Jamie Kenney

10 Ways Sex Positivity Will Help Your Kid In School

I make a big deal about being sex positive, especially now that I'm a mother. Look, society has some really, really creepy rules about sex, gender, and physical appearance. I believe that instilling sex positivity in kids (along with feminism, body positivity, and a commitment to racial equality so, you know, there's a ton of overlap) is key to undoing some of that awfulness. Not only will a new, sex positive generation benefit society at large, it will also benefit individual children. I definitely think, and have seen the benefits first hand, that sex positivity will help your kid in school.

To be very clear, and as a reminder: sex positivity doesn't mean overloading a kid on information about deviant and esoteric sex acts, from the time they're toddlers, and pretending the concept of being "age appropriate" is for prudes and squares. While there's an age appropriate way to discuss most topics, including ones having to do with sex, when it comes to sex positive parenting, sex is almost a secondary or even tertiary thought. The main themes, really and until a kid is probably in middle or high school, are going to be respect, body autonomy, trust, and acceptance. Now, you tell me what aspect of that particular set of beliefs isn't going to serve children well in a school setting! You can't, because sex positive kids are going to rock this whole school thing.

Being sex positive is going to help your child in myriad ways, including in helping them get along with their peers and focusing on getting an education. How, you ask? I'll tell you.

They Are Less Likely To Giggle Over Basic Facts Of Anatomy

I'm not saying that your kid isn't going to find dick jokes funny. I'm just saying that when they've been saying "penis" as-a-matter-of-factly their whole lives, they're going to have a higher threshold than a kid for whom it's a forbidden, "dirty" word. While the rest of the class is tittering over the word "nipple," your child's teacher will take solace in the fact that your kid is likely sitting there, slightly confused as to what's so funny.

The Have Been Instilled With Body Confidence

Your child is going to hear a lot of voices, from either certain family members, peer groups, or the media, telling them what they should look like and how they should feel about what they do look like. Those voices will often be problematic and even hurtful. Thankfully, they're also going to hear your voice, and yours is among the loudest. So, while your cheerleading the concept that every body is a good body doesn't inure them from insecurity or shame, they have a better than average chance to be able to be OK with themselves and (if needs be) withstand unkind remarks from their peers or educators.

They Are Accepting Of Other People's Differences

Saying you are sex positive, in many ways, is just another way of declaring that you are committed to tolerance and acceptance. While sex positivity focuses, mainly, on the idea that all sex is good sex as long as it's consensual and safe, which means you accept other people's sexual preferences and proclivities, the general concept of, "Hey, you are not exactly like me and that's cool. You do you," spills into other areas of your life. In fact, when raising sex positive kids, that general idea of, "Just be chill" comes first and then, later, is applied to sex and sexuality.

They Can (Ideally) Correct Friends' Misconceptions

The world is full of wonders, sometimes so majestic or bizarre that you would barely believe them if you didn't know them to be facts. (If you don't believe me, just watch a video about kangaroo birth and tell me if you could dream that up in a million years.) It's really no wonder that amid all these exciting new facts hurling at kids 24/7 for years on end that they come up with some really, truly outlandish ideas on their own, then proceed to share them with their friends. I once heard a 7-year-old insist that babies were made when a daddy peed in a mommy's belly button. But when it comes to the basic "birds and bees" talk, your kid is armed with some basic facts and will be able to clear some things up for their confused comrades.

They Are Not Afraid To Share What They Have Learned With You

As mentioned above, kids pick up a lot at school, not all of it accurate or sex positive. But you're sex positive, raising a sex positive kid, so you've been preaching about how you're always there to talk with them and listen to them, from day one. By keeping lines of communication open, you not only have the benefit of an open and honest parent/child relationship, but you can correct any absurd notions they bring home with them. Like, for example, if your child is too young to be given the detailed version of "where babies come from" and they're convinced that the pee-in-the-bellybutton-theory is absolutely accurate.

They Will Be Able To Call Out Dress-Code Double Standards And Other Sexist Nonsense

This is probably going to be more relevant to older children (middle school and high school), however, sex positive kids have been taught all about the unnecessary and unfair sexualization of female bodies as well as the ridiculously narrow view of what is considered "appropriate" for a boy to wear. Okay, to be honest, this may not make things easier for them. In fact, it might just be easier to comply to school dress codes, but in the long run, taking an educated, principled stand on an issue is good for them. It builds character! This is also true of peers and teachers purporting either misogynistic, racist, and/or sex negative bullsh*t.

They Are Equipped To Recognize Sex Negativity In Their Own Sex Education

Elizabeth Smart, who at 14 was kidnapped and raped over the course of nine months, once discussed how abstinence only education, which likened girls who had sex before marriage as chewed-up pieces of gum that no one else would want, made her already horrifying ordeal even worse. She was taught this, um, "colorful analogy" in school. In school, you guys. With any luck, a sex positive child, who has already had some sex education courtesy of his or her sex positive parents or parent, will be able to recognize such nonsense for what it is. (Of course, with even better luck, they won't encounter it in the first place!)

They Are Primed To Treat Everyone (And Their Wishes) With Respect

In some way or another, sex positive parents have been teaching their kids honest communication and the importance of consent from day one. They've had it drilled into their heads, from a tender age, whether you're talking about rough-housing or sex, "If someone says no, you have to stop. If you say no, they have to stop." This is going to make for more harmonious playground interactions and cooperation in the classroom.

They Have At Least A Basic Understanding Of Physical Boundaries

Sex positive parents know the importance of ensuring that their children know that they and they alone are in charge of what happens to their body (barring, like, necessary medical procedures because, sorry kid, you need this vaccination). So sex positive kids are well-equipped to stand up for themselves and to respect other people's personal space and limits. (That's not to say some kids who have had this drilled into their heads won't have a phase where they're an overly zealous hugger or unnecessarily "hands on," since kids aren't always the best listeners, but the groundwork is there.)

They Are Comfortable Expressing What They Want Or Need

Sex positive means not only listening to other people's wishes, but being unequivocal and proactive in expressing your own needs and choices, which serves one well not only in the bedroom, but in the classroom. This will better prep them to ask for help, voice their discomfort, and offer their thoughts.

Tl;dr? Sex positivity is pretty much a big ol' benefit in literally any situation, including a child's education.