“#MeToo and the Kavanaugh allegations have made us all aware of sexual pressuring, consent, and how things can go wrong” -licensed marriage and family therapist Jill Whitney
“Hey, son. Let’s talk.” For many students, “the talk” is a pivotal point in their lives: it is the moment when a parent recognizes that his or her child must be given sexual education in order to mature into a young adult.
Like most rites of passage, talking about sex with parents is uncomfortable at best and horrifying at worst.
“They brought it up after we watched a movie,” junior Adam Alvarez said. “It was kind of awkward at first, but it was pretty open after. Honestly, it was not even embarrassing.”
But instead of talking about the birds and the bees, like the mechanics of sex or importance of using protection, parents today must address a whole new list of concerns stemming from the #MeToo movement.
This discussion between parent and child has been characterized as a vital, yet stereotypical step in the teenage years. Some parents deliver the message of the birds and the bees to their child in the latter’s early years to discuss anatomy and the importance of respecting their bodies. However, in light of sexual assault cases in the news, parents may deem it necessary to also discuss STDs, teen pregnancy, rape and dating.
“Fewer than 2 percent of U.S. adolescents have sex by age 12, but one-third of teens have sex by age 16, nearly half of teens by age 17, and more than 70 percent by age 19, so the early- to mid-teen years are generally a good time to go into some more specifics about healthy sexual choices,” Erin Dower from Family Education, a site for parenting advice, said.
Despite its recent surge in popular media, the #MeToo movement actually dates back to 2006 and is/was intended to ignite a national conversation regarding sexual violence within minority communities and society at large.
In 2017, the movement got the attention of millions of people around the world. Today, the phrase has been used across Twitter more than 19 million times and has sparked a long overdue examination of the ways which we handle consent, bodily autonomy and the gendered dynamics of sex.
“#MeToo and the Kavanaugh allegations have made us all aware of sexual pressuring, consent, and how things can go wrong,” licensed marriage and family therapist and author of the blog Keep The Talk Going Jill Whitney said.
With the uproar of social media and viral trends, the #MeToo movement has reached home discussions for millions of parents, which is why it’s important for the sex talk to be more than it once was. More than just have a vague conversation the birds and the bees, parents should engage in conversation with their kids about the real reality of sex, walking them through their questions about biology and other issues.
“I’m sure now it’s different, because of all the media and the different movement,” junior Julius Sylvester said. “It’s going to be different how I see the discussion happen with my little sister.”
Of course, different parents will approach “the talk” in different ways. Some will frame things in terms of gender. Others will focus on the importance of pleasure. There are those who will take a more anatomical approach, while others will focus on the social aspects of sex. There is no one-way to have “the talk.” But for parents that may want to brief their children about modern-day awarenesses for their own safety, opening the discussion to the topics of the #MeToo movement would be the first step into the right direction.