There’s Nothing Wrong With Teaching Your Kid That Sex Feels Good
There are few things that I find quite as unpleasant as talking to my child about sex. As I’ve said before, this is made all the more difficult by the fact that she has the attention span of a well-caffeinated flea. Despite this, I still make an effort to pass on this information in as positive a light as I can muster no matter how sweaty I get.
At this age, any conversation about sex mostly revolves around its baby makin’ function, because we just aren’t at the point where I feel like she needs to know the ins and outs of orgasms and masturbation, and because that’s what she’s curious about. But I’m not an idiot and I do realize that the time will come.
Which is why I thought an article in Pacific-Standard Magazine raised a very interesting point. Titled What If We Admitted to Children That Sex Is Primarily about Pleasure?, the author, Alice Dreger, rightly points out that there’s something missing from our discussion about sex when it comes to teaching our kids about it: pleasure.
She recounts a conversation that she had with her own son about the pleasurable aspect of sex:
“He was thinking “accidentally getting pregnant” was like accidentally burning yourself because you didn’t realize the stove was on. “Sweetie,” I explained, “most of the time that people have sex, they’re not having it to have a baby. They’re having it because it feels good. So you can get accidentally pregnant if you’re having sex for pleasure and you don’t use effective birth control.”
He looked shocked. Apparently I had forgotten to mention that sex was not just for making babies.”
Now, I’m not suggesting that children need to learn about G-spots and orgasms in the classroom, but it does raise an interesting point. When I was learning about sex, every piece of information was presented with the caveat that sex is primarily for making babies. No other function was ever mentioned.
Who could argue with that? Obviously, the physiological purpose of having the intercourse is to get pregnant. But at this point in my life, I don’t know of many people – with the exception of a certain big haired family – that get down solely for this purpose. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I think it’s fair to say that most people will spend more time over the course of their life having sex for pleasure and not procreation.
This led to some conversation between my husband and I this morning, where he relayed his discomfort with teaching our kid that sex is pleasurable, but added that it’s probably necessary. As long as he doesn’t have to do it.
He also added that as a younger male, the idea that sex was pleasurable wasn’t a secret. Having babies served mostly as a fear tactic: put your weiner somewhere, make a baby. So not worth it.
This didn’t really surprise me, but I couldn’t help but compare that against the impression that I got as a prepubescent girl, both from my mom and my friends; sex hurts and babies hurt worse. So not worth it.That sex could feel good didn’t even come up.
I don’t know that we need to talk about erogenous zones or vibrator shopping at school, but I do like the idea of explaining it in private to my daughter. And yes, the author proves that it can be done age-appropriately:
“He hemmed and hawed next, and I got the sense he wanted to know what I meant when I said it feels good. I asked him if he had that question. He said yes. So I said it was kind of like having someone scratch your back in a place that itched, and having them scratch it just right. I said that, after puberty, he’d know what the special itch felt like. He nodded.”
I think it’s worth it to explain to kids as they get older that sex is fun, when it’s done correctly. That it isn’t supposed to hurt, and that sex is better when both partners enjoy it. Obviously, you can’t ignore that sex can also make babies (yes, even in the pool/during the first time/when the moon is waxing gibbous) but why does it need to be a secret that it’s also kind of awesome?