Sunday, April 12, 2009

More thoughts on Oprah...

by Thúy-Lan Võ Lite

On Thursday's Oprah, according to Jezebel, Dr. Laura Berman issued some "progressive" suggestions for parents talking to their children about sex. To Gayle's dismay, Berman advised that parents discuss male and female anatomy with their kids at ages 10-11 and then masturbation at ages 14-15, which includes introducing the concept of vibrators.

Gayle delivered the classic post-Victorian objection. She said, "Too. Much. Information," and noted that girls today "know too much" and are "doing too
much." Her monologue was met with audience applause.

But Berman's suggestion isn't that radical or scandalous or unreasonable. What Gayle and the clapping audience members fail to understand is that there is nothing indecent or immoral about masturbation in the pubescent teenager, and parents enabling their adolescents to understand themselves sexually does not encourage these kids to be more "sexually active." In fact, it may have the opposite effect; informing daughters about masturbation, Berman says, is "teaching them about their own body and pleasuring themselves and taking the reigns of their own sexuality so that they don't ever have to depend on any other teenage boy to do it for them."

If girls are already "doing too much," Gayle, I'm not sure how teaching them how to receive pleasure for themselves is scandalizing them. Buying your growing teenage girl a vibrator doesn't do anything except teach her about her own body and perhaps prevent her from seeking orgasm elsewhere.


At April 12, 2009 at 9:18 PM , Blogger Roscoe said...

Thanks for the post. I totally see your points, and I think giving the ages which were suggested make things a lot clearer.

In terms of just straight up, this is what the penis and vagina are meant for, that seems like age-appropriate at any time, it's biology after all. I mean, will the 10 year-old care? probably not, but whatever, they don't really care about much school stuff anyway.

I think many people are hesitant about more sexuality openness not because it's somehow bad or immoral (I mean, some do, but I think for many it may be an issue even if they aren't hard core religious). I think it's less sex-negative (though, again, i'm not trying to deny that is how it is expressed) but more other-stuff-positive. I think it's less a scariness of sex, and more a scariness of what will not be focused on after sex is sexualized. I'm sure less and less people would deny that sex should be viewed positively, but still latch on to the idea that, since sex is so great, young people will focus too much on this with their relationships, instead of building strong interpersonal foundations that are based on something other than physical pleasure.

But let's be honest, most of us would think that, but we don't view sex negatively. Clearly, when people are having a lot of sex in a relationship and that is all they are doing (not doing other things together), then their relationship is probably not going to be great. But it's not because sex is hurting the relationship, it's that it is preventing them from doing other, more fruitful (on the margin, mind you) activities. But ya, I agree, there needs to be more education about sex and it must be stressed that, while it's really great and fun, it shouldn't be the center of any relationship (at least at that age).


At April 12, 2009 at 10:25 PM , Blogger Thuy-Lan said...

haha... sorry amelia, i didn't know you were writing about this too!


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