I’m a very literal person, which means that, for the most part, I like to spell things out, and have them spelled out to me. Certainly that’s been my approach when discussing boys and sex with my daughter.
I haven’t danced around the fact that boys want sex. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s their nature. Society used to put constraints on that desire, but it doesn’t anymore. The girl is on her own when it comes to saying “no.” I’ve spelled out to my daughter the tactics that boys will use (guilt, peer pressure, words of love, etc.), and explained that, no matter, the tactic, her answer, for her own physical and emotional well-being, has to be “no.” Or, if necessary, “NO!!!” She has to respect herself, and any boy who won’t abide by that self-respect isn’t worthy of her.
I’ve been thinking about the unequivocal message I’ve been spelling out for my daughter because of the school dance she went to this weekend. It turns out that “freak” dancing has become normative at these dances. In the car on the way over, I explained very carefully to my daughter and her friend what “freak” dancing is: a boy you don’t know, or barely know, masturbates himself against your rear.
Both girls shrieked, “Oh, my God! That’s gross.” They’re right, too. The reality of freak dancing is gross. You can dress it up with cool names like “freak,” and say that “everybody is doing it,” and “there’s nothing wrong with it,” but it’s a disgusting practice that no girl should ever countenance.
My daughter had a great time at the dance. She danced only with her friends, the way girls do, with all of them standing in a circle. She didn’t kiss anyone on the dance floor and neither did her friends. In an atmosphere rife with possibilities for mischief, they had a wholesome, fun time. (And yes, I have only her word for it, but my instinct on this one is to trust her.) I’d like to think that, for my daughter at least, part of that wholesome fun came about because I don’t pull my punches with her, but send her out armed with concrete information.
(I do the same with my son, of course, but he’s younger and a boy, so the messages are slightly different.)
To wrap up this post, a Billy Joel song that embodies the persuasive powers of a young man looking for sex:
You can also see it here.