The June 26 Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states is a wonderful opportunity for parents to talk with their teens and young adults. What are your kid’s friends saying about the ruling on social media? Do they all think the ruling is a great thing? (Most of the young people I’m […]
A lot of people I speak with say they’d like to feel more comfortable talking about sexuality with their partner or their kids, but don’t know how to start. So I’ll help! Part of what makes it hard is that we don’t do it very often. Sex is private and not a suitable topic in polite company. But there are plenty of things about sex and its meaning to us that are worth thinking about, and worth talking about.
Every couple of weeks, I’ll post a TalkStarter you can use to get conversations going with people important to you. Some are suitable for couples; some for you and any adults you’re close to; some for parents with kids of various ages. Hopefully the TalkStarters will give you food for thought and food for conversation.
Porn can be a very charged topic, especially for women. Some women enjoy porn regularly; others are horrified that their partner would ever view it (even though most men do, whether frequently or occasionally). I’ve known women who were appalled that their husbands view porn, but who themselves regularly enjoy steamy romance novels. This got […]
Sometimes, parents aren’t quite sure what they want to say to their kids about sex. Other times, they know something they want to say, but aren’t quite sure how to get the words out. This happens even with younger kids, but it’s especially true with teens and preteens who may (or may not) know a […]
Prom is the highlight of the high school social calendar—with a thick layer of sexual implications and complications. It’s an emotionally and sexually charged time for a lot of teens. It might be an opportunity to talk, or at least to float some observations that might get your kid thinking. “When I was in high […]
Finding the right opportunity with talk to your teen about sex and relationships can be a challenge. Everyone is so busy, and it’s hard to find a time when conversations can unfold naturally. Solution: Create an opportunity for important conversations by taking your teen or preteen on a road trip. The point of the trip […]
It seems like every day there’s some sort of sex-related scandal in the news: sexual assaults on some campus, a politician or athlete having an affair, allegations of sexual harassment in some organization. These unhappy situations have one silver lining: They can create a topic of conversation with teens. Teens are most likely to resonate […]
When kids are little, laying the groundwork for healthy sexuality is mostly a matter of how you handle small, everyday opportunities. Simply being matter-of-fact about words and ideas can go a long way. For instance, does your child ever help with household repairs or installing technology? Plumbing and electronic parts sometimes have “male” and “female” […]
Were yours the sort of parents who danced in the kitchen and cuddled on the couch? Or the sort who never touched each other? Were they very discreet and un-touchy, but had a sparkle in their eyes sometimes when they looked at each other, so that, looking back, you can tell there was chemistry? Or […]
Sometimes when you’re out with your teen or older child, you may overhear a couple talking angrily. This feels uncomfortable—but it can open a conversation about relationships, communication, and how people treat each other. Next time you’re at a restaurant or shopping or whatever and people nearby start arguing audibly, you might give your kid […]
I recently attended a continuing education class for therapists on sexuality in clinical practice. The instructor is part of a group of therapists who are known for being very open-minded about sexuality and therefore see a broad spectrum of human behavior. (Thanks to Kevin Gallagher, LCMHC of op.ti.ma in Burlington, VT for a great workshop!) […]