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Sexual Beings

mother-loveLet’s talk about sex. And children. Yes, children.

We are born sexual beings. For many of us, somewhere between our birth and our active sexual life as an adult we have become less than satisfied, joyful, radiant beings, sexually. For most of us, we have learned to fear desire and unadulterated sexual pleasure, and ignorantly pass our fears on to our children: as wee ones we’re told don’t touch yourself – it’s dirty; cover yourself up – no one wants to see your private parts; boys and girls can’t share a bath or bedroom. As older children adults say you’re too old to be naked, you’re too young to know about sex, sex is for grown-ups. As teens we hear about sexual diseases, abstinence, sluts, whores, boys just want to take advantage of girls. Not to mention all the mixed messages we pick up from our culture: sexy is good but sex is bad, at nearly any age. As adults most of us are pretty fucked up. We might spend the rest of our lives wishing and trying to achieve comfort with our sexuality.

Can we dissect this? As human animals, we are delivered into this lifetime as a result of sexual orgasm. As humans, from birth to death, we are driven by sexual pleasure. Infants of both sexes will masturbate easily and comfortably within days of their birth – noticeable of course when no diapers are present. Diapers are the first thwarting of sexual expression and pleasure that occur for most of us. Young children out of the diaper stage will also masturbate easily and comfortably, as well as ask a lot of questions about how they got here, how babies are born, differences between male and female genitalia.

Much deeper than the pure pleasure of sexual gratification is the energetic heart of what makes us tick, what motivates us, what gives us the stamina to do the things we love to do and do them well. Our energetic heart is linked directly to the satisfaction we are able to achieve sexually. The pleasure that is derived from sexual stimulation is all about feeling good. As human animals, there is no physical feeling more intensely pleasurable than sexual stimulation that leads to orgasm. Nurturing this natural feel-good desire and satisfaction stimulates the whole being, in turn nurturing the easy and natural feel-good of other bodily pleasures: the enjoyment of tastes and sounds; personal expression and challenge through art, intellect, athletics, music. When sexual expression and pleasure is thwarted, the feel-good drive is stunted. Life starts to feel more like work than pleasure.

Somehow we have wound up living in a world that treats us – as infants and children – as dummies. We have come to believe that we have to teach children how to think and behave sexually, that there are wrongs and rights about it all. Sexual connectedness to oneself is as elemental to being a human as the connection to breathing, learning to walk, talk, eat, shit, play and grow.

Connection to the essence of oneself hinges on growing up in an environment that trusts our natural abilities to experiment, observe, listen, gauge what is safe or unsafe, what is trustworthy or not, make sense of the world, make choices that come from our developing and always evolving sense of inner authority. On our own terms. When nurtured to feel, examine and make personal choices from early on, growth is achieved in the highly unique and specialized way that is right and true for us.

I’ve had this conversation with lots of folks over the years and the concern about abuse always comes up: how do we protect our children from the abuse and exploitation of others, especially if raised to be “sexually free?” A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like. They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions that adults support. As a result, and this is critical, they have learned they have a voice that’s respected, they trust their intuition and can speak authoritatively on it, they can act according to what they feel is right and trust that adults are in partnership with them. Such children are not easily lured or swayed or coerced to do things that don’t FEEL GOOD.

We are born enormously intelligent beings. We are not taught to be intelligent. Our reflexes, intuition, drives for survival are strong. We cry because we have something to say and hope someone is listening. We laugh when we’re happy. Moment by moment, step by step, we take on the world. As social animals we come into this life eager for loving companionship, respectful and trusting partnership with other human animals. Every time a baby is born we get a brand new chance to nurture a being to full vital expression, authority and self ownership.

