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Learn About Teaching Healthy Sexuality
Teaching Your Children Healthy Sexuality – The Best Resource

You can teach children healthy sexuality. Here are some quality resources to help make sure your kids are empowered to make healthy choices about sex when the time is right.

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Learn About Teaching Healthy Sexuality

In a world that has normalized pornography and romanticizes unhealthy relationships, parents need help to learn how to teach healthy sexuality to their children. Luckily, there are resources to help parents teach healthy sexuality in a way that works for everyone.

This episode is Part Two of Anne’s interview with Dina Alexander.
Part One: The “Sex Talk”: What YOU Need to Know
Part Two: Learn How to Teach Your Kids Healthy Sexuality
(this episode)

3 Ways Parents Can Teach Healthy Sexuality

When it comes to teaching healthy sexuality, it’s important to make sure the resources you use really help your kids:

  • Initiating open & honest conversations to teach healthy sexuality. Conversations relating to various aspects of sex, body image, pornography, the potential influence of media, and relationships.
  • Teaching media literacy. As children and teens begin to understand the intents and impacts of the media, they may be better equipped to seek out and develop healthy relationships and a healthy understanding of sex.
  • Emphasizing the importance of healthy relationships. In the BTR community, we understand how difficult it can be to teach healthy relationships when emotional & psychological abuse have been present in your home. However, Educate and Empower Kids has a wide variety of resources available to assist parents in teaching these concepts. Not only do they have incredible resources for children, but for parents as well.

Removing Sexualization to Teach Healthy Sexuality

Anne (00:00): Talking about “modesty” is one way to bring up healthy sexuality. Well, I think about a professional surfing competition. For example, a women’s professional surfing competition, their uniform is going to be a swimsuit.

(03:05): If you’re going to be like, well, I can’t interact with people or I’m not going to take this seriously. If you don’t teach your kids, this is not a sexual situation. This woman is a competitive athlete. I think it’s so anti-porn to be like women exercising in competitions, women on track teams, women doing gymnastics, whatever. This is not a sexual situation.

This is their uniform that they’re wearing to do a sport and that needs to be respected. It’s crazy to me that there are men who are so conditioned to view women as sexual objects that they think of surfing as a sexual situation or track or the hurdles. It’s not. The hurdles is not sexual.

She’s just jumping over hurdles. We need to take that analogy way too far. That’s another thing I want to talk to my kids about is if you use porn, you might start thinking that there’s sexual things going on all over the place. In your head, you might make it sexual because you’re watching someone in a surfing competition or a track or any other scenario.

The Impact of Media on Perception on Healthy Sexuality

Dina Alexander (04:16): Our brains are conditioned that way for everybody who’s like, oh, porn is not addictive. If you don’t believe that, that’s one thing, but also to think that it does not change your brain and affect you.

I always refer back to the few months, I don’t know how long ago, maybe 15 years ago. I read romance novels for a few months and I could see that I was starting to objectify people.

It did not take long for me to start thinking of other people as sexually available before they had just been other people that I walked past or worked out next to in my little community center gym.

Again, these are great, great discussions to talk about how media, social media, television, videos, porn. How they are just so powerful to our brains and that we are getting different messages about sex all the time, but that we have to really stop and think, and so that’s why this is such a great discussion to have over and over again. Now is always the time to talk to teach healthy sexuality.

“I want my kids to form their own ideas and opinions about what is amazing about sex.”

Dina Alexander, Educate and Empower Kids

(05:19): You’re watching sports, okay, maybe you pause it and talk about isn’t that an amazing athlete? Look at her do the high jump. Can you believe that she is able to jump that high? Are we talking about how powerful and important and special our bodies are.

But, also talking about what is it that might cause us whether we’re walking past Victoria’s Secret at the mall or something else that what is it that affects us? Because each of us, it’s individual and helping our kids see that within themselves and identify what impacts them and what is healthy and what is not so that they can form.

Because to me, what really angers me about pornography is that it forces on our kids this idea of what is sexy and what is not hot and what is not.

