What is this blog all about

This blog is a collaborative effort from various bloggers aiming to bring their children up in a sex positive way- one that aims to bring children up to not be constrained by their gender or gender stereotype, One that celebrates individual differences and supports children to develop emotional resilience, good body image and self esteem, with good relationships skills such as communication, trusting, honesty and understanding of consent, and negative relationships. Sex Positive Parents recognise that sex in an appropriate context isn’t shameful or dirty, and that we shouldn’t be embarrassed about the human body and what it can do.

This blog will cover issues such as:

Anatomy

Body Image and Self Esteem

Gender Diversity

Sexual Diversity

Role Modelling Positive Relationships and avoiding negative ones

Sex Positive Values- Consent, trust, honesty, respect, communication etc

Talking to your kids about sex

Help! My kid is sexually active

Sexualisation

Pornography

Masturbation

Sexual Activity

Posted in Body Image and Self Esteem, Gender Diversity, Help! My kid is sexually active, Masturbation, Role Modelling Positive Relationships and avoiding negative ones, Sexual Diversity, Talking to your kids about sex | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mummy, what’s porn?

The dining table, my house, the end of a lovely day

Picture the scene (albeit in a tidier house). My eldest son and I are seated side by side, me with a glass of chardonnay, him with a plate of potato waffles and Dora the Explorer spaghetti. My partner and our youngest are still out doing the weekly shop. It has been a good day and I am feeling proud and motherly. My son looks at me, his fork paused midway to his mouth, pasta flowers a-dangling, and suddenly, out of nowhere, the following conversation ensues:

SON: Mummy, what’s porn?

ME: <splutters on Blossom Hill, before going straight to the mishearing option> What did you just say?

SON: What’s porn?

ME: <moving on to the next best approach> Why don’t you ask Daddy?

SON: <sulkily> But I’m asking you. What’s porn?

ME: It’s …. <suddenly inspired> You remember when Daddy was teaching you chess? A pawn is one of the pieces, remember? You use it to … Well, I don’t know how to play chess, so Daddy will have to remind you. But “being a pawn” is also used as a metaphor. Do you know what a metaphor is? Shall we look it -

SON: NO! It’s not that! It’s something from school.

ME: <slowly, realisation dawning> Something from school?

SON: Yes! Mrs Russel said -

ME: Mrs Russel? The Year 1 teaching assistant?

SON: Yes, Mrs Russel said it was spicy -

ME: Spicy?

SON: – and just for grown-ups.

ME: <now picturing self selling outraged story to the Daily Mail> And when did she say this?

SON: At lunchtime. It was on the menu but she said only grown-ups could eat porn. I think you need to be old, like 100.

ME: <hopeful> Are you sure she didn’t say “prawn”? Could it have been a prawn curry?

SON: No, porn.

ME: <grabs phone and tweets about what has just occurred, for no real reason whatsoever. Then downs rest of wine>

SON: <1 minute later> Actually, I think it was “prawn”… It was definitely “prawn”.

ME: <sends further tweet, to clarify first tweet. Then pours more wine>

Just thought I’d share that little vignette (not that I know what a “vignette” is – thank god he didn’t ask me that). Clearly, I’m relieved that I wasn’t put in the position of having to explain “porn” to a five-year-old. But since then I’ve been wondering what if I had been? If he’d really said “porn”, how should I have responded? These are the options I’ve been considering:

  • say, vaguely, “oh, it’s rude stuff”, and then risk him thinking that forgetting to say thank-you constitutes “porn”
  • tell him it involves reading about or looking at images of people having sex. Then when he says “what’s sex?”, say “sechs? Oh, it’s German for “six””.
  • show him Fifty Shades Of Grey on the Kindle. It’s about his reading level, but he’d give up and go back to Oxford Reading Tree way before getting to anything dodgy.
  • show him “that cupboard” in Mummy and Daddy’s bedroom, but without actually opening the door. It’s not as though we ever do, either.
  • explain what porn is, in a mature manner, using words he’d understand, but giving no more information than necessary and making no value judgements (i.e. have a total personality transformation)
  • mutter something about objectification and how most of it’s rubbish and looks like bits of meat throbbing about, and then there are those Anna Span ones where all the men have blow jobs though their underpants, but anyhow, Mummy’s not an expert and she presumes Daddy isn’t either, and hey, are you ready for pudding yet?
  • cry

This is of course idle speculation, yet there is a point when questions like this might be posed for real. I don’t know what to do (but I suspect “cry” may well be the most likely option).