If I was going to offer advice, here is what I’d say. Create every possible opportunity for your infant to be naked: in your arms with a towel, playing in water or outside, consider elimination communication (EC), extend the in between diaper times as long as possible. Let your baby do whatever they like with their bodies and genitalia. As young children, allow them to be naked as often as they like, on their own terms. When respected in the privacy of their own homes to feel free with nudity and their own sexuality they will easily learn that clothes are necessary for public appearances. If you share a family bed, allow your children to be aware of the energetics of adult lovemaking: they will associate the sounds of it later with mature love that involves sex. Further, nurture sex play for your children: doctor games, being married role plays. These are fun and important games for them that should be explored with love and respect not shame and fear. Welcome all questions about elimination, procreation, sexual pleasure and the responsibilities of each. Lecturing is not required – questions will come naturally and often prolifically, as their environment with self, animals, siblings, friends, etc. warrant.

With my three children, I saw that they each preferred to be naked all the time, even in winter, up to the age of about six, at which point they became very aware that everyone else is wearing clothes and their own personal sense of modesty set in. When my kids, influenced by their friends, would ask me when they would be allowed to date or have sex, I would tell them that those important decisions would be ones they would make, not their mother. Knowing when it feels nice and good to date and when to have sex are extraordinarily personal decisions that should and will vary from person to person. I always shared my opinions and experience with them but made sure they knew that these big decisions were their own to make. It’s worth saying too that I said such things to my kids knowing that it was possible they would make mistakes… and that I would continue to support their decision-making. Trust is not trust if there is a punishment or admonishment hanging over one’s head. At the same time, I did my earthly best to let them know that I would always do my best in giving them advice – if they asked. They did, often, knowing that the decision to make was theirs alone.

9 Comments Post a comment
  1. Dawn #

    “A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like. They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions… this is critical, they have learned they have a voice that’s respected, they trust their intuition and can speak authoritatively on it… Such children are not easily lured or swayed or coerced to do things that don’t FEEL GOOD.” Brilliant! Nuf said! ~ Dawn❤

    July 30, 2013
  2. “A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like. They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions… and this is critical, they have learned they have a voice that’s respected, they trust their intuition and can speak authoritatively on it… Such children are not easily lured or swayed or coerced to do things that don’t FEEL GOOD.” Brilliant, ‘nuf said.❤

    July 30, 2013
  3. Mary Beth Hirsch #

    “I’ve had this conversation with lots of folks over the years and the concern about abuse always comes up: how do we protect our children from the abuse and exploitation of others, especially if raised to be “sexually free?” A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like. They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions that adults support. As a result, and this is critical, they have learned they have a voice that’s respected, they trust their intuition and can speak authoritatively on it, they can act according to what they feel is right and trust that adults are in partnership with them. Such children are not easily lured or swayed or coerced to do things that don’t FEEL GOOD.”

    Disagree. I think that children may not understand the deep intricacies of sex, love and respect. “A child nurtured to enjoy the easy and natural feel-good in life understands what love, respect and trust feel and look like.” Do they enjoy the understanding of what violation of love and respect feels like, too? That may come with life experience, sadly. You say, “They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions that adults support.” Really? What adults? The ones who mow their yard and fondle their children? An infant could be sexually violated and not understand that violation, yet be effected for life. There are plenty of adults who are not in partnership with our children, and we are naive to think otherwise. Am I a very sexually liberal person who raises my child accordingly. Absolutely. There are few who are more open than I am. Still, there is no room for Polly Anna here. Are our children sexual? YES! Should we allow them to be sexual in whatever healthy and respectful way makes sense to them? YES! Do I trust that ALL the adults around them will respect them in this way? No! Should I trust my childrend to defend themselves? Huh? Or should I, as their parent, step in and protect them from others who don’t understand and respect the healthy and respectful sexual develpment of my children? Duh.

    August 2, 2013
    • Hi Mary Beth. I love the way you always disagree with me. In the world in which I live, children spend their time with at least one parent who loves, nurtures and respects them. In an even better world, there is a second parent who feels and lives in the same way with children. When does violation come in and how does it happen? Can you offer up a scenario of how this plays out? How does a child become victimized by someone who mows the yard when attentive parents are engaged in the child’s life? Yikes, how does an infant become a sexual victim when he or she has loving parents who make their relationship with them a priority?

