Posted on | September 3, 2013 | 2 Comments
I’m going to talk about sex for a minute.
In light of the recent events on TV and in pop culture, I’ve noticed a trend. Finger pointing behind the computer screens. Sayings like “slut shaming” and “double standards” and “men will be men” are thrown around on various social media sites, viral Youtube videos, and online articles. It seems as though everyone has an opinion as to whether men or women are to blame when scandals arise.
Bill Clinton is still one of the most-liked presidents in the history of the United States. Monica Lewinski? A running joke.
Miley Cyrus is being mentioned on every single Entertainment site. Robin Thicke? Nice pictures of he and his family are posted as they frolic through the water at a beach.
Google #slanegirl, and you find a horrifying story of a young girl photographed giving oral six to men at a concert in Ireland. The photographs went world-wide, and the men are being hero-worshipped in the comments because of their part in the situation while the young woman was hospitalized because of how distraught she was that the pictures were leaked.
It’s all very disturbing. But I’ve wondered…is the real issue who is to blame for scandalizing actions? Or is the real issue is WHY this kinds of things happen? Should men be held to the same standards as women? ABSOLUTELY. But besides just that, it seems as though people are losing touch with respect. Respect for ourselves, our bodies, our actions, our images, our history, our past, our future, our family, our reputation. Respect for others. Their feelings, their lives.
Instead of teaching self-respect and respect for others, television, music, and opinion columnists, to name a few, are teaching our children that respect isn’t earned. It’s given regardless of what they do. It’s okay to “twerk” on national broadcast or in seedy clubs. It’s okay to have sex with whomever they choose, whenever they choose because sex is good and wonderful no matter what. No one should be shamed for it no matter when or where it happens, and damn you if you don’t allow total and complete freedom with their sexual conquests, actions, and consequences. No one can or should judge you for your actions, the way you look, the way you behave. You are your own little world, and everyone else has to deal with what you do and why you do it with complete acceptance. That by telling young men and women to behave, we are stifling sexuality and self-exploration.
But it’s not okay. It’s not okay to treat sexuality like a play thing that can be handed around to any willing participant or as a tool to get what we want. It’s not okay to degrade ourselves by turning dancing in public into a vulgarity. It’s not okay to pretend like our actions can’t have real and significant consequences. Not only that, but people will judge. They will make assumptions about you based on what you do and how you act, and yes, even how you dance and dress. Is it fair? Maybe. Maybe not. Clearly, not every woman dressed in heels and a dress up to here is looking to sleep around. Clearly, not every young boy who has sex with his girlfriend in the back of his pick-up is just out to get laid. Just as not every guy with his pants slung low is a thug, and not every girl dressed in camo is a redneck. But since we can’t peer into each other’s heads, we have to make judgments based on how people conduct themselves.
I know one thing.
I will not teach my boys sex is bad. I think that comes with it’s own set of consequences with young people are made to feel guilty about any sexual thought or action. But I will teach them respect. Respect for themselves and respect for others. I will teach them that sex is a sacred thing (whether or not you’re religious) and that it should be shared with someone you love, not just someone you think will sleep with you. It touches your soul permanently. That it comes with heavy feelings, life-long connections (whether you want to be connected or not), and involves completely opening yourself to someone else. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give another person. It’s not just a physical act. I will teach them that anything but, “Yes, absolutely,” means no, but that just because someone says yes, doesn’t mean you should. And drinking before means you shouldn’t. That you don’t have to dance like you’re having sex to be sexy. That you don’t have to be raunchy to attract attention from women. That most of the time? Less is more, and people who are interested in you will crave a little mystery. But I’ll also pray fervently that they surround themselves with people who have earned that respect and who give it back to them in turn.
Because until they are adults, they need that kind of guidance. And hopefully, when they are adults, they will remember my guidance and use it to their advantage.
And I will teach them that girls are not trophies to be had, but young women still growing into themselves. Still learning. Full of potential and beauty, and that they should respect all women, no matter if all women respect themselves. I will teach them to surround themselves with people who are like-minded. And that when they come across the path of someone who doesn’t understand respect, that they should give a wide berth. I will pray that they are surrounded by people who give back respect in turn.
Do I expect them to still make mistakes? Absolutely. They will probably go too far with the wrong girl. They may break some hearts. They will have their hearts broken. They will grow and learn and change. But hopefully, their mistakes will not be devastating ones that find them landed on the front page of Yahoo! News or as a father before they are ready. Hopefully, their mistakes will not destroy a young girl, leaving her to build herself back up and with a distrust in men. Hopefully their mistakes will be the “good” kind. The kind that make them better people and teach them to fix up their wounds and their hearts and love again.
I only have the ability to control what is taught in our own home, but I truly think that the roots of discipline, respect, and love can be grown within the home and transferred to the world. Here’s hoping.