Up Front by Emma Hart

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Up Front: It's Not Sex, and It's Not Education

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  • Paul Campbell,

    I think you have to tell them the truth - my son learned about Santa quite early on and was happy to play along but didn't realise about the tooth fairy until he was 8 or so and found the carefully saved teeth one day - he was VERY angry, he'd been betrayed

    (in a moment of honesty I told him about Santa when he was 4, he saw Santa at the mall a few days later, came home and told me I was full of it - yes! he believed his own eyes over some adult trying to tell him how the world worked, I'd brought him up right)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2152 posts Report Reply

  • linger,

    There's always the Julia Sweeney approach.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 901 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Dodgy Uncle Max has plenty of dodgy advice to confer, though I usually restrict such advice to those who are a little bit older.

    For a while I assumed that these days, people in their twenties were much more sexually frank, experienced and open-minded than they were when I was that age, but some recent experiences have proved me wrong. I've recently had a couple of twenty-something lovers who seemed surprised that I was actually interested in their pleasure, and one who tried to deter me from giving oral sex because "it doesn't do much, and men don't really like doing it, so don't worry about me". Really? I like to think I contributed to her education, but really, at least the theoretical part of such learning should have been taught about ten years earlier.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 81 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    The study, reported in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, found that two years later, 33.5 per cent of abstinence-only students admitted having had sex, against 49 per cent of each of the other three groups.

    I can't help but think that "admitted" is probably the key word here, Mr George.

    I find it really strange that people are expecting reproduction to be the focus of sex-ed for kids who are over twelve. For our family that's something we begin to discuss in the preschool years. I think my favourite conversation starting book is Babette Cole's "Mummy Laid an Egg" mostly because the pictures of "how Mummies and Daddies fit together" are so utterly joyful. (Sex on a moonhopper? Why not?)

    I do feel much more awkward discussing sex as recreation with my kids than I do the reproductive angle but my approach of drip feeding information as it becomes relevant and half-encouraging eaves-dropping seems to be doing ok so far. I tend to judge what they are ready for by noticing when things stop going over their heads - in my experience kids mostly discount ideas they are not ready to grasp unless they impact upon their lives in major ways. I really, really don't want to be the sole source of information for my kids though. For one things there's a heap of stuff that I don't know much about that they may need to know and, for another, there are some conversations it's just easier to have with people outside your family - I want them to know all about orgasms but I don't need them to know about mine and I definitely don't need to hear about theirs.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    This is both tangential and anecdotal, but I was told (by a christian working in the education sector) that Parachute is responsible for a larger number of unwanted conceptions than any other NZ festival.

    I so want this to be true – is there any data?

    I was told much the same by an acquaintance who was well into Jesus through her teens, and attended a number of Parachutes. Heaps of teenage fumbling and fornicating, apparently.

    And many, of course, will have lacked the ability to make good, informed choices.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18891 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I actually really hate that, when you wake up in the morning and discover you've become one flesh.

    I was actually wondering recently what the total number of fleshes would be under this system. This wiki page with poor inline citations suggests it might be one really big flesh and many many double or single fleshes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1096 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Also, my teenage self would like to warmly thank Cosmopolitan magazine.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18891 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Also, my teenage self would like to warmly thank Cosmopolitan magazine.

    My friend Susan and I were recently discussing covert reading of Lace as a rite of passage for women our age. That and fancying David Bowie in Labyrinth, it's like carbon-dating.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    Me 2¢: Having met a street kid late 1980s who didn't know where babys came from until she became pregnant and of course had a long road to go from there any arguement against sex education seems to me to damage the argurer's point. Among other things.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • JoJo, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Is it just a coincidence that if you take the middle 7 letters out of "warmly thank" you spell ... a terribly appropriate word?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 95 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Also, my teenage self would like to warmly thank Cosmopolitan magazine.

    My father kept a stack of penthouse mags in the toilet - that combined with the fact we grew up as nudists meant his 3 teenage sons knew a) that sex was fun for both parties and b) penis's were not all 12 inches long (except for Fred-the-horse).

    Of course Mum then went and spoiled it all by explaining that yes sex was fun but actually it was lot more fun with someone you loved.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3392 posts Report Reply

  • Tamara, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Wow, we must be the same age! Jareth in those britches...

    New Zealand • Since Oct 2010 • 100 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Tim Michie,

    Two of my sisters are midwives (& generally-trained, with pyschiatric & other qualifications, nurses.) People who’ve also had children, and more than one partner
    (tho’ not concurrently.)

