having been groped at school is such a worrying one as is the fact that teenage boys are such a big target audience for porn. I agree with you that sex education should be taught in school – and in way that children and teenagers can understand and engage with. Having the potential access to so much dodgy stuff through phones is so scary and the ability to send something you then regret is worryingly easy to do now. #coolmumclub

  12. You raise such an important point for our girls in this world. I have two littles, 8 and 6 and I am so very concerned over our new president elect, Mr. Orange, preditor in chief. How can we teach this value when the man who will soon hold the highest office in the land has been the biggest offender of our gorls and young women. Great post, much needed. #ablogginggoodtime xoox

    1. Thank you Lisa. It is a real concern with Trump soon to be at the helm. Just at a time when positive female role models are so much needed for our girls.

  13. And yet again you write a post that makes me a) want to have a drinks night with you b) hug you for your honesty c) throw up in my own hand with panic over the teen years ahead (which I’ve got good reason to be worried given the stuff my 12 year old tells me about what her friends are up to). The porn industry target has made my blood run cold. Just read that to my hubs who wasn’t at all surprised. Bloody dark times my love. And our parents thought THEY had enough to worry about lol! #coolmumclub

    1. Once again, gorgeous comments, Prabs. It is a huge worry and all we can do is our best at keeping those lines of communication as open as possible. My mum sometimes alludes to the fact that I was bad as a teenager – I really laugh at that now. (I wasn’t that good though!)

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