Sunday, April 12, 2009

Buy a vibrator along with "Our Bodies, Ourselves"?

by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux

I don't watch Oprah, so I'm a little late on this, but Jezebel informed me that there was a fabulously progressive episode last Thursday, dealing with how to talk to teens about sex. Oprah and her resident sex expert, Dr. Laura Berman, discussed the radical possibility of teaching teenage girls about sexual pleasure and those scary things - masturbation, and vibrators. This is an idea that may scare some parents (and it certainly freaked out Gayle, who shook her head and repeated "too much information" - to much applause from the audience), but for goodness' sake, why are we not teaching teenagers how to own their sexuality? Oprah pointed out that teenagers are having sex anyway, but I think that this applies just as much to teenagers who aren't having sex too - if teens know what an orgasm is, and how to give themselves one, they may be more careful about rushing into a sexual relationship.

And buying vibrators for your kids? Why not? I know that when it came to sex education, my parents bought me some books and left it at that - and the Virginia public schools were less than accurate or complete in their coverage of sex - so they might as well have given me a way to figure it out for myself. And really, we need to be telling teenagers that this is not something shameful - if their parents are giving them vibrators, they're providing very real proof that sex is something that can be talked about openly, and acknowledging that their children are going through some kind of sexual maturation. I think this is especially crucial for women, so that they know what an orgasm feels like before they have sex for the first time, and so they can tell their partner how to give them one. I'm sorry I missed this episode - and we all know that Tyra Banks and the other talk show hosts wouldn't go near this issue. Go Oprah!

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