A Real World Look at Young Adults and Sexuality
If you want to raise sexually healthy kids, you’ve gotta know what’s going on out there with regard to young peoples’ sexual behavior. These two books about teen and young adult sexuality will make you sweat. And cry. And freak the fuck out.
Sorry. Parenting well requires us to be uncomfortable and this is a big old serving of discomfort.
Resist the urge to think, “NOT my kid!” and instead please think, “MAYBE my kid!” as you read. I get it, you don’t want to even consider that your sweet, sweet girl would have “meh” sex with lots random people or get super drunk and put herself at risk for rape when she’s in college.
And you certainly don’t want to consider that your sweet, sweet boy would have “meh” sex with lots random people or get super drunk and put himself at risk for a rape accusation when he’s in college.
Knowledge is empowering, so use your takeaways from these amazing books in your conversations about sexuality with your children. It will help them grow up to be adults, who love sex, feel good about their choices and maybe even change some of these statistics.
If you were sexually assaulted or raped, both of these books may be triggering.
Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape – Peggy Orenstein
Why read this book? I read this baby on a plane. In public. Gasping audibly, cringing visibly and swearing loudly. It’s a very tough read, especially for parents of girls. However, it is an entirely necessary read, especially if you want your daughter to grow up to be a powerful, sexually confident woman and your son to be a sexually confident, thoughtful and kind partner.
From Amazon: “In Girls & Sex Peggy Orenstein examines the ways in which porn and all its sexual myths have seeped into young people’s lives; what it means to be the “the perfect slut” and why many girls scorn virginity; the complicated terrain of hookup culture and the unfortunate realities surrounding assault.
In Orenstein’s hands these issues are never reduced to simplistic “truths;” rather, her powerful reporting opens up a dialogue on a potent, often silent, subtext of American life today—giving readers comprehensive and in-depth information with which to understand, and navigate, this complicated new world.”
Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town – Jon Krakauer
Why read this book? Our culture tells us that date rape is often a “misunderstanding” and that girls who like and want to have sex are “asking for it” even if they change their minds. This book will give you an insider view of what happens when a young woman is brave enough to report her assault. It’s not a fun read, but again, you need to know so you can talk openly with your girl about what to do if it happens to her. As a parent of a boy, you will see what happens as the rape accusations are played out and how the young men respond and react to the young women. The take away for your boys? Don’t be that guy.
From Amazon: “In these pages, acclaimed journalist Jon Krakauer investigates a spate of campus rapes that occurred in Missoula over a four-year period. Taking the town as a case study for a crime that is sadly prevalent throughout the nation, Krakauer documents the experiences of five victims: their fear and self-doubt in the aftermath; the skepticism directed at them by police, prosecutors, and the public; their bravery in pushing forward and what it cost them.
These stories cut through abstract ideological debate about acquaintance rape to demonstrate that it does not happen because women are sending mixed signals or seeking attention. They are victims of a terrible crime, deserving of fairness from our justice system. Rigorously researched, rendered in incisive prose, Missoula stands as an essential call to action.”