I remember "the talk" with my dad. He came into my room one day while I was packing up for college. He sat down on the edge of my bed with a pensive look on his face - somewhere halfway between needing to get something off of his chest and needing to get yesterday's tacos out of his gut - and he said this to me:
| "Son, if you get into a situation in college, use a condom."
Then he got up and left the room. The "talk" was all of 15 seconds!
I didn't even know what a condom was. I had never seen a condom, much less any body part of the opposite sex that might require its use. I sat dumbfounded for a minute, then I went back to packing my clothes.
I don't know exactly how I found my way into the correct use of contraception, but I did. I somehow fooled a young lady into having sex with me at some point without ending up with any kids. However, I can't help but think that I might have done just a bit better with a more comprehensive briefing about contraception and what I was actually protecting myself against.
How Our Parents Gave "The Talk"
With all of the mainstream news focused on shock value and headlines that want blood, sex gets a bad rap. Our parents are more likely to take mainstream news at face value, meaning that one bad sex story means all sex is bad. Bad things are scary, and scary things are harder to talk about. This may be the reason that I got the Maya the Bee version of the birds and the bees. I'm sure my dad would have been happier on some level if I said that I wasn't looking for a "situation" in college.
Our parents also had many less choices for contraceptives than people do today. Just one form of contraceptive, the condom, has expanded to include more options than a Wendy's combo menu (with some of the same options, like ribbed deluxe). Porn has expanded from the redheaded stepchild of society into a legitimate multibillion dollar industry that many young people joke about in school openly with their friends. Responsible adults now have an opportunity to use this newfound sexual freedom in children to teach sex more openly, creating an open dialog that can actually serve as a pathway to a more clear understanding of the topic.
How I Would Give the Talk
By the time a kid is old enough to have "the talk," he or she has already been completely engulfed in modern sexuality. Even so called mainstream forms of media are based around sex, with the "Instagrambooty model" and known pornstars participating in fast food commercials now the norm, not the exception. Parents could hide their Playboy collection from their kids in previous generations; there is no hiding the kids from Facebook and Twitter. Parents must use this information rather than bemoaning the fact that "things just aren't like they were before." Think about it: What harm can a sexualized culture do to a person unless it actually causes a person to participate in deviant or irresponsible sexual activity? Take away the power of the culture to ruin your child's life, and guess what? It no longer ruins your life!
If you have kids, look at today's sexual culture as the most well organized, precise teaching tool that has ever been available to a generation of parents. Take control of the narrative and place the appropriate label on content to contextualize it in the mind of the child. For instance, overblown porn scenes should be viewed as what they are - funny! If a child knows that a piece of media is meant to be comedy, then that child will not emulate it in a serious way. Note: This does not mean to bring the entire family together for an XVideos movie night - use your discretion and take into account the gender and individual maturity level of your child!
Strategies for the Talk
Doing the Talk in 4KHD, virtual reality, COD headshot style can work if you use a few strategies that have been known to work. As a matter of fact, most of these strategies come from videos and other media that sex expert groups have put out on the Internet for your kids' consumption!
The condom over the banana trick is perfect to show kids how to use a condom, and everyone has seen a video showcasing this (if you think your kids haven't, they have). However, you can bring the point across even more by squishing the banana after the condom is on it and showing how all of the mess stays inside. One funny dad told me personally that he took it a step farther than that, squishing one banana in the condom and one outside. He then made his kids clean up the mess from the free banana. The banana that he squished outside of the condom just happened to be old and moldy, so the kids definitely got the idea that no condom can mean a very gross mess.
If you need to call a child's bluff on his or her sexual aggression, then you can employ the same trick that parents use with alcohol - kids who say they can handle their liquor will quickly reverse their course after a shot of Bacardi 151 from dad's cabinet. Starting with relatively tame Instagram pictures, you can watch a few videos with your kid until he or she backs out from shame. Trust us - your kid will call chicken before it gets uncomfortable for you.
Use Today's Culture to Your Advantage
Do not be afraid of today's culture. Kids pick up on that fear, and they will lose respect for you because of it. Put yourself at the head of the curve, take control of the narrative, and kids will follow your example!