Sexting 101 for Mommies
Each of my boys had one friend over for a sleepover the other night for a total of 4 boys between the ages of 6 and 12. They had been outside all day and in the evening, we were settling their excited, silly energy down to watch “The Sandlot. Somehow the conversation turned to kissing scenes in movies, and one of the boys noted that most movies have at least one kissing scene. They all squirmed and giggled, saying “Ewww.
My husband piped in that he believed “The Sandlot has the best kissing scene EVER. I didn’t recall it, so he showed it to me on youtube as the boys were getting ready to watch their movie. I laughed and agreed with my husband that it was pretty good. One of the older boys, about 10-yrs-old, asked me, “Do you LIKE the kissing scenes? with a look of almost horror. I laughed and confirmed for him that I do, actually, really like the kissing scenes. Both of my sons agreed heartily that in fact, yes, their mom is a weirdo that likes kissing scenes. Then my 6-yr-old leans over conspiratorially to the 10-yr-old friend, and states “My mom likes private parts. Wow! Where did that come from?
Here is my best guess:
At my advanced age, I have learned to derive much gratification from what is now termed “sexting. I just started texting in the last few years, and after my husband and I opened our marriage and started having other relationships, I also learned the art of sending sexy photos of myself. I take pleasure in both giving and receiving texts and photos from those I am dating. I enjoy the time it takes to make a new idea look good on a camera phone and the reactions I get to the pictures I send.
My husband and I sometimes tease each other about how much texting we do with other folks and not with one another. So every once in a while, because the underlying feelings of being “left out are valid, we send each other some sexy texts. One night, while he was out on a date with one of his lovers, I was at home and started playing with my phone camera, trying out different poses, lighting variations in the room and photo settings on the phone including sepia and black and white tones.
The next day, I was being coy with my husband while we were in the car and was going through my new photos to decide which ones to send to him. I wanted to make him think that I was sending them to someone else, while raising a slight hope that I *might* be sending some his way. However, I completely forgot we were in the car with our children, until, from the back seat, I hear the exclamation: “MOM!! Why do you have pictures of private parts on your phone?!?! As usual, my super observant 6-year-old has seen everything.
How does one answer that question? First in surprise, I said, “Huh? What are you talking about? while I whisked my phone away from his prying eyes. He answered: “You have pictures of boobies on your phone! Quickly, I regrouped, thought about how to address the truth in what he was seeing without it being too much information for him to handle.
I said to him, “Well, pumpkin, I love the human body. I think bodies are beautiful and I don’t think its anything that needs to be hidden or seen as a bad thing. Even the private parts. And your dad thinks so too, so I was sending him a picture I thought was beautiful. Does that make sense?
He said that he thought it did, but he wasn’t sure if he agreed with me. I asked him if he ever thought about the fact that we all walk around naked in the house. I wondered if he thought that was wrong or bad. He stated that he did not think it was bad, and we discussed how the body is natural, and that we have nothing to be embarrassed about when we are naked around each other. We did make a distinction about when we have visitors. Everyone agreed that other folks might not have the same ideas as we do, so we have to be cautious when friends are over and keep our clothes on.
My objective in this conversation and any conversation with my children about sex, sexuality and the human body is to make it all feel safe and normal. Our culture spends so much time telling little children that sex is bad, scary or nasty, while at the same time selling every product on TV or the internet with intense sexual energy. Hot, barely clad models are everywhere, and even though my children get very little screen time, they still are exposed to way more sexual content in the media than they are at home. I want my kids to grow up learning that they can stay attuned to their bodies, their bodily functions and feel normal when they have sexual desire. I want them to learn that in all relationships they can remain open, honest and genuine about their needs and at the same time be respectful of the needs and desires of the other person. I hope that this is what I am teaching them by answering their questions honestly when they notice my own sexuality.
So, when my child made his seemingly outrageous statement to his 10-yr-old friend, that I “like private parts, it seemed necessary to explain what that meant to his friend. I said the same thing I did when my 6-yr-old brought it up in the car. I simply stated, “Yes I do. I think the body is beautiful, all of it, even the private parts. The movie started then, and all the boys hurried so as not to miss any scenes. Then I proceeded to call his mother and tell her what had happened, my guess about where my 6-yr-old got the idea, and how I had handled the statement with her child. She thanked me for the heads up, laughed with me and we had a brief discussion about our own talks with our kids about sexuality.
The extensive peals of laughter and uninhibited giggles during the kissing scene later in the movie were great to hear and my husband and I looked at each other knowingly, smiling at the truth that the boys actually DO like the kissing scenes too. They always did and will more and more as they get older. One day, they might admit it to themselves and even someone else.