I want my kids to form their own ideas and opinions about what is amazing about sex, what is amazing about their body and their partner’s body, not what this industry of McDonald’s sex is saying is sexy and wonderful. So that’s why I think that’s just a great discussion.

Teach Healthy Sexuality: Discussing Media Manipulation and Its Impact

Anne (06:29): Yeah, it is. Nothing about it is unquote sexy. It’s just gross and violent and vile and evil and exploitative.

Dina Alexander (06:41): It’s abusive, like you said. I love that you said that. To put that in that context for our kids, to help them to see how manipulative it is, because that right there is a great discussion.

Maybe this is an easy sex talk for a parent who’s intimidated of looking at different media and seeing how it manipulates us. A movie I liked, but I cannot watch again, is Interstellar.

To me, it’s a fascinating movie, but to me it is so emotionally strong and in a sense manipulative, because I get so involved in this movie and the sadness and this and that. It’s a tool that is used that media is so powerful.

Whether it’s by music, whether it’s by what we’re seeing, whether it’s by an explosion or whether it’s by a naked body, and helping our kids see how this is meant to manipulate us, and at the end of the day, it’s about making money, right?

Navigating the Challenges of Pornography in Modern Relationships

(07:35): It’s not about educating us, helping us feel good about ourselves, helping us to have great sex lives. It’s not, it’s about manipulating us to make money, and so boom, it’s so important for our kids to see that because this is their future. This is what they are going to be seeing around them.

So my youngest right now is 17, and I remember when I first started this a decade ago, talking to my daughter and saying, Hey, it’s very likely that the boys you go out with are going to have an issue with pornography. She had four boyfriends in high school.

Three of them happened to be a member of our church. I’m a Latter Day Saint, and they all had an issue with pornography.

Anne (08:15): Didn’t we have your daughter on the podcast talking about these? It’s also something that comes up in BTR.ORG Group Sessions a lot.

Dina Alexander (08:18): Oh, yes. That’s right. Thank you. Then, but also having to now tell my sons, when they started dating. Saying, the days have changed because that industry, that porn industry is now targeting our daughters so much that you are going to need to have those discussions when you’re dating.

When you’re thinking about marrying your partner, you’re going to have to have discussions about porn and how that has affected your and your partner’s ideas of sex.

Whether you’ve seen porn once or five times or 50 times, it is going to affect how you think about sex and how you think about your own body. You’re going to need to have those discussions that it’s our sons need to be aware of that as well. Now, it’s no longer just preparing our daughters.

30 Days of Sex Talks for Ages 12+

Anne (09:03): Alright, Dina, so I’ve got 30 Days of Sex Talks for Ages 12 Plus, the Second Edition in my hands, and I’m just going to randomly flip this thing open and see what we’ve got and let’s just talk about this concept here as we close today. Does that sound like a plan? It’s my favorite book to help me teach healthy sexuality.

Dina Alexander (09:50): Sounds great.

Anne (09:51): Alright, here we go. So I’m closing my eyes and I am randomly doing this. Hopefully we won’t get your least favorite one. Alright. Oh my word. You’ll not believe this. Page 17, “Pornography,” literally, that was just completely random.

Completely random. So when I’m looking at this book, I can see a couple things. There are some definitions, for example, so it’s got the definition of pornography, how to start the conversation.

Exploring the Interactive Features of Dina’s E-Books to Teach Healthy Sexuality

Dina Alexander (10:23): The Kindle version, these are all clickable links. If you buy the book on our website, you can choose to buy the Kindle version or another kind of ebook that is good for any kind of tablet or laptop. So then those are linkable.

If you buy the print version, then you would have to type in the name of the article. Most of these are articles going back to our website that have just a little more information or if you want to go a little deeper on certain topics. That’s why we have these additional resources. But like I said, if you buy it from the website as a PDF or as a Kindle, those are all clickable links.

