Tag Archives: Talking About Sex

Unplugging Because. . .

Technology, like sex, has a love/scare relationship with most Americans.

Until relatively recently, sex has been something that you just did not speak about in anything remotely resembling polite company. Not only did Lucy and Ricky sleep in separate beds with a nightstand between them, but most of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on television have to do with sex.

The flip side to that, however, is that while sex might not have been a public subject, it was the thing most on the minds of American men and women. Porn thrived, especially with the arrival of the internet and the ability of people to buy it anonymously. You couldn’t talk about it, but it was used to sell everything from cars and toothpaste to fridges and massagers.*

Things haven’t changed all that much, but it has become a bit less of a taboo in public discussion. Or at least, my wife, known to one and all as She Who Must Be Talking About Sex, and her friends seem to have no trouble talking about this kind of thing anywhere and everywhere.

I’m thinking technology is beginning to occupy a similar place in the American psyche. Not so much its existence, but, rather its use.What's the point of things like the National Day of Unplugging? Are we that scared of what the internet, in particular, and technology, in general, can offer to us?

More and more people are joining movements like the National Day of Unplugging, which was held early last month. The point of it was to abjure technology from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8. Ironically, folks who participated took photos of themselves and posted them on the National Day of Unplugging website to talk about “I unplug to. . . ”

I’m assuming ironic-deafness is a prerequisite to becoming a Luddite.

This whole thing reminds me of people who used to say, “I never watch television, except maybe a few hours of Masterpiece Theater on PBS.” Mostly folks said that to make it look like they were too smart, too sophisticated to debase their minds with the common drivel the rest of us enjoyed.

I suspect these folks are probably the same ones who won’t use an e-reader because they only read “real” books.

So, really, what’s the point? It’s not like any of these people are going to unplug for the rest of their lives. It seems to me that the whole point of this unplugging is to plug back in and then broadcast to one and all how virtuous you were because you put down your smartphone for a while.

It might have something to do with the fact that people don’t trust themselves very much. They use programs that block the internet or blank their web browsers so they won’t fool around when they should be working. They keep checking their messages and e-mail during meals with other people.

Even if you have always-on connection, that doesn’t mean you have to use it, yeah?

Mostly, I think the attraction of these sorts of things lies in the fact that, for most people, the idea of change is scary. And technology is all about change, about doing things differently, more efficiently, on a wider scale than before, seeing new things in your lives that had always been there, but were never noticed.

Dudes and dudettes get caught up in the world and begin racing toward the future with eyes open, but stop every once in a while, stumble, and realize just how much change we’ve been through and still face.

The strong smile, assess and continue. The weak unplug.

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Talk Ain’t Cheap

by Richard

Speaking of sex. . .

Writing about sexual health yesterday reminded me of something important. Okay, yes, that too. But I was actually reminded more of a friend of mine who’s in the process of raising his own little dude. My friend, let’s just pick a name out of the hat, is named John and trying to work up the nerve to talk to his little dude about sex.

The problem, you see, is John knows a lot about sex. I mean, a lot. The dude was a hound, if you knowwhutI’msayin’. His past experiences seem to be coloring his expectations for his talk with his little dude.

And that’s his first problem right there. See, sex isn’t something that should be completely ignored or have discussions about it actively discouraged right up until the time you have THE TALK. The things is, sex doesn’t need a talk. What it needs is a conversation and that requires more than one little sit down.

Still, that’s a conversation for another day. For now, let’s talk about talking.

For most people, the idea of talking about sex with your kids is, well, terrifying. Mortifying. Embarrassing. I’ve never really understood this fear, but I do know it’s there. The bad news is that if you go into any kind of sex talk with your little dude or little dudette sweating bullets and stammering, you’re going to probably leave them with the impression that sex is something to be ashamed of. And that’s not good.

What is good, though, is it’s not all that hard for you to overcome your fear. The first thing you need is a mirror. The second thing is a little privacy. Here’s what you do.

Get in front of the mirror and look yourself in the eye. Then say masturbation. Follow that up with every single word you can think of that has to do with sex, no matter how vulgar. Get it all out of your system. Think of all the funny euphemisms for penis or vagina you’ve ever heard and then say them out loud. Make sure you do this often enough so you can do it without laughing or grimacing.

The next step is to start holding a conversation with your mirror self. Imagine you’re sitting down in front of your little dude or little dudette and think about what would be the most embarrassing thing that could happen. Then talk about it. Repeat your lines over and over. Imagine the look of horror on his face, make it yours, and then keep talking about masturbation or getting to third base or whatever you fear. Do it again and again and again.

Familiarity breeds, in this case, ease. These sorts of talks will never be easy for you or your little dude, but they are important. Especially because they’re just the start. Embarrassing and educating your little dude is not going to be the end of it. You want your child to be comfortable talking to you about sex. Otherwise, where’s she going to go when she’s facing an actual practical situation if she can’t talk to you?

Opening a conversation with your child about sex is important because it allows you to help instil him with your values and your ideas, rather than what that sleazy little dude from down the drive thinks.

If you’re uncomfortable about this sort of thing, just think about this. Would you rather be embarrassed and open a conversation about sex with your child, or would you rather take him to the doctor to treat an STD? Or put your life on hold to take care of your new grandchild?

Yeah, that’s what I thought.

Conversing. It’s a good start.

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