Anyhow, there are more immediate things to worry about. For the time being he’s forgotten, but it crosses my mind that I still haven’t told my son what a prawn is.

Reblogged from glosswatch.com

Posted in Pornography, Talking to your kids about sex | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The real difference between girls and boys

This morning my five-year-old announced that he would be learning “how to tell the difference between girls and boys”. Like any self-respecting liberal parent, I found myself torn between thinking “cool – he’s ready for a frank, open discussion” and “hmm, what crappy stereotypes will they be throwing his way today?” Just to get a feel for what would be happening, I asked him what they’d looked at already and was told “girl animals and boy animals – who have more feathers, like at the park”. I would have corrected him and explained that there are male and female animals who aren’t peacocks and peahens, but we were running late for school, so I let it pass. Besides, peacocks and peahens might provide a good metaphor for gender stereotyping, if and when I can be arsed to think about it more.

Upon picking him up from after-school club, I asked him what he’d learned.

It was boring. We didn’t do boys and girls. We just did babies.

So, I asked him, what’s the difference between a boy baby and a girl baby?

Girl babies have hair. Boy babies have bald heads.

Obviously this surprised me somewhat, what with it being total nonsense. So I probed further, wishing to know how he found this out. Who told him this?

No one. I just knew already.

He was clearly very proud of this, so I didn’t push it further. Still, I was puzzled. Surely I’d taught him a little bit more than this?

Sure, he’s made category errors before. For instance, when he was in Reception, a female classmate told him that his writing was “like a scribble”. This hurt him deeply, something demonstrated not least by the fact that for months afterwards, if anyone he liked was identified as a girl, he’d query it thus: “but she didn’t say I scribble!” Even so, it’s not as though he didn’t have some evidence that the difference wasn’t all down to handwriting critiques. Only two days previously he’d been asking me, out of the blue, “Mummy, what’s the difference between a willy and a vagina?” (unfortunately, he’d pronounced it “welly” and, seeing as we were in the process of getting ready to go out to a farm park and were indeed handling wellies, I almost told him that Peppa Pig and George didn’t need to wear vaginas to jump in muddy puddles. But then I realised what he’d asked and came up with the infinitely more crap response “oh, a willy sticks out whereas a vagina is a hole”. Yeah, I know).

So essentially, my son thinks male and female differences are defined not by genitals, but by whether or not a baby has hair. All in all, it’s not that bad. It’s better than Simon Baron-Cohen’s male brain / female brain nonsense. If we’re going to have an arbitrary gender binary, why not base it on whether or not your newborn bonce has hair? We could even colour-code it – pink stuff for the baldies, blue stuff for the hairies. The hairies would be obliged to like cars and war and all that kind of bollocks, whereas the baldies would have a real thing for dollies and unpaid domestic labour. I can totally see this working.

Anyhow, that’s my plan. A new understanding of sex difference, wholly based on a baby’s barnet. Although, just as he was about to go to sleep, my son did, dreamily, decide to toss in another couple of gems:

If you have a willy, you’re not allowed to draw it.

Really?

And if you have a vagina, you can’t point it at things.

Well, yes. I am convinced that this could become a well-known proverb, once we work out what it actually means. In the meantime, that’s something for us all, hairy or bald, to mull over.

