Before I became a mom, I never really labeled myself as a feminist, or as anything else, actually. Not since I was 15 and briefly thought I was a punk rock skater. Yeah, we won't talk about that. It wasn't until I became a mom that I realized I not only was a feminist, but that I now needed to figure out how to raise a feminist son. And when it comes to what we will tell our kid about sex, my husband and I are totally on the same, super-feminist page.
Of course, at all of two years old, my son hasn't really come up with any questions other than quizzically pointing in the direction of his penis. But still, I think it's important to know from the start how you will field those sex questions from your kid. And if you're a feminist mom, you know there are some things you shouldn't force your kid to do, and there are some things you must have, like total honesty and the absence of words like "pee-pee" or "hoo-hoo" when it comes to mentioning genitalia. It means accepting that our kids will most likely grow up to be adults with sex lives, and as such, it's our job to do all we can to give them a healthy foundation for that. But if you've adopted a feminist parenting style, you know that the things feminist moms definitely tell their kids about sex are things that are pretty important and should probably be adopted by all of those other moms too.
Consent, Above All Else
This goes for everyone, boys and girls, because anyone can be forced into doing something they don't feel comfortable with, and everyone is responsible for obtaining informed, enthusiastic consent before engaging in any kind of sexual activity. No questions about this one. Feminist moms are basically printing "Yes Means Yes" onesies for their babies before they're even born.
There Is No One Right Or Wrong Kind Of Person To Love, No Matter Who You Are
This means not only explaining to your kid that gender isn't just a binary, either/or situation (and the same goes for sexuality), but that it's totally OK and great and lovely to love anyone who falls on any part of those spectrums. It means that whether your kid ends up being attracted to people of their same or opposite gender, or someone who's non-binary or transgender, they won't question whether or not that's OK.
Protection Is There To Benefit Everyone
Yeah, condoms aren't anyone's favorite thing to spice up a sexy time, but they are every smart person's favorite thing in general. Feminist moms make it clear that condoms are there to benefit both partners who are engaging in the act. That means protection against disease and in some cases, pregnancy, which may not be things your kid wants to hear, but hey kid, facts are facts.
It Is Their Responsibility To Take Care Of Their Own Body
By take care of their own body, I mean in all ways: keeping your body healthy, and also keeping it clean. It's one thing to give your toddler a bath, but after a couple of years of no more diapers or sippy cups, it's time to instill in them the notion of taking care of their own hygiene. Especially with girls, and so many myths about feminine hygiene (like, what do vaginas even need, you guys?), it's important for feminist moms to make sure their kids know how to handle their ~business~.
If Anyone Ever Does Anything To Your Body That You Didn't Say Yes To, It's A Problem And They're Not Wrong For Saying So
A lot of kids consider rape to be only "non-consensual vaginal penetration," and maybe even consider females to be the only ones capable of being raped. But the truth is that rape is the penetration of any orifice of any body, with any object, without consent. Beyond that, sexual assault can be so many things. Even before kids are old enough to get into the awful details of all of this, there's one big thought that feminist moms know their kids are never too young to hear: Your body is your body and no one gets to do anything to you that you don't want, whether that's pushing you down on the playground, or giving you a hug, you can say no, always. And if you don't say yes, and someone does it anyway, they're wrong, and it's good to speak up about it.
Playing With Your Parents Is Totally Fine (In Private, Kid, No One Needs To See That)
OK, this is admittedly another thing that no kid wants to hear their mom say. And I probably won't outright tell my kid to go have at it and masturbate until his hand falls off, but I'll also make it clear that there is nothing wrong or shameful about exploring your own body freely. I mean, is there a mom alive who, if she's parented a toddler boy, hasn't said the words, "If you want to play with your penis, you need privacy" or "We don't put our penis on [object]"? Yeah, this conversation will likely just kinda happen for you, whether you like it or not.
It Is Always OK To Ask Questions
As a feminist mom, being open and available for any and all questions all of the time is essential. The second your kid feels afraid to ask a question or ask for advice related to sex, that's when you risk someone else telling them something that could be problematic or even just totally untrue. Granted, you can't force your kids to come to you about this stuff, but you can damn sure know it's an option!
There Is Nothing Bad About Consensual Sex
Sure, you don't want your kid throwing themselves into bed with every rando person at their high school (you have to study, guys), but you also don't want them to feel ashamed for having thoughts of sex. Feminist moms get this. They make it clear to their kids that there is nothing bad or shameful about sex between two consenting people. But like, also don't let sex get in the way of living the rest of your life. I know, the struggle is real. That struggle will probably stay real for the rest of your life. Sex is awesome. Now go study.
Sexuality Is Meant To Be Explored, And It Might Even Evolve
To the same tune as assuring their kids that there is nothing shameful about sex, feminist moms tend to assert that sexuality itself is meant to be explored, as opposed to looked at from a cookie-cutter perspective. As in, there is no one solid answer regarding sexuality and your kid shouldn't see it as such, giving them the opportunity to actually explore their own sexuality and not be afraid of it. Maybe how they identify in terms of who they're attracted to will change; maybe it won't; but no matter what, it's all fine. Hardly anyone's sexual identity is a static point. Get out there and see what you like, and don't apologize for whatever you find, no matter how often the answer does or doesn't change.
You've Made Plenty Of Sexual Mistakes Yourself
Hey, even if you've only ever slept with one person for your whole life, you've still made mistakes (don't lie, I see you). Let me be clear: I will not be telling my son about all the graphic details of sexual experiences I've had with various partners. But I also won't let my kid feel afraid to talk about any sexual mistakes he makes, or regrets he feels afterward. Because I think we can all pretty much agree that sex mistakes are very real, even as kids just embarking on sexual journeys. Because at the beginning (and even long after, in some cases) sex is awkward and messy, and without a parent there to force their kid to be open about it, they can look forward to even more questions and concerns.