Parent, Teacher, Author
What they said was interesting. In a nutshell, here were their responses:
What I walked away from this conversation with was the idea that I’ve heard again and again from adolescents and young adults. And it’s this: sexuality functions within the context of the whole person. Kids need to see that they were made as a beautiful, complete person, and a piece of that is their sexuality. When we begin with a continual discussion of what makes them unique and how it’s their job and our job to respect and protect that precious person, we can then move into the concept of sharing oneself. From telling your secrets to holding hands to kissing, you are sharing yourself with another person. Perhaps if we begin our discussion on sexuality with appreciating oneself, that idea of sharing yourself becomes more salient. Instead of saying, “Don’t have sex,” maybe what we should be saying is, “Don’t share yourself in any way with someone without thinking about the repercussions.”
With each conversation that I have with kids, each study I conduct, each paper or book that I read, I become more convinced that understanding and approaching sexuality within the context of identity is critical. This is what allows an open flow of conversation, understanding that we are hoping to instill in the kids the idea that before they share themselves with another person in ANY way, they need to feel confident in who they are and what will come of that relationship. Maybe taking this approach also relieves some of the awkwardness of having “the talk.” Instead of doing that, you’re having a lot of small talks whenever you can, presenting and confirming their worth as an individual, and asking what decisions they need to make to respect and protect themselves. Within that context, talking about sexuality is a natural fit, and not a one time shot.