Posted in Anatomy, Female, Male, Sex Education, Talking to your kids about sex | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Huggies and potty training: Same old shit

This summer I am about to embark on another potty training odyssey! Way-hey! The summer’s great for potty training, isn’t it? That’s what everyone says, like it’s one great pastoral idyll where children can run about naked all day long, with not a shitty Thomas the Tank Engine pant in sight. As you may have guessed, that’s not quite how I found it last time around. Still, perhaps I can look upon this summer as a chance to improve on things. In the spirit of this, I have been scouring the Huggies website for some top tips.

I have used Huggies Pull-Ups in the past, whenever they’ve been on special offer and therefore marginally cheaper than the supermarket’s own brand. I always let my son choose which pack we bought and he always chose the pink one with the Disney Princess pants. When I asked him why, he pointed out that the girl on the packaging was wearing fairy wings. I think he assumed if he got enough wees on target, he’d get fairy wings, too (and indeed he did). Some might call that bribery; I call it aspirational pissing. Of course, I kind of knew that we were transgressing the gender boundaries by purchasing the “girl” pants – for a boy! But I figured that what went into them was the same old shit.

An inspection of the Huggies website suggests that perhaps I was wrong. It would appear that in fact, potty training is meant to be a highly gendered activity. Maybe I should take this on board the second time around? Just in case, I have compiled my New Potty Training Rules (thanks, Huggies!):

1.Potty training is most definitely women’s work

My partner and I always took the line that we were in this piss- and shit-streaked mess together. Apparently not. The Huggies website always assumes it is the Mummy who is reading (“As a mum, you probably …”) and that any top tips for Daddy will be passed on second-hand (“Get Dad involved…”). As with so many crappy domestic tasks, it is assumed that the woman does the bulk of the work and the man gets roped in to “help out”. Alas, that’s just not how we roll. And in fact, this time the plan is to get really stuck in during the school holidays, while Youngest spends more time at home before my partner starts work as a primary teacher. My holiday allowance wouldn’t cover this and besides, if the truth be known, I’m glad not to spend what meagre holiday I have in Shit Scrape Central. So this is one rule we can’t follow. I’m, like, really, really sad :(

2. Despite Mummy being responsible for potty training, Daddy is accountable for modelling good pissing / shitting practice for boys

Get Dad involved and be a role model for your boy [sic]. Dad will have to lose any inhibitions and take your son to the toilet for a few demonstrations. Little boys love to be just like Dad and it’s a sure fire way to help encourage the toilet training process. A big brother can also be a great help.

This, I hasten to add, comes straight after the point that tells you to “start toilet training with your son sitting down to both wee and poo”. Not being arrogant, but I am way better at sit-down pissing than Daddy is. Surely I’m the role model here? Plus, I’ve never seen an adult man actually having a shit (nor do I ever wish to). I do know, at least, that a woman doing so is not that disimilar to a toddler, male or female. So how can I be sure that this adds any value at all? I do want my sons to look up to their father, but not as Master of the Pooniverse. Perhaps I will give this one a miss, too.

3. Bear in mind that, being a woman, you know sod all about willies

You therefore need to be told things like “pointing the willy down can help prevent a mess”. I’m sorry. I don’t need this one. At no point have I ever thought that a willy not pointing downwards, or one hanging over the wrong side of the potty, could ever be a good idea. And I don’t have a willy. Moreover, like most women who find themselves pregnant, I have had my share of grown-up willy encounters. Indeed, too much willy is why I now find myself in this sorry mess.

4. Remember, only girls play at sending dollies to the loo

Little girls love playing mum. You can use this to your advantage and have a special dolly that is going through the toilet training process at the same time as your little girl. Allow her to sit the doll on the potty or toilet and take some control of her situation this way.

Unfortunately this advice comes too late for me. I only have boys but they have a dolls’ house, complete with a little wooden toilet, and this has been visited not only by a Tombliboo Ooo finger puppet, but lately by a LEGO storm trooper. So that’s totally upset the gender stereotyping applecart. Have I ended up having sons who are “playing mum”? God, I hope not. Mind you, I’m dead good at going to the bog, me.