    The youngest person they assisted in birthing was 12. Came from a Brethren family. The most extraordinary ‘precautions you take so as not to have a pregnancy when having sex’ include:
    *putting garlic cloves in your ears (from 5 different sources)
    *putting a cross of elastoplast over your navel (2) (did not describe shape of cross)
    *eating the ejaculate (after the first internal lot) (2)
    *having another sexual partner immediately after the first (“the sperms they fight, see?” I am so going to use that in an s.s. one day) (a dozen or so.)

    Between them, they have over 65 years of midwifery experience, and I deeply suspect they have with-held other anecdotes to save my tender asexual ears…

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Tamara,

    Wow, we must be the same age! Jareth in those britches...

    The number of times Hoggle is standing next to Jareth, ergo the camera is justifiably at crotch-height...

    ETA: Also, this may be relevant to your interests. (Not Safe for Actual WORK.)

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4366 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings, in reply to Emma Hart,

    That and fancying David Bowie in Labyrinth, it's like carbon-dating.

    Fancying David Bowie led to reading biographies of David Bowie which was quite the education (especially if one stumbled on the more salacious ones at an impressionable age).

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 705 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    penises?
    Or – penes…

    You know what I took away from “Labyrinth”?
    Fly-spraying leetle glittery-winged fairies was really OK-
    been doing it ever since (saves the bluebottles, y'know.)

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I think you have to tell them the truth - my son learned about Santa quite early on and was happy to play along but didn't realise about the tooth fairy until he was 8 or so and found the carefully saved teeth one day - he was VERY angry, he'd been betrayed

    I think both of ours just gradually realised it was a story. It didn't seem to matter too much.

    Listening to our younger boy talking himself through the existence or otherwise of God was a delight. I gave my opinion when it was requested but basically left him to it. He never seemed to credit an interventionist God, but was a deist for a while. He's now indignantly atheist.

    It's an interesting one for us, because it's not unusual for young ASD people to go for the security and structure of belief.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18891 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to JoJo,

    Is it just a coincidence that if you take the middle 7 letters out of "warmly thank" you spell ... a terribly appropriate word?

    No, really, I was reading it for the articles. And, quite seriously, reading something written for women was probably quite useful.

    It would also be fair to say that in some matters there is no substitute for practical experience. If only I had teh skillz then that I do now ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18891 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Answer: "In some other galaxy, far far away..."

    There's Lego Star Wars now, that does help a little. Plastic Gods seems less plausible.

    Listening to our younger boy talking himself through the existence or otherwise of God was a delight. I gave my opinion when it was requested but basically left him to it. He never seemed to credit an interventionist God, but was a deist for a while. He's now indignantly atheist.

    That's my approach, however my opinion, FWIW, is far from clear... interventionist God, no, diety of some sort, maybe...

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Ever read Neil Gaiman's "American Gods"?
    He made most explicit, in any work of fiction I have so far encountered, that *human* belief in gods is what keeps belief in gods et al alive...(and semi-effective.)

    I think we under-estimate our sub-creativity!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite,

    Ahem… (NSFW of course…)

    The Onion "Children Exposed To Porn May Expect Sex To Be Enjoyable"

    http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DY4kwk5jV2nU

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 975 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Max Rose,

    way that women often like to be held, caressed and whispered sweet nothings to during the afterglow

    Why shouldn't blokes be able to have such experiences too???

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2311 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Islander,

    I haven't read American Gods, I used to read to the aforementioned six year old, The Day I Swapped My Dad for a Goldfish. Thanks for the reccomendation, I'll follow up.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes, in reply to Max Rose,

    Sodomy and buggery?! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

    Apparently there are some subtle differences.
    Buggery is a Bulgarian hobby

    The term buggery originated in medieval Europe as an insult used to describe the rumoured same-sex sexual practices of the heretics from the Buggre sect.This sect originated in medieval Bulgaria,

    Which, inevitably led to An Acte for the punysshement of the vice of Buggerie

    The Act defined buggery as an unnatural sexual act against the will of God and man. This was later defined by the courts to include only anal penetration and bestiality.[3] The Act remained in force until its repeal in 1828.

    Whereas Sodomy is the act of Shagging Angels

    The men of Sodom surround Lot's house, demanding that he bring the angels (who have the appearance of men) out, so that they can "know" them.

    These days, of course, everything is messed up and higgledy piggledy, as Garth might say and Bulgarian Angels no longer have the appearance of men.

    The wireless north ;-) • Since Dec 2006 • 4861 posts Report Reply

  • Megan Wegan, in reply to Emma Hart,

    See, I find him horribly, horribly creepy.

    Welly • Since Jul 2008 • 1273 posts Report Reply

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