I wrote a while back about sexual euphemisms, double entendres, and starting conversations with your kids about sex.  I use the already prevalent suggestive commercials, sitcom punch lines, and children’s movie humor-inserted-for-adults as opportunities to talk to my own children. These occurrences happen so often that it seems like conversations that have a double meaning are everywhere. Choosing just one can be a great way to start a rousing talk.  

Sexual Humor is Everywhere

You don’t have to look long or far to find these opportunities; identifying these situations gives you an easy “in” to start a conversation with your child. Once you’ve started talking about what’s out there, you’ll notice how easy it is to talk about it. And once you’ve done so, you’ll see how adept children are at identifying phrases with two meanings.

Everyday Examples

I’ll give you a couple of examples. I just moved into a new home, and there were a lot of little improvements to make it more of a “home” for me and my daughters. A guy I know is a contractor. We are good friends and sort of tease and flirt mildly with each other.  Well, one day during the move-in process, I picked up the girls from school.  Marcia climbed into the car and was very chatty.  She didn’t know that I was in the middle of a text conversation nor see the first part of our conversation about paint colors and all the work there was to do.  She did hear me dictate to Siri, “Oh, I’ll put you to work”. She paused her monologue long enough to ask, “First, I’m wondering if that’s a sex joke…”.  That was the start of a new catchphrase/game in our home “Sex Joke – Not A Sex Joke”.

Cindy, not to be outdone, also identifies these on her own.  The other day, my boyfriend brought sushi to me.  When I saw which kind it was, I exclaimed, “Oh honey!  Thanks for bringing me the Spicy Tuna Sushi.”  He replied, “I know my baby likes it spicy.” Cindy called out — from the other room, “NOT A Sex Joke.”

The Building Blocks of Understanding Sexuality

All of this brings me to this point: To learn, we build knowledge upon knowledge. We start with basic building blocks and then add more complex concepts as we go.  Before a child can learn multiplication, a child must first understand counting, then adding and subtracting, etc. The concepts around sex and sexuality are no different, really.  My girls know the proper names of their genitalia, and from there, we have talked about euphemisms and double entendre; as I said before – it’s everywhere. Through these conversations, kids build further understanding of the world in which they live. 

The Impact on Kids

Consider what kind of information kids have in their environment if parents do not engage them with this topic.  Influences from television (I’m sorry, I don’t want my daughters to learn about dating from “The Bachelor”), Sporting events (ditto seeing the sexualized and objectified images of cheerleaders on the sideline or the Viagra commercials), restaurants – or should I say Breastaurants (like Hooters).  Please don’t mistake me; I’m fine with these things in our environment to some extent AS LONG AS parents are talking to their kids and giving them the all-important CONTEXT.  What we DON’T say to our children directly is said for us in advertisements, etc.

Brain Development & Learning

Children’s little brains are 95% of the adult size by the age of 5 or 6. The “bumps and grooves” continue to develop throughout childhood as the brain cells grow extra connections.  To quote a PBS show “Frontline”:

“The brain grows like a tree.  First there is a flurry of growth. Then unused branches or pathways are pruned.  And it is this pruning that gives the tree its shape for the future.”

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/etc/script.html

Developmental Psychologist Jean Piaget was known for studying how children’s minds processed knowledge.  He says, “accessing prior knowledge is how children make sense of the world. They attempt to take new information and fit it into existing knowledge in order to create a schema, or mental map that fits into a specific category.” “http://suite101.com/article/prior-knowledge-and-teaching-a149783”  This is further support in my mind for thinking long term about talking early and often about these topics with our kids.

I’m reminded of a quote by Oscar Wilde: 

“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”  

Help your kids embrace the power of knowledge.  Help them by talking to them regularly about euphemisms and why certain jokes are funny.  Giving your children accurate, yet basic information gives them a solid foundation upon which to build their knowledge and form their own opinions about sex & sexuality.  

xxoo

Lanae

About the Author

The MamaSutra

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on themamasutra.com.

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