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Raising Sex-Positive Kids

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My daughter is 12 years old, and she has already been groped. It happened at a local water park last summer in the wave pool, the kind of swimming pool where mechanically generated waves simulate the swell of the ocean. As one wave lifted her up, she felt the hand of a teenage boy grabbing her bikinied butt. How strange, she thought. It must have been a mistake; maybe the wave had carried him into her. Yet the same thing happened to her 11-year-old friend who was swimming nearby. Then they heard two more girls remarking loudly that the boy had touched them, too. Apparently, this young man was groping every female buttock in the pool like he was testing for ripe fruit at the farmers’ market. Soon, the two lifeguards on duty were frantically blowing their whistles. The waves stopped and the red-handed boy, standing by the lifeguard station with his father, was told to leave the water park immediately.

While the news that my young daughter had been groped horrified me, I couldn’t have imagined a better outcome. She was with a friend and her friend’s mother, able to share and process the experience and even laughed about it a little. More important, the teenage offender was caught, confronted, and suffered the consequences. He was publically shamed for his stupid and intrusive acts, as he deserved to be. And yet, my girl had been groped. She had been initiated into the world of women everywhere who are plagued by men behaving badly. Or in the words of a recent “Saturday Night Live” skit, “Welcome to Hell.”

The recent spate of news stories about women (and some men) being sexually harassed in the entertainment industry and in politics may be painful to witness, but it’s also liberating. The #metoo movement has broken the code of silence and unleashed a formidable backlash against many men who have unfairly wielded their power. Women and men are talking; mothers and fathers are talking. And many of us are wondering: How did we get here, and how can we stem the tide of sexual misconduct for the generations to come? How can we do things a little more mindfully so that we can raise girls who are empowered and expressive, and boys who are enlightened and empathetic?

A True Yes and a True No

Alicia Muñoz, a psychotherapist and couples’ counselor based in Falls Church, Virginia, sees one solution in the growing trend toward raising sex-positive kids. “Sex positive” is a relatively new buzz-phrase that’s gaining traction in the therapy world and beyond. “It’s about helping your children grow up with a sense of sexuality as a natural, normal, healthy, pleasurable part of being alive, of being a human being,” says Muñoz. “That’s easier said than done, especially in a culture that is so weighted toward sex negativity and gender biases and power differentials that are unfair. It’s a tall order, but an important thing.”

One essential message of sex positivity is that any sexual activity, and any touching of body parts, should be consensual. “Taking the shame out of sexuality is part of what provides a foundation for the awareness of consent,” says Muñoz. “It’s being able to grow up in an environment where you’re not ashamed of your own sexuality, or of sexuality in general. That’s part of what empowers you to have a voice, and having a voice means you’re connected to your right to give a true yes or a true no in different situations, including sexual ones. And on the other side of it, you’re primed to respect another’s true yes or true no when you view sex as a positive, integral, normal part of being human.”

Raising kids to be sex positive is a lifestyle that begins at the onset of parenthood. Many parents worry about when to have “the talk” with their children, but, in a sense, we’re already talking about sex to our kids before they have language. “From the moment they’re born, babies and kids are receiving data related to sex and sexuality and gender—through their senses, touch, longings, hunger, their relationship to their body, and their parents’ or caregiver’s relationships to their bodies,” says Muñoz. Yet the time will come when children want to put sex into words they can understand. And the sex-positive way for parents is to start talking about sex as soon as a child starts asking about it. “When a child asks a question, even if that child is just two and a half or three, you answer it in simple, true language,” says Muñoz. “You call a vulva a vulva, a penis a penis. You don’t call it a wee-wee or a pee-pee or another nickname. You show that, even in the naming of body parts, there’s no need to hide it.”

While the goal is to remove any negativity and evasiveness from sexuality, it’s important not to take the message too far and give your child more than he or she is ready to handle. Talk about sex should be age-appropriate, keeping in mind what young brains need. “Little kids need short-sentence explanations rather than long lectures,” says Muñoz. “For a four-year-old who asks where babies come from, a short answer might be that babies are created by a man and a woman giving each other a special kind of hug.” Yet with sex positivity, the aim is to always expand the lens of sexuality and give a sense of inclusiveness beyond limited cultural norms or biases. So, parents might want to add that some babies are created by a man’s seed that’s put with the help of a doctor into a woman, and then that baby might be raised by two men, or it might be raised by two women. Then no matter which path the child takes later in terms of sexual preference or gender identity, the stage is set for a sense of normalcy and acceptance from the outset.

Following Your Child’s Lead

With so much buzz about sexual harassment and assault in the news and popular culture, parents may wonder how to talk about such heavy issues with their children—and how to protect them from the bullying and power imbalances that start as early as elementary school. “Most kids don’t pay attention to what happens in the news, so in terms of discussing something disturbing with your child, it’s best to wait until the child raises up the issue themselves,” says Stanley Goldstein, PhD, a child clinical psychologist based in Middletown and the author of several books including Troubled Children/Troubled Parents: The Way Out 2nd edition (Wyston Books, 2011). The idea is to follow the child’s lead; equally important is to speak with them rather than to them, even when you’re laying down guidelines designed to keep them safe—such as explaining to your teenage daughter why you don’t want her to walk alone at night.

