With this new series, my intention is to help foster and nurture an open and profound bond between father and daughter, one that transcends the awkwardness of puberty. (I wrote about it in more detail here.)
And in that spirit, I’ve agreed that once a week I will answer – honestly – any question my husband puts to me.
So, question six, here’s what hubby has come up with for me this week…
Hubby: One of the fellas at work was telling me about a situation with his teenage daughter… His wife was driving her and some friends to a night out, and she overheard the girls talking about sex. It was something along the lines of what was expected of them, because of porn, and they all agreed that it’s just what they have to do to please their men. I’m not happy about this. How do we handle this?
Me: Okay, right off the bat – I’m out of my depth here. I almost wanted to veto this question because I am not in a position to give you a definitive answer and I’m not really qualified to provide advice, either professionally or in terms of experience. I can’t relate to this in the same way as with other things you’ve asked me, because essentially, it’s a ‘new’ problem facing the next generation. I attribute it to evolving technology, and it’s one of the many uncharted territories we’re going to have to navigate blind.
However, I absolutely think it is something which merits discussion; between us as our daughter’s parents – but also as a society, to tackle on behalf of our children.
Secondly, this is horrifying. I can imagine some of the things you’re referring to. But honestly, the precise nature of the conversation your colleague’s wife was privy to is irrelevant – it’s the principle that matters. Any sexual contact that’s unwanted is wrong and should never take place. The very idea of any young woman feeling railroaded into such activity is abhorrent.
To be frank, I find it quite frightening that young men can behave in this depraved manner, apparently clear of conscience. Of course there will be instances where the victim may be male (and the perpetrator female even), but given its nature I’m not being sexist, I’m being realistic.
There was recently a BBC documentary which appeared to support the idea that it’s not only teenage boys who have a warped sense of what constitutes consensual sex; the girls’ views were also skewed – according to the law. That’s incredibly worrying.
Ultimately it’s an imperative that we teach out daughter to respect herself; arm her with the tools to feel empowered by saying no, as opposed to being made to feel ‘a prude’/‘uptight’/’frigid’; to educate her about what is – and is not – acceptable behaviour. But how do we do this? It’s equally foreign and terrifying for me.
I would add, though, that the onus is on us to educate not only our girls, but our boys too. To keep the channels of communication open and try to foster compassion and an understanding in both genders about what is healthy and what is propaganda, pedalled for profit.
In fact, I would love to hear from others on this one. Anybody who is dealing with this now, or has strong ideas about how they will handle it in the future, please share below.
With the very delicate and sensitive topic of how to teach our children to respect sexual boundaries, I feel our strength is in numbers.
Like this? You can check out more of my hubby’s ponderings (and my attempts to answer them) here.