This Thanksgiving, I’m grateful for my goofy, open, sex-positive family!

The conversations around the dinner table in our household are pretty funny.

If you’ve been around my blog long enough, then you know my family is not very typical.

The home for my family is not the home I grew up in – for this, I am thankful. My kids are sexually healthy children; they are aware of sexual wellness, don’t possess the same insecurities about their bodies, nor do they have any of the naïveté about what makes a good/healthy relationships I had when I grew up. They have some pretty solid skills at communicating that I didn’t have at their age. As I said, I’m so grateful (and proud) of that. 

There are a couple of instances, in particular, I want to tell you about this time around. 

This one was during a family dinner. Cindy had cramps from her period and wasn’t feeling so great. I didn’t have any Advil on me and shared the quickest natural cramp-killing idea that came to mind “you could masturbate to relieve cramps.” My youngest is a bit of a riot. Yet there was no response registered on her face in terms of shock, surprise, or anything like that. It was bewilderment – like, how would that work? The subject moved back to something mundane, but when we got home, I took out a small vibrator that I had in mind for her if and when an occasion should arise. This was it. I took the cute little box, and I put it on her nightstand next to her bed.

Iroha Mini Portable Intimate Massager for Women, Sora Mikan 

Later that evening, Cindy came into my room and asked if the thing I left was a vibrator because when she first looked, she said she thought it was a “beauty blender” (her big sister Marcia was big into makeup at that time, and these things seemed to be all over the house). That gave me a quick opportunity to explain how masturbation could help to relieve those cramps and begin her own sexual health journey. 

The other story

My kids used to have braces on their teeth. If your kid falls in this category, you may have had the same struggle to get them to brush the brackets or their gums adequately. This was the case with Marcia. I’d even gone so far as to offer to brush her teeth for her, but of course, as a high schooler, she rolled her eyes at me and said, “no thanks, mom. “ 

But one night, the two of us were sitting on the couch and I noticed that her gums looked puffy.  We’d had so many conversations about this so I was kind of fed up. 

I told her “All right. I want you to go get your toothbrush, bring it in here, and I wanna watch you brush your teeth.“ 

She was a little salty with her reply. “Why? Are you into that type of thing?”

“Yes. I am. It’s Toothbrush Porn for me. Now go get your toothbrush, so I can watch.” 

From down the hall, Cindy pokes her head out of her bedroom and says, “Oooh kinky.“

Not to be outdone, my partner Ragnar calls out from the office, “Oral hygiene?“ 

My family…  ‍‍

I’m thankful for the ability to talk and relate to my children in a way that encourages open communication. As a parent, I notice a feeling of freedom and comfort when it comes to my kids. I trust them. And it’s been really remarkable to have that feeling of trust for the decisions my kids will make knowing that they have a solid base of accurate information and I don’t have to worry about them. They know what’s up and I’m grateful for how easy we can talk about sexuality, and for the peace in knowing I’m not unwittingly passing on shame or stigma. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you! If it gives you pleasure, save room for dessert (and take a big bite for me!).



P.s., If you’d like to learn more about the parent coaching I do to help sex positive families raise sexually healthy children, let’s set up a time to talk. You can also use that link if you want to talk about up-leveling your own sexual health journey

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

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