Amy Schalet, Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has a great post responding to the Glee episode where two of its main characters decide to have sex for the first time.
Quote taken from the post, “Why did it takes us so long to arrive at a positive media portrayal of first sexual experiences — planned, protected yet ignited by romantic passion? And why has the Glee episode sparked such a controversy? After all, the so-called sexual revolution took place more than three decades ago, and a majority of our young people experience sexual intimacy of some sort before leaving high school.” Ms. Schalet makes the case that the reason is the parent’s discomfort with their own sexual history and that they are trying to steer their kids in a way different from theirs.
I think she’s right, but perhaps there is another element to this. In one way or another, every woman I interview thinks that there is something “wrong” with her sex history. She feels as though she had too many partners or she had too few partners. Essentially we, the adults, have to come to terms with our own level of sexuality before we can be truly useful and helpful to our kids. When I speak to parents I usually point out to them that at least some of their discomfort talking to their kids about sex is that they don’t really know what it is they want to say! Wait until your married? Engaged? In love? Dating for at least 6 months? And is oral sex the same as intercourse? Is using your hands on each other OK? Until the parents have these issues clear, it’s really hard for them to provide guidance to their kids.
The absurd irony here is that parents try to close their eyes to the fact that their children are sexually active. Instead, they should accept the fact and try to be as helpful as possible and give guidance and advice when it is perhaps most needed.
It seems Glee did its job properly here. Now it’s time for us to do our jobs as parents, properly as well!