Wednesday 13 June 2007

What Daughters Need to Know From Fathers About Sex

This post is dedicated to the Movie Lovers who will one day make their way into our neighbourhood cinema.

Don't Just Leave it to Mom
Every father is unsure about when and how to breach the subject with his daughter of the ins and outs (!) of the world of sex. Many Dads are quite happy to leave this to Mom, which is okay in part, but really, who knows the male animal like us males? What follows is a primer for breaching the difficult subject, based, of course, on experience, and the belief that the more our daughters REALLY know about sex, and the male view of sex, the better decisions they will make and the better their sexual relationships, and probably overall relationships, will be.

What They Don't Teach You in School
This does not cover STDs, pregnancy, and protection, which are, of course, extremely important, and tend to be extensively covered at school, usually in a way that would try to scare kids away from the whole experience. That's the thing about school; it teaches us what we need to know to make careers but not about how to live our lives. In fact, this particular journal entry was conceived (sorry!) primarily as a counterpoint to that whole approach, important though the "don'ts" side of the equation certainly is. My focus here was to concentrate on the "dos". And yes, I do know that the world is not made up of two kinds of people and that appearances and even initial patterns of behaviour are not always a true reflection of the person beneath. The most instructive thing I can say in defence of this is that I myself have been both types of boy in decidedly different circumstances.

Who Do You Think You Are, Dr. Phil?
I have no qualifications other than experience, but I think my kids have a pretty good read on the whole thing. Having been a teacher, I also know that asking the right questions teaches more than having the right answers, so you'll notice that the questions as phrased below are specific, to test real understanding, instead of the general "Do you understand what I've said so far", which is a terribly passive way to approach such an important subject as human sexuality. Perhaps the analogy offered below is overly simplistic, but I've learned that there are few types of verbal communication more powerful than the combination of a well-constructed analogy and a relevant example. A great thing about talking about difficult topics by analogies (mine below is watching movies), is that difficult questions can come back to you using the language of the analogy, which makes them a lot easier to answer! I think the advice below can be applied to avoid heterosexual bias, with a few changes in terminology, but I confess that I haven't tried doing so.

When to "Have The Talk"
In my view, the right time to "have the talk" is right now. In fact, it has already started. All communications that you have with your kids about sex are part of the talk, and it is never too early to start talking about it. As they grow, they should be given as much as you know in terms that are as simple as possible for them to understand. The terms will change as they grow older, and the message may as well - the most important thing is that the conversation is taking place.

The Image Lovers & The Movie Lovers

What Sex Feels Like
Sex is about using your body to express your feelings, and because different people express themselves differently, you will find that not everyone will be comfortable with expressing themselves physically. Sex is not much more than touching that feels especially good. Some parts of your body are more sensitive to touch than other parts, and it feels nice to be touched there. These parts are different in different people. Part of the fun of sex is in discovering where those parts are. In the same way that any kind of touch, like a hug, is much better when both people involved want to do it, sex itself is much much better when both people involved want it to happen. Just as when you see someone in your family or one of your friends and you both know that you want to hug each other, there are some people that you will be with, when you will know that you both want to kiss each other, or touch each other in other ways. There is no right or wrong way to do it, and no specific set of actions or time frame; in fact, it is a little different, and sometimes a lot different, every time. It will be much better if you just go where it takes you, and not try to direct it to what someone might have told to do. Liken it to watching a movie you really like; enjoy it as if it will never end, and hope that, when it does end, it has a good ending that you'll remember. The touching is always supposed to feel good; when something doesn’t feel good, you should stop and do something else. And just like going out to watch a movie, you want to choose your company carefully; mostly only people with whom you enjoy spending your time will be good partners.

Think of how many people now that you really enjoy spending time with; now how many of them are boys?

The Image Lover
Although of course there are as many types of boys as there are boys, you will, broadly speaking, meet two types of boys, . There will be one type of boy whose primary goal it is, after he has met you, to have some kind of sex with you. Quite often, he will say whatever he has to say, do whatever he has to do, to accomplish his goal. For him, sex is for him and about him, and what he wants. This type of boy is like someone who wants to watch enough of a cool movie just to get the idea of the story, either because he can't be bothered to watch the whole thing or even just so he can tell his friends he saw it. So, he may rent the movie, watch the last scene, and then believe he knows what it's about, or say that he has seen it. Let's call this type of boy the Image Lover. The boy's image of himself, or his friends' image of him, is what he really enjoys.

Do you know any boys like that?

The Movie Lover
Then, there will be the type of boy whose primary goal it is to get to know you, who will do anything and say anything he has to do or say, to spend time with you and find out more about you and what you like. For him, sex, if and when it happens, will be about both of you, and about when both of you are ready. Viewed as a movie, he wants a good ending as well, but, like you, he knows that, the better he understands the rest of the film, and the more he understands and enjoys every scene, the more he'll enjoy the overall movie and the ending. Chances are also very good that he'll want to watch it again after it's finished. Let’s call this type of boy the Movie Lover.

Do you know any boys like that?

Which type of boys do you think are easier to find?

How To Tell Them Apart
It is not always going to be easy to tell these two types of boys apart. Until you know him, you will often mistake one for the other, but the thing with sex, as with watching movies, is that it will be a lot better the first time, and most other times, if you learn to tell which boys are which. The Movie Lover will often take longer to get to the ending, or even to start watching the movie, because he knows that the ending is just one part, one good part, of the movie, that will happen after you have already enjoyed lots of other scenes. If you're not enjoying it, you always have the opportunity to put the movie on pause, for as long as you want, until you want to go back to watching it. You can also leave it altogether, especially if you start to suspect that you really have an Image Lover. That's another way that sex is similar to watching a movie; if you're not enjoying the movie, you certainly won't enjoy the ending. If you do choose an Image Lover, the movie is all in the ending, which he of course will not appreciate after the movie is finished. It is not a disaster to have this experience with the type of boy you don't want, but it's generally true that you'll enjoy the first experience more, and all similar experiences to come, if you choose your company well for the first one.

How do you think you can tell an Image Lover from a Movie Lover?

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