Anne (11:04): Awesome. So one of the sections is questions for your child. What an great way to teach healthy sexuality. So you’ve got a start the conversation and then you’ve got some ideas and then questions for your child. Let’s just read run of ’em randomly. Okay.

I’m going to close my eyes and I’m just going to point to one of these questions. Here we go. Ready there. Okay. How do your friends feel about porn? That’s a really good question. When you got feedback from parents, how did they feel about this question section?

Thoughtful Questions to Teach Healthy Sexuality to Kids

Dina Alexander (11:32): They loved it because we don’t just pick typical questions of, oh, okay, what do you think pornography is?

Where have you seen it? It’s like, yeah, those are important foundational questions, but again, we want to create this big picture for helping our kids understand the world around them. Especially something like pornography or in the lesson proceeding.

It’s just about more different media and how it affects our sex life. These are simple questions. How do your friends feel about porn? It’s typically not as threatening because you’re not putting your child on the spot, you’re letting them just think about what are the attitudes around sex?

That’s been one of the most eye-opening questions for me to ask my kids what they’re hearing at school. For my daughter, for my two sons, it has been amazing and sometimes scary.

When I did a few years ago, I did a little thing on predators for my YouTube about how to identify predators, et cetera. I had my son at the time, my middle son who was 16, edit it, and he goes, Mom, everything you said in there was right.

Helping Children Identify Harmful Behaviors

(12:41): And I said, what do you mean? In my mind, I’m like, well, of course it’s right. But he said, I had a kid in my class one time show me pictures of nudes of his girlfriend, and I asked him, what are you doing with those? How did you get those?

And he started telling my son how he got those, and he said, Mom, it was everything that you had said in that predator conversation. It was the grooming her, giving her compliments, making her feel special, blah, blah, blah.

And so that right there, great conversation with my son about predators, but helping them to see that these things are going on around them.

Unfortunately kids are learning predatory behavior at younger and younger ages, thanks to pornography again. Is just a simple question that for any of these topics.

When you go to the masturbation topic, abusive relationships topic, or the positive aspects of sex section in this book, asking them what they’re hearing in school. Asking what their friends are talking about is eyeopening. If we don’t teach healthy sexuality, they will learn it from somewhere else.

“We want our kids to understand that we’re a safe place.”

(13:46): But my youngest now, again, who’s 17, him telling me about kids, talking about their recent sex-capades of their body count in the locker room. Talking about, oh, that they’re dating and now they have moved on the fifth or sixth date have moved to oral sex.

These things are just helpful to us as parents to get that understanding of what our kids are going through, what they are experiencing. It is up to us to teach healthy sexuality.

And also it typically helps us realize, okay, I need to talk about these because everyone else in a sense is talking to our kids about sex in some way. We want our kids to understand I’m a safe place. I’m not going to be angry or judgmental. If you’ve heard something, if you’ve experienced something, I’m here to love you, give you information and help you be a strong human being.

Helping Children Understand the Abusive Nature of Pornography

Anne (14:37): Well, and for me, always teaching them that these things are abusive. So this is pornography, but it’s not just wrong. The reason why it’s wrong is because it’s abusive. It’s not wrong because your pastor said it’s wrong.

It’s not because it’s embarrassing, it’s wrong because it’s abusive to another human being. In order to engage in that type of behavior, predatory behavior, you are being abusive, you’re harming someone, and that is so, so important for people to learn.

I think back in the day, well, if I use porn, it’s going to hurt me. Maybe I’ll go to hell, but at least I’m not hurting anybody else. They didn’t realize 10, 15 years ago.

But anytime you do any of the behaviors surrounding porn, deceit, hiding any of those things, using using manipulation, you are abusing someone and that makes you an abuser and you need to stop in order to be healthy

You can learn how to teach healthy sexuality.

Dina Alexander (15:35): And that we can do better that just because again, other people are doing it, our neighbor, our friends at school, our friends at lunchtime, that we don’t have to do that. And that again, that there are simple ways that even that our kids can stand up and say to their friends, that’s not cool.

