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We parents are advised, to hide anything sexual from their children. It includes not only open talk about genital body parts and their functions with them but very basic things like avoiding changing robes in front of the children, taking a nude bath with them and much more.
Children are aware of themselves as sexual beings–from the outset of their lives, but what many parents do is try to discourage them from noticing that.
If a baby’s hand goes to the “wrong place,” we move it away. If a tiny child begins to find moments of self-pleasure in its innocent delight with its own body, we react in horror and pass that sense of horror onto our child. The child wonders, what did I do, what did I do? Mommy’s mad; what did I do?
With the race of beings, it has not been a question of when we introduce our offspring to sex, it has been a question of when we stop demanding that they deny their own identity as sexual beings. Somewhere between the ages of 12 and 17 most of us give up the fight already and say, essentially (although naturally not with words—we don’t speak of these things), “Okay, now you can notice that you have sexual parts”
Yet by this time the damage has been done. Children have been shown for ten years or more that they are to be ashamed of those body parts. Some are not even told the proper name for them. They hear everything from “wee wee” to “your bottom” to words some of us must strain mightily to invent—all to avoid simply saying “penis” or “vagina.”
Having thus gotten very clear that all things having to do with those parts of the body are to be hidden, not spoken of, our offspring then explode into puberty not knowing at all what to make of what’s going on with them. They’ve had no preparation at all. Of course, they then act miserable, responding to their newest and most urgent urges awkwardly, if not inappropriately. Therefore, most of them enter their adult lives with sexual taboos, self-consciousness, and emotional difficulty.
Contrary in some enlightened societies, offspring are never discouraged or “corrected” when they begin to find early delight in the nature of their very being. Nor is the sexuality of their parents—that is, the identity of their parents as sexual beings—particularly avoided or necessarily hidden.
Naked bodies, whether of the parents or the children or their siblings, are seen and treated as being totally natural, totally wonderful, and totally okay—not as things of which to be ashamed. Sexual functions are also seen and treated as totally natural and totally okay.
As noted earlier, we may call such societies “pagan” or “primitive,” yet it is observable that in such societies rape and crimes of passion are virtually nonexistent, prostitution is laughed at as being absurd, and sexual inhibitions and dysfunctions are unheard of.
‘Let’s get better’
For parents being models of the “rightness” and “wrongness” of all behaviors, and children pick up subtle and not-so-subtle signals from their parents about everything through what they see their parents thinking, saying, and doing. Therefore, this is what we can do for our children.
So there is nothing wrong to talk about genitals with your children, laugh about it with your children, teach them and allow them and remind them and show them how natural is all that. And we can do this from the day they are born, with the first kiss, the first hug, the first touch they receive from us, and that they see us receiving from each other.