8 years of womensweb

Let’s Talk About Sex And Sexuality With Our Daughters

Posted: April 8, 2015

It is essential for us, as mothers, to talk about sex and sexuality with our daughters. There is a need to do so, and let’s not run away from it.

‘Slut’, ‘whore’, ‘cunt’, ‘bitch’ are all words that are used to dehumanize women, especially women who engage in sexual activity or have a desire to do so. In our culture, as is with many other cultures, women are instructed not to be sexual. Everywhere they look, and at every age, they are expected to fit into a certain mould that society has set for them, and almost always this mould forbids women from being sexual in nature.

Women are expected to have babies, but not be sexual. They are told to be sexy, but not engage in sexual activity. They are often encouraged to have an open mind, but never talk about sex. Women are told to be bold, and yet women watching porn is still a taboo. Women’s lives are constantly being watched and judged; how to eat, drink, sleep, dress, and of course, how to never have sex unless a man wants to have sex with you. And there are ample magazines telling women ‘how to please your man’ and ‘what to or not to do in bed’. However, rarely do articles or popular media ever celebrate women as individuals, with varying degrees of sexuality and sexual desires.

Women’s sexuality is a tightly-controlled and rigidly-managed system in India.

Women’s sexuality is a tightly-controlled and rigidly-managed system in India. One of the core reasons for this expectation from women to abstain from sex and sexual desires, often comes down from the matriarch of the family whose value system is a direct reflection of her husband’s beliefs or stems from societal constructs that the matriarch believes in. Then of course pre teens, teens and young adults are left to fend for themselves and either hide their desires in embarrassment or act upon them in secrecy. Young girls have been told to shy away from sex and sexual conversations to such an extent that they grow up embarrassed and ashamed of their bodies and sexual urges. They learn from an early age that their body is going to be policed, and they begin to accept it. First mothers police their daughters’ bodies, and then the society.

Today, however, it’s imperative that families, mothers especially, talk to and educate their daughters about sex, sexuality and what that entails. Young girls and boys have all the information available at their finger tips, and often none of that news is good news. Young girls must be taught that their body is theirs alone, that no one has a say on their body, that no matter where she is, what she’s wearing, what she isn’t wearing, what she chooses to do with her body is her right alone, and no one has the right to police her body.

Identifying as a woman doesn’t deny any individual the right to be sexual.

Identifying as a woman doesn’t deny any individual the right to be sexual. That being said, it is also vital to recognize the fact that everyone has a different belief system. Some individuals are uncomfortable with pre-marital sex, and some individuals are uncomfortable with teen sex. Whatever your stance on the subject, talk to your daughters about it. Explain your stance and your expectations with them. As uncomfortable as these conversations can be, they are absolutely vital in every girl’s life so that she knows that ‘sex’ isn’t some crazy, amazing or dirty, degrading entity. It’s just an act; one of many that she may or may not face or enjoy in life. Sharing your stance on the matter, including your daughter in the conversation, and treating her like an adult will enable her to trust you, share with you and confide in you.

Teen years are extremely challenging for any individual. On top of that, we add this pressure on girls to be pure and modest. What does that even mean? A girl isn’t some carpet that can get dirty with dust or mud. No. She is a living, feeling, breathing, sensing and analyzing complete being capable of complex thoughts and emotions. By recognizing that and talking to your daughter about sex and sexual desires doesn’t mean you are advocating for sex or telling her to have sex. It just tells her that it’s okay to feel what she feels. That porn is okay. That wanting to experience new things is okay, that her body and her desires are okay. Whether she acts on them or not is her prerogative, and a conversation that she should feel comfortable having with you.

A girl isn’t some carpet that can get dirty with dust or mud.

At the end of the day, your daughter’s health – mental and physical are of utmost importance. Her views on sex and sexual desires contribute heavily to her self esteem and confidence. This confidence is then reflected in her choice of partners while empowering her to feel comfortable and happy about her body, and avoid and silence anyone who attempts to police her body.

Image of a happy mother and daughter via Shutterstock

 

A feminist by choice and writer by passion, Sanah is bold, opinionated and exuberant. She

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Comments

5 Comments


  1. pornography
    noun por·nog·ra·phy \-fē\
    : movies, pictures, magazines, etc., that show or describe naked people or sex in a very open and direct way in order to cause sexual excitement

    I am okay with your article. But your take that ‘Porn is Okay’ ….. I am not sure about that. I am not saying it is unnatural or anything…Maybe you are using the wrong word.. I think there is a fine line and it makes sense to identify the line which you can cross when you want to share with your daughter the words that “porn is okay’.I have grown up at a different time. Such issues were greater taboo. But we managed. with porn etc etc. No one told us ‘porn is okay’ . much of us learn on the way about its okayness of otherwise. After all your sister, or daughter has a long life to learn…..Lest Deepika Padukone is the ideal…..

    • Thank you for your comment and I do agree that times are changing. To me, personally, it is important that we acknowledge that porn exists and many individuals enjoy it. Porn being okay doesn’t mean that one must watch it nor does it encourage individuals to engage in it. It is just a part of people’s lives that, in my opinion, should not be looked down on. There are a lot of issues with porn. It dehumanizes women, it is sexist, it is vulgar and that is something mothers and daughters should talk about because irrespective of it’s nature, it is an inherent part of a lot of people’s lives. Is porn okay as a concept? I think so. Is it okay for porn to be a part of someone’s life? That is upto them to decide. However should we talk about it? Definitely. These are of course, my opinions and may be vastly different than yours.

  2. Thank you for your comment and I do agree that times are changing. To me, personally, it is important that we acknowledge that porn exists and many individuals enjoy it. Porn being okay doesn’t mean that one must watch it nor does it encourage individuals to engage in it. It is just a part of people’s lives that, in my opinion, should not be looked down on. There are a lot of issues with porn. It dehumanizes women, it is sexist, it is vulgar and that is something mothers and daughters should talk about because irrespective of it’s nature, it is an inherent part of a lot of people’s lives. Is porn okay as a concept? I think so. Is it okay for porn to be a part of someone’s life? That is upto them to decide. However should we talk about it? Definitely. These are of course, my opinions and may be vastly different than yours.

  3. Very good!

  4. Sometimes too much knowledge and exposure can be harmful! Talking about safe sex may make them permiscuious, too! Daughters need to know that at the end of the day it is only female who becomes pregnant and most men will walk away from responsibility! Society allows that no matter where it happens!

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