That’s bigger than you have any idea of, and I love that you said that about just, again, teaching our kids that it’s abusive because that’s what I love about our books is we’ve made them very open so that you can put your knowledge, your experience, your research, your values into each conversation.

All of us have different things that we want to emphasize, that we understand that we’ve been through. To teach healthy sexuality we just get on this whole other level and we want our kids to get it. And so that’s where these can be such powerful discussions.

“We took them to that place of safety and openness.”

(16:26): One of the best side effects of when we were preparing these books way back was how great the conversations were. We would set out to have a five minute conversation, maybe 10 minutes, and our kids would come back to us with such great questions. It was a great opportunity to teach healthy sexuality.

The discussion usually went 30, 40 minutes because they had such insightful questions, because we took them to that place of safety and openness.

And also we were asking these questions from the books that were, again, not just typical, okay, do you understand penis and vagina? It’s like, okay, great. They get that there’s so much more to sex these days that we want them to understand that full amazing picture.

Anne (17:08): Or the full just blah picture. I mean, it’s great. I simultaneously tell my kids sex, for some people feels really good and it’s awesome. And for me it was just not great. I didn’t like it. And maybe your dad is abusive. Most likely, yes, that is why, but I have never had sex with someone who wasn’t abusive.

Teach Healthy Sexuality: Inaccurate Media Portrayals of Sex

Dina Alexander (17:30): But I love that they’re getting that picture. That they’re understanding all the pieces to it, that it’s not like television. It’s not this amazing screaming simultaneous orgasm every time, and everyone lives happily ever after that again, that there is –

Anne (17:45): It’s like never like that for the people who are like, oh, sex is beautiful. I’m always like, is it? I don’t know. It’s fine. It’s fine. I’m not anti-sex for sure, but I just didn’t enjoy it at all because of my situation.

To let our sons know and our daughters that sex can be, I hear from other people, I believe you, that it can be great. That’s awesome. Shine on, good for you.

But if there’s abuse involved, it’s not going to be fun. It’s not going to be enjoyable. It’s going to be miserable for somebody. And also the person who even is the predator in that situation, it might feel good for that moment, but they’re not getting what sex was meant to be about.

Understanding Abusive Sex

Dina Alexander (18:33): There’s just no way for an abuser or a predator like that to not go to that dark place after maybe they got off, but then they go back to that dark cave. So again, it’s –

Anne (18:44): Well, it’s all about them.

Dina Alexander (18:45): Absolutely.

Anne (18:46): It’s all about them. It’s about that hit and it’s about their orgasm and it’s about their relationship to themselves, but it’s never about the we.

Dina Alexander (18:55): That’s a perfect analogy for porn because it’s never about the partner. It’s always about themselves, my own orgasm, my own pleasure, and what I’m going to do to you, not what we’re going to do together and create and share together as sex partners.

So that’s exactly right. And again, helping our kids see the ins and outs, but I think also helping them understand the power that they have within them to have good relationships. Also to help to create that life for themself by empowering them with this kind of knowledge, to understand that full picture, that yes, sex can be amazing, but sex can be horrific if not done kindly. 

Sex Is Not One-Size-Fits-All

Anne (19:42): Or just boring. It can also just be boring. I remember telling my ex, is it okay if I read, can I just read during this? Because this is so boring.

Dina Alexander (19:56): Oh man. I would’ve loved to have seen that face when you said that.

Anne (19:59): Yeah. I was like, what’s going on? I just feel like you’re just like this hairy bear and you’re literally, you’re poking me with a stick on the inside and it’s just not that fun. I’m sorry. Would you want to get poked with a stick? No, no. Anyway, he was always so offended when I was just like, this is just whatever. Why is this happening?

Dina Alexander (20:20): I love you. I love you.

Anne (20:28): Alright, well, you’re amazing, Dina. Thank you so much for spending time with me today, and talking about how to teach kids healthy sexuality Dina,

Dina Alexander (20:41): Thank you so much for having me. I loved it.

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