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.

This is such an emotive topic, but it's also essential to educate our boys and girls to safeguard them as they get older. So how do we teach our children to respect sexual boundaries in a healthy way?

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.

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An award-nominated blogger and author, Kate is an experienced breastfeeding advocate, and expert baby sleep chaser. Her writing has appeared on Mothercare, Huff Post, and BritMums.

8 Comments

  1. We’ve a daughter due to arrive next month and I’m a bit scared by what a perilous and pressurised world lies ahead of her.

    Communication has got to be the key to it, but it’s hard to know how to get ideas about sexuality across in the face of so much cultural noise. We’ll be chatting with her big brother (3 yo) about all this first.

    So any ideas would be very welcome with us too.

    • Kate Reply

      It’s a scary time to be bringing children into the world, daughters particularly. Thanks for commenting. I’m hoping to open a discussion to inspire positive, practical ideas – so please stay tuned!

  2. I feel really strongly that this is a conversation we need to be having with our sons as well as our daughters. I would also appreciate any advice.

    • Kate Reply

      Absolutely. I wish I had the answers. Keen to see how others plan to tackle this issue. x

  3. I have a newborn daughter and for me the answer to this is quite simple. Religion. I know for a lot of people living in today’s secular world, the idea of religion being a solution will be seen with a sense of ridicule but for me it’s a no brainer.
    You mention above that you find it frightening how men can behave in this depraved manner clear of conscience. Maybe that can be put down to the popular mainstream belief that you only get this one life and hence there are no consequences to your actions unless you are caught and found guilty by man-made law. My point being; if there is no guidance on what is right and what is wrong, besides that of what other humans deem is correct, then each person will come to their own conclusion. Conscience is built on morals and beliefs and religion has been the foundation for that… until the modern age.

    • Kate Reply

      An interesting point.

      Personally, I think religion throws up as many issues as solutions. And while I see how it could be helpful in this situation, I don’t believe it would entirely eradicate the problem.

      Young, impressionable minds are primed to take on propaganda (in this case pornography) and accept it as truth. But I am a firm believer that when these ideas are challenged in the context of a loving, non-judgemental family, with openness and an opportunity to discuss differing perspectives, positive changes can be made.

      That’s my reason for wanting to open this discussion now – to consider the best way to implement the above.

      In my opinion, this is how and when our values are formed. And for me, values are the equivalent of your morals and beliefs. So where religion is the foundation for you, a secure and healthy family environment is the cornerstone of solutions for me.

      I absolutely respect your beliefs, and I hope that we are equally successful in raising moral, well-adjusted children. The process is unimportant, if it works then it’s a success.

      Thanks for commenting.

  4. Hi Kate, that’s an interesting discussion. It’s scary how readily available porn is to youngsters and it is almost impossible to police. Education is the way to go, parents mustn’t be embarrassed to talk openly about sex, about what is acceptable and what isn’t.

    We have a daughter of sixteen, with who we talk openly about sex, at the moment I haven’t felt cause for concern. Fingers crossed that the things we’ve talked about have sunk in!

    Xx

    • Kate Reply

      Hi Debbie,

      It’s very concerning, isn’t it. I agree with you about education and that’s why my husband and I are already talking about it,despite our daughter not yet being two.

      Thanks for commenting xx

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