Fathers Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate then sitting down with your dad to chat about healthy sexuality, periods, and creating a more sex-positive world? Ok, we know the “talk” probably isn’t at the top of your list when it comes to fun Father’s Day activities (though honestly I would rather endure the most awkward conversation then tag along for 18 rounds of golf again 😒), but we have to try. After all, we are a sexual health company founded by a taboo-bustin' daughter dad duo, and lately, cultural narratives about how dads talk to their daughters about sex have been shifting.
Recently, actor William H. Macy made news for his cool-dad revelation that it’s, like, totally okay for his daughters to be sexual beings. The actor told US Weekly: “You know, I started doing all the cliches, ‘I’m gonna threaten the guys, I’m gonna dig a moat around our house,’” he said. “And then I thought, ‘OK, what do you really want for your daughters?’ And I realized: I want them to be happy and lusty and safe. I want them to have a lot of sex in their lifetime! Good, healthy wonderful sex with no guilt. That’s what I really want.”
It’s really refreshing to hear a dad be so sex-positive, and it got us thinking about how dads and daughters communicate about sex, bodies, and relationships. When I was growing up, sex and periods were totally off-limit topics with my dad. Research says I'm not alone, in a study of 600 young teens, nearly one third said they had never talked to their parents about sex.
Why is this? Well, there is the whole weird patriarchal tradition of dads protecting their daughter’s “purity” until she has been handed off to her husband. But it’s 2018, women have equal career opportunities, plentiful birth-control options, and 6 seasons of Sex and the City to binge-watch at the click of a mouse (Happy 20th anniversary, BTW!).
It’s time for a more liberal, sex-positive approach to “the talk”. Sex doesn’t have to be something scary and awkward to talk about if we don’t want it to be. What if, like William H Macy and other cool dad-types, we thought about sex as something that can be positive and life-enriching?
Some sex educators, such as Al Vernacchio, advocate for a change in the language we use to talk about sex. Instead of using baseball as a metaphor, where women’s bodies are passive fields to be played on, what if we talked about sex like ordering pizza? Something that has infinite options, all of which are okay to try, as long as everyone is happy and in agreement with what is on the table.
Why is it important that kids get sex education from their parents? Well, because unfortunately, they might not be getting it anywhere else. Only 24 states and the District of Columbia mandate sex education and only 13 of those require that sex-ed be medically accurate. Surveys show that parents have the most influence over teenagers decisions regarding sex, even though a lot of parents, especially dads, find this fact surprising, often underestimating their own influence.
According to this New York Times article, research also shows that teens who have talked about sex with their parents, no matter how awkward the convo, are more likely to practice safe sex. And good communication is contagious! Parents who have open and ongoing discussions about relationships, sexuality, and consent are more likely to have children that partake in healthy communication with their partner.
So it’s time to start having the talk openly and often. After all, who doesn’t want a life where they feel happy, lusty and safe? 🙂😏🙌