Sex Joke : Not A Sex Joke
I wrote a while back about sexual euphemisms, double entendre and starting the conversations with your kids about sex. I use the already prevalent suggestive commercials, sit com punch lines, and children’s movie humor-inserted-for-adults as opportunities to talk to my own children. These occurrences happen so often that it seems like conversations that have a double meaning are everywhere. Choosing just one can be a great way to start a rousing talk.
You really don’t have to look long or hard (yeah, I know I said it, but let’s move on…) to find these opportunities; identifying these situations gives you an easy “in” to starting a conversation with your child. Once you’ve started talking about what’s out there, you’ll notice how easy it is to talk about it. And once you’ve done so, you’ll notice how adept children are at identifying phrases that have two meanings.
I’ll give you a couple of examples. I just moved into a new home and there were a lot of little improvements to make it more of a “home” for me and my daughters. A guy I know is a contractor. We are good friends and sort of tease and flirt mildly with each other. Well, one day during the move in process, I picked up the girls from school. Marsha climbed into the car and was very chatty. She didn’t know that I was in the middle of a text conversation nor see the first part of our conversation about paint colors and all the work there was to do. She did hear me dictate to Siri,”Oh, I’ll put you to work”. She paused her monologue long enough to ask, “First, I’m wondering if that’s a sex joke…”. That was the start of a new catch phrase/game in our home called “Sex Joke : Not A Sex Joke”.
Cindy, who is 8 and not to be outdone, identifies these on her own as well. The other day, my boyfriend brought sushi to me. When I saw which kind it was I exclaimed, “Oh honey! Thanks for bringing me the Spicy Tuna Sushi.” He replied, “I know my baby likes it spicy.” Cindy called out — from the other room, “NOT A Sex Joke.”
All of this brings me to this point: To learn we build knowledge upon knowledge. We start with basic building blocks and then add more complex concepts as we go. Before a child can learn multiplication, a child needs to understand first counting, then adding and subtracting, etc. The concepts around sex and sexuality are no different really. My girls know the proper names of their genitalia and from there we have talked about euphemisms and double entendre; as I said before – it’s everywhere. It is these conversations that kids build further understanding of the world in which they live.
Consider what kind of information kids have in their environment if parents do not engage them with this topic. Influences from television (I’m sorry, I don’t want my daughters to learn about dating from “The Bachelor”), Sporting events (ditto seeing the sexualized and objectified images of cheerleaders on the sideline or the Viagra commercials), restaurants – or should I say Breastaurants (like Hooters). Please don’t mistake me; I’m fine with these things in our environment to some extent AS LONG AS parents are talking to their kids and giving them the all important CONTEXT. What we DON’T say to our children directly is said for us in advertisements, etc.
The little brains of children are 95% of the adult size by the age of 5 or 6. The “bumps and grooves” continue to develop throughout childhood as the brain cells grow extra connections. To quote a PBS show “Frontline”:
Developmental Psychologist Jean Piaget was known for studying the ways children’s minds processed knowledge. According to him, “accessing prior knowledge is how children make sense of the world. They attempt to take new information and fit it into existing knowledge in order to create a schema, or mental map that fits into a specific category.” This is further support in my mind for thinking long term about talking early and often about these topics with our kids.
I’m reminded of a quote by Oscar Wilde:
“Everything in the world is about sex except sex. Sex is about power.”
Help your kids embrace the power of knowledge. Help them by talking to them regularly about euphemisms and why certain jokes are funny. Giving your children accurate, yet basic information gives them a solid foundation upon which to build their knowledge and form their own opinions about sex & sexuality.