Originally published on Becoming Supermommy, and later shared to HuffPost Parents, Lea Grover's essay "Sex Positive Parenting, or We Don't Touch Our Vulvas At The Table" is a dose of unadulterated logic that actually frustrates me when I'm reminded how rare a piece on good sex-positive parenting like this is.
It's so plain and simple. When you read through her techniques you find yourself wondering, "why can't it be like this for everyone?"
It happened yet again. As I was sitting at the table for dinner with my children, I noticed my daughter's hand fishing around under her skirt.
"We don't play with our vulvas at the table. Go wash your hands and finish your food," I scolded. She nodded, ran off to wash her hands, and resumed picking at her dinner instead.
Small children, they touch themselves. A lot. It's fascinating to them. And when you're a small child, you have no sense of shame or disgust or fear of your body. Your body is what it is. It does what it does. And everything that it does is kind of amazing, because you're not old enough for lower back pain. It's not sexual, it's just... fact.
Though Grover acknowledges that confusion and hesitancy over sex-positive parenting occurs, she's quick to assure herself that such a method will lead to healthier decisions by her child down the road.
As parents, we lie all the time. About the Easter Bunny or Santa or the Tooth Fairy, about how long 10 minutes is, about whether or not we remembered they wanted to have grilled cheese for dinner again... We lie a lot. But one thing I never lie about is sex.
I don't want them to grow up ashamed of their bodies or confused about what they do. I don't tell them about cabbage patches or storks; I make an effort, always, to be honest about human reproduction. Every aspect of it.
Her no nonsense approach is enviable. (Although I have no children, I can't be sure I'd have the resolve to approach sex this unabashedly myself even seeing how easy it is here.) And lest you think that her sex-positive approach is only about the great parts of sex, Grover acknowledges that many hard topics are down the road when her child becomes older.
And someday the conversation is going to be a lot uglier. Someday, we'll have to actually talk about rape, and explicit and enthusiastic consent, and contraception. Someday we'll have to talk about healthy masturbation and pornography and realistic expectations of sex and sex partners and body image and a lack of shame for their bodies. And those conversations are not going to be as brief or straightforward.
But I'm ready. Whenever that day comes, I'm prepared. Because the groundwork is there.
The whole thing is definitely worth a read and will likely make you wish there were more Grovers in the world.