Hmm. It looks like I’m not cut out for Huggies potty training camp after all. I’ll just have to struggle on through like last time. But to be honest, I’m not that bothered. The fact is, I don’t see potty training as some great opportunity for gender stereotype indoctrination. It’s just teaching someone not to piss and shit all over the place.

A Star Wars Storm Trooper demonstrates good toilet usage:

Post originally appeared on glosswatch.com. But not so long ago that we’re any further on with the training…

Posted in Gender Diversity, Male, Role Modelling Positive Relationships and avoiding negative ones | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Food Diary

This post was written by @SarahMo3W and first appeared on her blog Mum of Three World

It’s not long since I shared with you the story of how my then-5 year old younger son stopped eating because he was worried about his weight (see Body image eaarlier this month). Now the issue has raised its ugly, skinny little head again.

It started on Friday when my son came home buzzing about a food diary he had to fill in for homework. He had to write down everything he ate and drank for a week and he was very excited about it.

‘And I’m starting it tomorrow!’ he shouted, while jumping up and down.

To put this into context, this isn’t compulsory homework. It is one of a number of options. Between now and the Easter holiday he has to complete five out of a possible 15 homework exercises on the subjects of healthy lifestyles and Easter. These include art and craft activities, simple sums, internet research and getting out in the fresh air with your family. Something for everyone.

But my son is only interested in that damn food diary.

My son is without a doubt the heaviest child in his class. He is equal tallest and he is the biggest built. (I am pleased to say there are no fat kids in his class.) A lot of them are tiny, skinny little dots who are smaller than his 5 year old sister.

My son is, and always has been, very muscular. He is actually very thin and his ribs show clearly, although you would never guess this to look at him. He has a good appetite, but not a huge appetite. He eats a healthy balanced diet. He isn’t greedy and he doesn’t eat crap. The only thing he ever eats between meals is fruit. There are times when I look at him and his sister and I wonder if they are too thin.

And then he started the food diary.

Every day my son has a huge breakfast. For at least the last year, probably the last two, he has started the day with a big bowl of Cheerios and three, yes THREE, Rice Krispie bars. He has skimmed milk on his cereals and drinks a cup of it too.

On Saturday he played football for two hours in the morning, as he always does. In the afternoon he went for a two mile walk/ run in the hills.

And in addition to the massive breakfast, the apple juice, raisins and spaghetti bolognaise, he had a bottle of Lucozade, a bottle of Tango and a chocolate cake. BETWEEN MEALS. My kids aren’t saints, and nor am I. They eat biscuits and chocolate every day. But only after their meals. When they’ve finished them.

The diary was looking dreadful. It was making me laugh. I felt compelled to write ‘played football and went for a walk in the hills’ to justify it. I shouldn’t have needed to. It’s a homework exercise and no-one is judging him. His teacher only has to look at him to see he is fit and healthy.

On Sunday he played rugby for two hours. He had another bottle of Lucozade and some lemonade. What is going on here?! My son only has lemonade on birthdays and Christmas! I wrote ‘played rugby’ on Sunday’s entry to make it all OK.

Later in the day, at ‘fruit time’ (they always eat fruit mid to late afternoon), he asked for an apple, a banana, some olives and a box of raisins. I said he wasn’t allowed it. He could only have two of them. I explained he could get a bad tummy if he ate all that fruit in one go. So he grudgingly just ate an apple and some raisins.

After tea he asked if he could have three rows of chocolate (that’s 30g). Stupid, stupid mummy. I told him it was 30g. So he asked for ONE row. That’s just 10g.

I tried telling him it was OK to have more. He is a young, fit, active, GROWING boy and he needs all the food he is eating. But he won’t accept that.

This morning he insisted on having only two Rice Krispie bars with his breakfast and he asked if he could take a box of raisins to school to eat at break time.

Then he said ‘Look! I’m nice and thin!’ And then my daughter said ‘I’m thin too!’

It’s only day 3. But it’s time to abandon the food diary before they do themselves some serious psychological damage.

Posted in Body Image and Self Esteem, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

So pink is for girls and blue is for boys… right?

