so i’ve done a lot of thinking about the whole “violence is ok for kids, but sex isn’t” debacle that plagues our society, and i think i’ve finally hit upon a logical conclusion.
anyone who has ever spent any time around young kids (and i mean pre-teen/prepubescent young) knows that the lord of the flies had it absolutely right: without societal guidance, children are mean. they will say whatever they want, regardless of the feelings of others, and with a complete lack of tact. they’ll hit and kick and scratch and bite. they will defend themselves over the smallest slight, and attack verbally at a moment’s notice.
so violence, messy as it is, is ingrained. it’s there at the start, and is un-taught for the greater good (i.e., not going around punching everyone because you want to). it’s relatable. it’s even casual; my guy and i beat each other up all the time. mostly me. because he’s a jerkface*.
i’m not a doctor. i have no grants, and i haven’t spent years observing children and their brain patterns and diets and hormone levels. but it doesn’t take a doctorate to know that kids are jerks. nor does it take a rocket surgeon to know that kids don’t really develop an interest in sex until later on, much later than an interest in violence and slapping tommy because he took your blocks away.
sure, kids know they have parts. they know that if you touch some of those parts in a certain way, it feels weird/good/hilarious. they know that acting out on the touching can get a response that is also hilarious, especially when your parents have guests over for dinner. but the intricacies of sex and its larger-scale effects are basically lost on children**. part of the joy of childhood is the inexperience and innocence that coats our interpretation of the world around us. we catch glimpses of things and reconstruct them in our head based on already learned facts and pure imaginative whimsy. we see a bit of sexy-times on television before the channel is quickly changed, and lie in bed replaying that bit over and over again, wondering what and why and how and hey what’s going on there. we ache for the unknown, in an unknowing manner; we don’t even know what it is that we want.
so where does this leave us? well, it’s my opinion that information about sex should come from someone who cares and knows what they’re talking about, and i’d really like it if we lived in a world where that person is a parent or guardian. unfortunately, we don’t live in such a world. we live in a world where it seems like a lot of grown human beings don’t know how their own bodies work. we live in a world where girls are growing up to be women who think a hymen is something that has to be broken through***, and many men think that pornography is a learning tool.
like wonder bread and alvarado st bakery, the sex that is found in movies and books is a creature completely separate from actual sex. in movies and books, two people (usually a man and a woman) meet, know each other for about a week, have sex (in books–at least, in romances–the woman is usually a virgin and there’s pain and blood and the man holds her close as her eyes well with tears and he assures her the pain will pass and then omg it’s so beautiful lolz~****), and then are in love forever and ever.
this is not what we need to be teaching children. we need to be teaching them that their bodies and minds are complex, and thus, social and sexual interactions are as well. we need to teach them to be safe, with their own bodies and with other bodies. they are not going to learn any of this watching/reading current forms of entertainment. this, unfortunately, says a lot about the quality of our entertainment these days, but frankly, if you’re looking to something called entertainment for learning material, you’re already in a lot of trouble. children, however, see everything as learning material, because everything is new. what they do with that material is, for the most part, up to you.
sit down with your kids, tell them how their bodies work. they don’t need all the fleshy-moist details all up front; a nice outline of the basics will do, and then work your way up from there.
and tell tommy to stop being a dick and give back the damn blocks.
**which is why 16 and Pregnant exists.
***i think i truly grasped how second-rate the female gender is considered in this country when i learned, at age twenty-nine, that this is not true.
****i was an avid reader of harlequin romances. it is seriously like this. all the time. forever and ever. just like love! <3 <3 <3 xoxo