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Girls receive so many messages telling them to prove their hotness through media, and these messages are reinforced by peers and rarely combated by parents. Youth grow up marinating in sexualized imagery without even being conscious of it. Sexualization is when you take something that is not overtly sexual and you make it sexy. For example, we do this a lot with food: Carls Jr. commercials, anyone? And we certainly do this with girls through making their toys and clothes sexy but not boys’. ...

To understand the term “bisexual,” it’s important to understand some basics about sexuality - and that’s a big topic! 

Sexuality is a term that describes how people feel and act with respect to their "male-ness" or "female-ness" and how they express their romantic and sexual feelings for others. Sexuality may seem confusing when you’re young, because it develops over time, may change over time, and is influenced by many things including your biology, family, beliefs, experiences, and relationships.

Your sexuality includes a lot of things, such as…

  • Biological sex: Were you born with female or male chromosomes and body parts?
  • Gender Identity: In your mind, do you feel...

I wasn’t totally surprised when I found out (from another mom) that my 6th grade daughter* had a “boyfriend.”  I had noticed the flirtation and bigger-than-usual-smile when he was around.  Besides, I was in the 6th grade once, too.   Back then, we called it “going steady.”  Today, I hear it’s called “going out.”

I knew better than to say what I said, but it just slithered out of that dorkey-parent-talk space that materializes when you have children. 

“I heard you’re going out with Sam.*  So… where are you going?”

If you have an adolescent daughter, you can imagine the response.

I wasn’t making fun of her BF interest, just trying to keep it “light.”  I just didn’t want her to think that we were diving head...

Denial seems like a quick fix for the aging child, but it only works for so long. No matter how hard we wish away the teen years, and the angst that comes with them, it’s going to happen. And let’s be honest, most parents don’t really want to know that their little girl is having big girl desires.

In turn, most adolescent girls don’t necessarily recognize sexual energy and desire as such, but it does affect the way they think and behave. Sometimes these new feelings show up as romantic interest in someone, or simply new attention to clothes and make up, or maybe a heightened focus on body image. Sometimes it surfaces as her first crush or dreams of her first kiss. In other instances, it leads to sexual experimentation without an...

First, take a deep breath. We realize that talking about your daughter’s growing sexual desire is not easy, but we commend you for even considering it.

By age 13 or 14, girls may seek touch from females and males in their peer group. By 14 or 15, many girls find older boys more mature than the boys in their peer group, and look to the older ones for attention and relationships. Sexual experimentation is very common in the early to mid teen years. Most early experimentation involves kissing and intimate touching, but teens today move quickly, and 25% have had oral sex or sexual intercourse by age 15. It is frighteningly easy for teen girls to give and receive touch that may not be healthy or fulfilling, particularly if there is a...

We can’t address touch and sexual desire without talking about the M word. Although most parents will cringe (or even stop reading right here!) at the thought of discussing masturbation with their child, most children have already discovered it to some degree.

You can ease into the conversation by mentioning that babies naturally touch their genitals at diaper changes or bath time because it is a pleasurable sensation and can even be self-soothing. As children get older, they begin to understand the notion of privacy, and they learn to control behaviors that should be kept private (like passing gas, picking their noses, and yes, masturbating).

In adolescence, your child at least deserves a conversation that acknowledges...

On the way to school, your 13- year- old daughter tunes into her favorite pop station where loud, sexually charged lyrics rattle you out of your morning daze. As she starts to sing along, you shoot her a disapproving glare, quickly change the station, and start discussing her afterschool schedule.

Sound familiar? As parents, we know it’s important to teach our children about real life, but when it comes to talking about sex and sexuality, many of us tend to be indirectly or even blatantly evasive. Clearly, most parents don’t mean to cause harm by dodging “sex talks,” but it’s also clear that the sexuality education and values provided by pop culture are failing our children.

The media is great for forcing some dreaded but...