Media Friday: Are You Talking To Your Children About Sex

I have to talk about this… Initially I was going to post a completely different piece about self-esteem, but I was doing a Google search about trends amongst teens when I found this post on Essence that I had to talk about. Even though it’s a few months old, I want to discuss it and get your thoughts on the matter.
I’m not going to post the entire article- you can read it here if you like. I read through the entire article though, and below are 11 things that are happening amongst teenagers. I just want to highlight the issues and leave room for open discussion.
Here are things many teens are dealing with: (taken from Essence.com)

*What teenage guys are saying to girls:
"I love you, I'll never leave you"..."If you do this, I won't tell anyone" ... "Why do you want to wait? I've been waiting soooo long.... I'll coach you through.... Just do this and we'll be cool.... I'll stop if you want me to."

*How guys try to manipulate girls so that they look like the good guy:
"A guy will want to be with a girl, so he'll have his friends go up to her and just insult her, insult her, insult her, telling her she's ugly, her breasts are lopsided, she has stretch marks, nappy hair, she's fat, whatever you can think of. Then, when she's feeling really weak and insecure, the guy will come up behind her and tell her, 'I think you're beautiful.' Suddenly, he looks like Prince Charming."

*How a guy can turn a girl’s moment of weakness into moments of vulnerability:
"If you're crying, it's even better…. Then he'll ask you if you want to hang out and talk about it."

Once a boy wins a girl's trust, he'll start campaigning for sexual favors. "And some boys tell everybody you did something even when you didn’t…Or they'll take a picture of you doing something sexual and put it on Facebook”.

*How girls send signals to guys:
There are girls at school who seem to court the attention, wearing lacy push-up bras that peek out from their tops. "Girls will tote a Victoria's Secret bag as a signal to the boys that they are thinking about sex". Some parents are unwitting accomplices: They drop their daughters off at the mall, not realizing the girls are using their credit cards to purchase lingerie.

*How some parents are completely oblivious:
"You send your child to a good school and they're getting good grades and you think everything is fine, but between classes kids are doing things that would blow your mind. Children are dealing with enormous pressure to engage in all kinds of sexual activity, no matter the age, color, creed, education or income level of the parents. Children need their parents to help them through this."

*How times are changing and the media is now the role model:
"What parents don't understand is these kids are experimenting with things in middle school that their parents did when they were in college". Over the years ... students have contracted a startling range of STIs, including gonorrhea of the throat, as well as children who were caught performing oral sex in empty classrooms while other students watched. "Kids are seeing these things on TV and the Internet and they are acting them out. We are experiencing a sexual revolution and it's only getting worse."

*How children are getting exposed to pornography at a young age:
Some parents are finding their children are watching much more graphic content: the hard-core pornography that's available free of charge to anyone with Internet access. More than 40 percent of the teens surveyed say they have gone online to view pornography; 42 percent say they've been shown online porn by a friend. When Joan Smalls* discovered her 14-year-old son had been watching sexually explicit videos on his iPod, she was shocked by the images.

*How pornography is setting the bar for a child’s future sexual escapades:
Teens are treating porn as instructional videos for how to have sex. "For some children, these images are setting the norm. So the boys might be thinking good sex is when you slap her and pull her hair. The boys are under pressure to reenact what they are seeing, and the girls are experiencing this at a time when they are just developing. They may begin to believe this is how they should be treated."

*How sex may equate masculinity for some guys:
"If a dude has something to prove, he might try to push a girl to do something she doesn't want to, because if he's the only one of his friends who isn't messing with a girl, he'll be an outcast. Like, I was on Facebook and a guy posted that he wasn't ready for sex yet. All his friends called him gay."
“We need to provide other examples of manhood so boys can try to prove themselves in ways other than acting out sexually".
*How sexual harassment is happening during school:
And sometimes, even though the school has a code of behavior that forbids sexual harassment, the boys get physical, flicking the girls' breasts in the hallway between classes. The girls don't report these incidents to their teachers because that will get them labeled "snitch" or "narc," which would make school impossible.
*What girls want to talk to their moms (parents) about:
It's a sticky summer night and Jasmine is on the phone talking about her ex, the one to whom she lost her virginity months earlier. "He told me he loved me," she says, "and I thought it was going to last forever. But three months later we broke up. I felt so stupid."

This isn't the only time Jasmine has gotten carried away. "Even when you say you really don't want to do it, a boy will start touching you and maybe there's some nice sexy song playing and then he'll tell you you're a good kisser. It's just like a magical moment and it gets all crazy," she says. "Once that happens you just forget about how bad you didn't want to do it." This is what Jasmine really wants to talk to her mother about. She thinks if she could be more candid her mother might be able to answer her most pressing question: 
I wish she would tell me how to say no.

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