This post was originally posted on Butwhymummywhy?‘s blog.

Recently I was reading a great blog post over at Lulastic check her out if you haven’t come across her before.
The subject was gender and brought up an issue that has played on my mind a lot while bringing up my 4 year old daughter Noo.

My mum raised me with the determination that there shouldn’t be a divide in toys or colours depending on gender, for example she made sure I had both a play kitchen and a garage. Further to that I was never allowed a Barbie as she felt it promoted a warped body image in girls and well basically didn’t like what they promoted – unrealistically super skinny, big boobed girls only concerned with pretty clothes and make-up. She would rather I had more ambitious role models! As a young adult I reflected on these decisions made by my mum and I was really proud of them as they had helped shaped the person I was becoming. I knew that I would want to do the same if ever I had a daughter of my own.

Fast forward to now and we have a very different situation to the one I had hoped for.
Noo loves pink, sparkles, princesses, dresses and well Barbies (*ahem*).

20120427-192313.jpg
Here she is on her 3rd birthday

How on earth did that happen?

Here’s my thoughts on it. At the age of 13 months Noo started at nursery full time. I was training to be a social worker and needed to do a full time placement for 6 months. Although I missed her I was happy that I was setting a good example to my daughter by having an ambition and career. I shall come back to the working mum/stay at home mum issue another time!
However, it was during this time when the ‘pink is for girls an blue is for boys’ began. No matter how many times I questioned her on this or corrected her she would not budge. She’d even laugh at me for being ‘a silly mummy’. When she was 2 she refused to wear trousers as they were for boys, apparently. Now I am always in jeans and rarely wear skirts or dresses, but this was not enough to convince her that girls could wear trousers.

This attitude has continued, she is now 4 and a half and I can count on one hand the number of times she has worn trousers over the past couple of years. She even used to think we were punishing her if we made her wear them. I have even tried bright pink skinny jeans, but no, nothing. Baffling.

She loves Barbies. Again this has started through nursery and friends houses. I fought giving in to it for a while but in the end I let her have one (or more..). It raised a lot of questions in me though, if I was to deny these things to her wouldn’t it just make her resentful of me, isn’t it just a phase or even part of the person that she is? Some girls just love pink, it doesn’t mean she won’t follow her dreams, be ‘successful’ or achieve great things.

I’m gutted that she has conformed to a gender stereotype but I’m not going to manipulate her to change what she likes. I know that inspite of the ongoing pink obsession she is strong and independent and confident. This are characteristics that make her hard work sometimes but I am also fiercely proud of them and hope to continue to nurture them. Hopefully with a bit of humility thrown in there aswell though!!

So all in all things haven’t quite gone the way I expected them to. I am very interested to see how her little sister will turn out.. oh and of course she got a toy garage for her 1st birthday! ;-)

Any thoughts?

Posted in Gender Diversity, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

When does the right to privacy start?

This is a guest post from @lumpinthethroat, please comment below.

There are many things that as a first time parent I’ve really appreciated about the on-line parenting community. When I was having trouble breast feeding, online helped me. Online helped me to connect with other like-minded parents, who were massively supportive. Online helped me speak to other mothers around the world who had similar worries. At the point when I was staring out on my street, seeing no other lights, feeling utterly alone, and my child is trying to express a need I could not understand, online helped me know, there are lights on in other flat’s – there are other parents spending the witching hours rocking back and forth and singing round-and-round the garden with an increasingly desperate tone. In a world when you are nursing a child at 3am, not sure if they are seriously ill or just plain old kid ill, online helped relieve worries. We live in a world where we don’t automatically stay in the place where we are brought up, surrounded by granny’s grandfather’s, aunts, uncles and cousins. I doubt the fact that that is new, but perhaps that is for another post. Online has replaced some of those gaps for me – and I am very grateful.

