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A Mother’s Guide to Raising Sexually Responsible Sons

A Mother’s Guide to Raising Sexually Responsible Sons
Reading Time: 6 minutes

By:  Lisa M. Hayes: Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.

I don’t have to explain it to you because you already get it. We have a problem with how society tends to masculate. For years, the underlying subtext for boys as they grow into men has been that women are a trophy on a good day and prey on others. You take what you want as a sign of your masculinity, in business, in sports, and in the bedroom or the back of a car. By the time a boy turns teen, they’ve been getting that message through media and entertainment so long it’s hardwired so deep in the brain, you can’t see it anymore, but it’s still there. It shapes attitudes and experiences. Those attitudes and experiences are foundational for how our sweet little boys become men.

Making things much worse is the fact that the majority of sex education is focused at girls, specifically driving in the point that girls have a lot more to lose because of the risk of pregnancy. This, leaving an unspoken message that boys are mostly unaffected by unplanned pregnancy — which unfortunately is true more often than it should be, but not always. Yeah, we’re teaching safe sex. Boys hear the condom message loud and clear, and studies show many of them are still ignoring it.

Traditionally, women have left the heavy lifting of sex-education for boys to men. Fathers handle it and maybe a coach chimes in. Then a lot of the rest of it is left to peers. However, now, for reasons that are obvious women are wondering how to help their boys. No one wants to raise an “accidental rapist” – and that’s a pretty low bar.

Men can be feminists. Men can share the responsibility that sex brings. Men can be true partners in relationships on every level and it’s a beautiful thing. However, we need to raise those men. We need to raise sexually responsible, maybe even enlightened boys and no one is better equipped to do that than mothers.

The way we’ve been doing things hasn’t been working. We’ve got to start doing it differently.

Here are six ways mothers can start changing the game for their sons starting now:

 

1. Stop acting like sex is taboo or the holy grail.

It’s no surprise that studies show there is a much greater emphasis on sex education for girls than there is for boys. In fact, it’s all too common for boys to get little to no sex education from their parents. A lot of parents think a cursory conversation about wrapping it up will due.

It won’t.

It’s a lot easier to help a boy develope sex-positive attitudes when the topic of sex is normalized in their home. Both boys and girls need to know they can talk about sex with their parents. They need to feel comfortable asking questions. I would even go so far as to say, they need to hear their parents talk about sex appropriately, but casually fairly frequently.

Anytime you want to make tackling a difficult subject more doable, the key to success it to normalize that subject. The path to normalization is to destigmatize it by talking it about way more than feels comfortable at first.

Often sex conversations with boys happen between father and son. However, mothers need to talk with their boys about sex also. As awkward as that might seem, it’s critical for boys to have female-driven conversations about sex if we ever expect them to understand a female perspective.

If not Mom, then who??
Really. You do not want to leave those conversations to the locker room.

2. Suspend any “boys will be boys” attitudes.

They are not helpful.

My son has recently developed what some might think is a normal or age appropriate semi-obsession with weapons. There is a lot of pressure from friends and family for me to just let him be a boy and get over it. However, gender-driven free pass cards on any issue that raises the bar on problematic outcomes are not fair to our boys.

Boys getting in playground fights is not ok and when we write that off as “boys will be boys” we are promoting dangerous future violence.

Boys treating girls like trophies is not ok and when we write that off as “boys will be boys” we are promoting dangerous future attitudes and violence against women.

Boys should be held to the same standards as girls. Boys should be taught that they can and should be the gatekeepers to sex. Boys need to know they are expected to be respectful and responsible and there is no free pass on bad behavior just because they are male.

3. When you see objectification and misogyny, call it out.

Girls learn all too early what objectification feels like and what misogyny looks like. They usually learn those things before they have the words to describe them. Trust me, they experience it way earlier than most parents want to believe.

However, boys don’t. So, it’s a mother’s job to help our sons recognize those things and understand what they mean.

If your son is doing it, you call it out and explain it.
If your husband is doing it, you call it out and explain it.
If you see it on TV or a movie, you call it out and explain it.

And you do it without shaming the behavior – you simply name the behavior and explain why it’s wrong.

We can’t expect our sons to know what they don’t know. While you might feel like an over-zealous feminist everytime you point it out because it happens so often, that is the very reason you need to do it. Objectification and misogyny are rampant in our society. If we want our boys to do better we need to teach them it’s not normal.

4. We need to talk about consent as easily as we talk about drivers safety.

You know you’re talking to your boys about being safe behind the wheel of a car. You also know you need to talk to your son about consent, but most parents don’t.

There is no one on the planet better qualified to talk to a boy about consent than a mother. One uncomfortable conversation isn’t good enough. We need to talk about concent regularly, starting early in age-appropriate ways.

Boys need to have sovereignty and agency over their own bodies. They need to understand that first, then be taught that a girls sovereignty over her body is absolute.

Concent isn’t just a conversation about “no means no.” It is a conversation about the nuances of pressure. It is a conversation about emotional extortion for sex. It is a conversation about how concent isn’t an all-access pass, it’s a step by step process.

There are very few men on the planet who can teach this as well as a woman can. So, mothers need to step up to the plate and make sure our sons know how to be gentlemen and that any less than that will not be tolerated.

5. We need to be aware that boys can be victims of sexual violence too.

We need to talk to our boys about bad touch and good touch very early on. We need to be just as vigilant about the adult company our boys keep as we would with our daughters. We need to make sure they know when they need to talk to us if an adult crosses a line – and that line is any behavior that makes them uncomfortable.

A boy who understands concent when it comes to his own body is way more likely to respect it when it comes to a woman. However, parents often fail to talk to their sons about sexual assault. Male victims of sexual violence suffer in shame and silence so consistently that it’s hard to compile actual statistical data on that issue. Neither men or boys report because of the stigma. Additionally, it’s much more common for a boy to not be believed if he does report, or for a family to try to make it go away by ignoring it.

Both parents and boys need to grasp that these issues aren’t uniquely female. That cannot happen without an honest dialog about difficult things.
Mothers need to lead these conversations in their families because statistically, almost universally, if a boy has to report he will go to his mother first.

6. Help your sons understand that birth control is not just a girls responsibility.

Because, seriously, it’s not. However, there’s more to it than just the obvious. When a boy steps up to take responsibility for birth control with the same level of involvement that a girl has to, or maybe even more, it is a game changer in terms of how he will approach sex, women, and relationships for the long haul.

If a boy realizes that it’s his responsibility to help pay for birth control beyond just condoms, he begins to comprehend that sex is more complicated that is seems in the heat of the moment. A young man who grasps the concept, that for most women, getting birth control involves going to the doctor and enduring very invasive medical exams and procedures, is going to respect women, and respect sex a lot more.

Mothers need to talk to their sons about what’s involved in that process. We need to teach our boys how to have sensitive conversations with their future partners. We probably need to take our boys to Planned Parenthood, show them around, and let an expert give them some education on the types of birth control available and what’s involved in getting it.

 

 

 

Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.

 

More by Lisa:

6 Ways To Find Yourself On A Spiritual Path

 

 

Lisa is an LOA Relationship Coach. She helps clients leverage Law of Attraction to get the relationships they dream about and build the lives they want. Lisa is the author of the newly released hit book, Score Your Soulmate and How to Escape from Relationship Hell and The Passion Plan.

 

 

 

Confluence Daily is the one place where everything comes together. The one-stop for daily news for women.

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