      I am eager to hear how you step in and protect your child from others. I think the best and only real defense against the potential abuse of others is via the intrinsic power of the individual – developed from a sense of self ownership and self authority. We can’t actually protect our children or anyone else from anything. Self protection is all that works, and self protection is a result of confidence and empowerment that can only come from living in a world in which one is listened to, trusted and respected. There is no faking this.

      August 2, 2013
  4. 60miles #

    Ha. Do I always disagree? 🙂

    In the world in which I live, MY child spends his time with at least one parent who loves, nurtures and respects him. In fact, my child lives with two! However, there happen to be more than two people in his life. Go figure.

    In the real world, our children don’t have only two interactions (his/her two most awesome and perfect parents). Most parents I know (schooled and unschooled) expose their children to other people, people who the parents trust. I know I have and I am guessing that you have. I am not a hovering parent; I am guessing that you were not either. When we trust, we also create risk.

    When does violation come? Do I really need to define that? Or do I need to define when it might not come? Most certainly it won’t come if a parent is there with the child every waking moment. Hmmm…. Were you a helicopter parent? I wasn’t and I believe that you weren’t either. I trusted others; my parents trusted others, too. I was completely loved and surrounded by parents who cared for me, yet I was still sexually abused. There was opportunity because my parents loved and trusted the people around them. Were they naive? Or was I stupid? Hmmmm…. Something to ponder.

    OK. So be it. Let’s say for the sake of argument that we are all remiss parents because we trusted people we thought were trustworthy, when in fact, we were wrong. What about part #2? Aren’t our kids born perfectly wise and able to decide who is abusive or not?

    You say as regards our babies, toddlers and children, “They have learned to follow their intuition, question, and make decisions that adults support.” Really? And how? From all of their years of experience on this earth? I think our children come in full of love and trust but, the truth is, not everyone is loving and trustworthy. If they have loving adult parents, they are actually more likely to trust everyone who appears to be a loving adult. It is not birth, but life, experience that teaches us about the fakers.

    You even say, “Self protection is all that works, and self protection is a result of confidence and empowerment that can only come from living in a world in which one is listened to, trusted and respected. There is no faking this.” That is 100% true as an adult or even an older child. How is that achieved when one is only a baby or toddler, when one has not had the opportunity to have the life experience to teach him so?

    Again, Barb, I am a huge ally with you in terms of supporting youthful sexuality, I just think that we need to not blind ourselves with idealism (although I would LOVE to do that). We need to be realistic in realizing our own roles as parents and recognizing that we don’t raise our kids in a vacuum. It is more complex than, “I am a good parent and my kids are born with this awesome worldly wisdom.”

    August 2, 2013
    • I agree that I align myself with idealism, but I do more than align myself with it. I do my ever-lovin’ best to live it as well. While I know that shit happens in the real world, and even in my world, I can’t account for shit. All I can do is the best I can do, and that is, with regard to parenting anyway, taking maximum responsibility for creating an environment that gives my child a voice that will be listened to and respected from birth on. I have found this to be not only the most challenging thing I have ever done, but the most enlightening, as virtually everything I thought I knew before children (BC) turned out to be wrong. I have learned that listening to and respecting children instead of trying to train them according to my world view gives them a backbone of confidence and self-assurance that at least APPEARS to guide them toward positive, cellular feel-good people and opportunity.

      I am really interested in what you are trying to address in your post and would love more from you on: how am I blinding myself with idealism? and, how do you believe we can “protect” our children in the face of shit happening? If you don’t have any ideas about these things, that’s fine too. But I would love more from you if you do!

      August 3, 2013
  5. mary beth #

    Btw, I really. Like your post illustrations. Did you do them yourself?

    August 2, 2013
    • I do! I call them soul cards and I love the process. Thanks for asking.

      September 10, 2013

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