;

However I do wonder where it ends? I started on Facebook. Instead of a status I would report conversations I had with my daughter, most of them hilarious, some of them challenging. I got a good response. People kept on telling me how much they loved them, how funny they were. So I wrote more. I stopped blogging about poetry (another of my obsessions) and instead started a Tumblr, mainly about my daughter with occasional literary feeds. I have not felt so comfortable with this recently. I think the parenting blogging community is a wonderful source of support, especially if you are a parent who does not necessarily fit with the main-stream style of parenting, or if you just want to find an opinion that isn’t mainly focused on meeting government targets.

;

I’m worried about when my “funny” reporting of my daughter’s conversations with me becomes an invasion on her privacy? I hope that some of the things I’ve written, when she is older, we can laugh at together? Hopefully she will understand that I have known her in a time she has no memory of, when she was developing, that I have loved her unconditionally throughout it all. It will help her see that is ok for her to get things wrong or misunderstand, because she has done it before, and it has not, and never will stop me loving who she is. I am a place where it is ok for her to make a mistake. What is a mother if not that?

;

When though, is the benefit outweighed by the fact her friends Mums and Dad’s read it that blog? When she first types her name into Google? Worse still, will she be applying for a job and her possible employers come across that post I wrote about the first time she discovered her vagina?

;

I normally blog mostly on political sites, and my views are up for debate and discussion. However my daughter is a different matter. Normally when I blog on politics I already have a clear point in view. When it comes to my daughter’s privacy, well, I’m still learning, I’m pretty sure I will make a mistake on this one. In no way do I want to over step a boundary which I has not yet reached, but may resent me for overstepping. The internet is new in terms of human civilisation. How do we adapt to that as parents? How do find and create the supportive groups we need, without compromising our children’s needs to be private individuals in their own rights? I’d really like to hear your views. In fact, I would not like to hear them, I really need to hear them. Personally I really want to have this discussion – I’d love it if you could join me

Posted in Communication, Consent, Honesty, Respect, Sex Education, Sex Positive Values, Talking to your kids about sex, Trust | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Ranting about sex and children

This post is from @tattooed_mummy  and originally appeared on her blog Random Rantings of a Tattooed Mummy
This morning a news story made me have a quick twitter rant. (just look at the poster ad!)
The rant was only a few tweets long.
Rant mode engaged 
Free contraception for 13 year old girls to prevent teen pregnancy! Really? Not free condoms? Not any sort if support? 
Because of course, GIRLS getting pregnant is obviously GIRLS fault. No boys involved. No young men. And if 13 year olds don’t get pregnant.. 
We can then ignore the fact that children are having sex. Having sex might be fun, but it’s not a game. Pregnancy is not the only risk 
But hey, we can vaccinate GIRLS against hpv, we can give GIRLS drugs so they don’t get pregnant…GIRLS are not sex toys 
 End rant (thanks radio 4) 
And then the more I read in replies and saw on twitter the more rage I felt. And while 140 characters is too short to express my rage I think maybe an unlimited blog is too many. I will waffle and go off the point (see I’m doing it already) So I shall attempt to briefly explain my concerns.
I am not anti contraception for people that are going to have sex and don’t want to get pregnant.
I am keen that children are allowed to be children and that they are not growing up to see sex as something that is ‘normal’ to do at an age that is illegal and physically (in many cases) dangerous.
I do not want to see young girls controlled by boys who use sex as a way of dominating while declaring ‘love’.
I want all children, young adults and adults to have access to safe and reliable contraception and sexual health advice and treatment.
I want the world at large to stop implying that ‘getting pregnant’ is the ‘teen mum’s’ fault. That girls are the only ones that need ‘watching’ and ‘controlling’.
I want young women and young female children made aware that hormonal contraception carries a risk and won’t protect against many of the other dangers of sex.
I want children to learn that sex is ace, but that it is a responsibility as well as fun and that waiting for the right person (or people) is not silly – it’s nice.
I want young women and men to know that penetration is not all it’s about. And that sex and love are not the same thing.
I want roses round the door and blue birds to sing when you meet ‘the one’ and I’d like hearts to appear in your eyes when you are looking at the one you love.


Posted in Sex Education, Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment