Healthcare, Mental Health, parenting, Politics

When did society start being ok with sexualizing kids?

We all remember “The Talk” when we were little. The embarrassing conversation with a parent about “the birds and the bees”. Some of us remember the day in grade school when all the boys when outside to play and all of the girls got the video about how our bodies were changing and what to expect when our monthly cycle started. Quite a few of us remember Sex Ed classes in school. It was all very clinical, basically a biology class. This is how the reproductive system works. These are different kinds of birth control available. These are some common STDs that you want to avoid by using said birth control. That’s it. Maybe there was the occasional progressive teacher that would bring out the banana and the condom, but I really think that was more an urban legend.

This type of sex talk is completely understandable. Children and teenagers need to understand the science of how bodies function. No problem. I have an 8-year-old. I have been updating him on new information about bodily functions at appropriate times. He has a penis. Girls have a vagina. Girls get their period once a month. Girls have the “house the baby lives in in their bellies” aka womb. I remember being at Disney a few months back and having to bring him into the ladies’ room because I wasn’t sending him off by himself and there were no family rooms available. He looked around all confused and whispered in my ear, “Do little girls have vaginas too?”. They do… for those who aren’t aware.

The point is, I’m very open about biology with my kid. He understands the difference between male bodies and female bodies. We’ve talked about all kinds of bodily functions as pertains to science. I’ve taught him about privacy and keeping certain body parts to himself. When he discovered that touching himself felt good. I just said, “yes it does, but you do that in private.” I didn’t hide facts. i didn’t shame him. I didn’t shelter him from discovering things on his own about his own body.

I didn’t, however, give him a book or movie about masturbating and start teaching him about different sexual positions and kink. None of these things are appropriate for children. I don’t know when this became a political issue. This used to be something everyone agreed to. Whether it was the Christian Right or the Tipper Gore Left making sure there were advisory stickers on Rap music. Children were to be protected from adult content.

We as a society used to understand that kids shouldn’t go into a rate R movie, never mind rated X, and yet somewhere along the line people stopped understanding this. It changed to, “oh, they can see worse on the internet… who cares?”. Well, I for one care. Many people care. Many people SHOULD care.

There have been calls to ban explicit adult content books from school libraries and half the country thinks this is censorship. Censorship to keep porn out of the hands of children. Children are to be taken to Gay Pride events and celebrated for watching adults perform kink in the streets. Sexual identity and expression should be taught to kindergarteners. Most children have no idea what any of that means.

I live in Massachusetts. I have many openly gay friends and family members. I have never hidden this fact from my son. He has spent time with my friends who are gay. When he was a toddler and first started getting into Doctor Who and Captain Jack Harkness was an openly OPEN character played by an openly gay man, I would show him videos on Insta of “Jack and his husband”. When my son was watching “The Simpsons” and Homer befriended a gay man and Marge was trying to hint to Homer about the friend being gay my son was confused why anyone would care.

My son does not know one thing about sex. My son knows that people love each other and want to kiss each other. That’s it. He knows that “love” makes a baby. My son is so unaware of how sex works that after his father died, he asked if you love someone in Heaven can you still make a baby. That’s sweet. That’s innocent. That’s how children should be.

In a world full of Epsteins and Clintons you would think that parents would be working overtime at keeping sex away from their kids. In a world in which teachers and religious leaders and sports coaches, and all the other trusted people who we send our kids off to are known to be the biggest predators, you would think that parents would work extra hard at making sure these same people aren’t sexualizing your kids while telling you “It’s no big deal.”

Anyone who thinks that Elementary or Middle School kids should not only have access but be given highly sexual material are people you shouldn’t want anywhere near your kids. If you think otherwise you may want to ask yourself why.

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