“This means anyone’s son could be accused of rape at any time!” or “How would you feel if you were judged by what you did at 17?”
I’m a sexual-assault survivor and the mother of a teenaged son. My heart hurts every time I see these posts (in reference to Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation) going around Facebook and Twitter.
Whether these are posted by well-meaning mothers or by Russian bots, I’m not sure. What I do know is that such posts are posted from a place of fear. And they attempt to spread more fear.
Let’s clear out the fear.
Let’s live in a world of enjoyable sex between enthusiastic, consenting partners.
What does that look like? Does it mean we need to teach our kids to be completely abstinent, or constantly interrupt their “sexy times” to ask consent?
FWIW, here’s what I tell my teenaged son:
1. BE INTERESTED IN THE OTHER PERSON’S RESPONSE TO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO / ARE DOING.
Did y’all see that Will Smith movie, “Hitch”? It’s not a perfect movie, but it has some of the best dating advice I’ve ever heard: “Go in for a kiss 90% of the way ... and hold.”
Why is this great advice? Because it signals where you’re at —“I’d like to kiss you on the lips”— and waits for a response. That response could be a lipper (kiss on the lips). It could be a cheeker. It could be a heart-wrenching handshake. But whatever the response, you are signaling your intention and leaving room for the other person to make their decision.
Later on, when things may be getting hot and heavy, stay interested in your partner’s response. Make eye contact. Do they like what you’re doing? Ask them if something feels good. Incidentally, this will only make sex better and more fun.
Tl;dr: Be interested in the person’s response.
2. THERE’S A LOT MORE TO SEX THAN PENETRATION.
Movies seem to show couples going straight from a kiss to intercourse. There’s a lot more fun that can be had. Explore, together. You don’t have to go in a straight line from lips to vaj, you don’t have to progress around certain bases, you don’t have to penetrate something with your penis to have fun. See what makes you feel good. Ask what makes them feel good. Figure it out together.
3. IF YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT SEX WITH THE OTHER PERSON, YOU SURELY AREN’T READY TO HAVE SEX WITH THEM.
In heterosexual relationships, this includes the basics of birth control. In all relationships, this includes the basics of STD protection. You know what’s more awkward than needing a couple of tries to put on a condom? Herpes. Herpes is more awkward.
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j.j. johnson, author