“It’s crucially important not to say to a child or teenager, ‘Do this because I say so.’ If you do that, then you repress the capacity for abstract thinking. Instead, say, ‘Do it because…’ and express your concerns. Explain that the world is generally a safe place, but you have to be cautious. If you feel that they’re not ready to do certain things, tell them no and tell them why.” While many parents believe that the major influence for teenagers is their peer group, Goldstein posits that the major influence for healthy teenagers remains the parents. “They might say, ‘Joey does this, so why can’t I do it?’ They might give you a hard time, but they’ll appreciate it. There’s nothing worse for a child than feeling like their parent doesn’t care.”

In the same spirit, parents are modeling behaviors to their children all the time, without speaking. Empathy is not something that you can inculcate into a child, but they’ll develop the capacity for it through osmosis, says Goldstein. “If the child sees a healthy interaction between the parents, sees them supporting each other and talking about their feelings, they’ll grow up with these kinds of capacities. Empathy is something that really derives from the family experience.” Yet some things do need to be put into words, and in a world where sexual misconduct is rampant, therapists tend to agree about one thing to tell your kids unequivocally: “The hard and fast rule is that you don’t have the right to put your hands on someone else, period. And no one should put their hands on you. Period.”

The Power of Speaking Out

Parents are not the only influencers; cultural messaging is very powerful as well. Terrence Real, a psychotherapist who wrote I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (Scribner, 1998) and other books, says that boys lose their hearts when they’re five or six, and girls lose their voices when they’re 11 or 12. “Five or six is when the socialization process starts to really impact boys as they get shamed for doing things they were allowed to do when they were younger,” says Muñoz. “They might be called weak or girly. So, when you have a boy, how do you keep him connected to his heart yet still have him belong in his circle of peers? How do you keep your girls raising their hands in class rather than becoming wallflowers? How do you keep them speaking up when the society says that if you speak up you’re a bitch, or you’re not as attractive?”

Expressiveness in girls is crucial to encourage for two main purposes: their ability to share difficult experiences, and their empowerment in speaking out and defending themselves. “Letting your child lead the conversation, or lead the play when they are younger, creates a space where your child trusts you to share things such as, ‘Oh, one of the boys grabs my behind at school’ or ‘I saw a video with naked people on the internet.'” Parents can practice not reacting in fear or letting their anxiety show, but opening a space to calmly help and guide them. In turn, some self-defense teachers have girls practice yelling on the top of their lungs and using their voice, so if they are assaulted or groped in the subway or on the street, they can call attention to the perpetrator and get help if help is needed.

To raise sex-positive kids requires some work from the parents, and not all of it is easy. If a parent has any sexual trauma or abuse in their own past, it’s essential for them to be willing to face and work through it, not only for their own sake but for their children’s sake. Otherwise, says Muñoz, “In your well-intentioned desire to protect your children, you’re going to be communicating a lot of sex-negative messages to them.” Another challenge for parents is resisting the impulse to impose their power as adults over their children in everyday interactions. “What they learn there is, ‘Oh, I have to obey somebody more powerful than me even if it doesn’t feel good,'” says Muñoz. “Not telling your child they have to obey isn’t the same thing as having the inmates run the asylum. Instead it’s telling them, ‘I’m with you. We work as a team.'”

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Hear him moan

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The 5 steamiest sites for audio porn

Not all porn has to be visual.

Who says you have to watch porn, anyway? Audio porn has been booming for years on the internet, boasting faster download speeds, better cost efficiency, and more discreet options than “watching” video pornography. Audio porn even predates PornHub, with everything from phone sex to erotica audiobooks to dirty recordings passed around from lover to lover.

And now professional stars and amateur creators are out there creating porn for your ears. So if you’re looking for some audio porn sites to dive into late at night, here are some of the best on the internet.

The best audio porn sites on the internet

1) Aural Honey

For listeners that like a touch of British charm in their audio porn, Aural Honey is sure to delight.

Run by a self-described “English tea addict with a delightfully dirty mind,” Aural Honey focuses on immersive porn that makes the listener feel like they’re really in the scene. Half of the site is dedicated to relatively tame “Sweet Audio.” These are typically girlfriend roleplays about snuggling, cuddling, or romantic nights together as the rain pours down outside the window. But the other half of the site, “Erotic Audio,” features nearly two dozen audio porn recordings that range from kinky submission to Daddy worship. Highlights include “The Whores of Dracula,” in which two dominant vampire sisters—inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula—seduce a helpless man. Then there’s “Drenched for Daddy,” perfect for any listener eager for some age play and body worship.

Aural Honey also hosts a Patreon where interested listeners can pledge monthly payments in exchange for rewards. $5 patrons receive exclusive livestreams and early access to the site’s erotica section, whereas $10 patrons can listen to Patreon-only audio porn and request a three-minute custom recording. You can check out the Patreon page for more rewards and additional patron subscription tiers.

‘Drenched for Daddy,’ an audio porn recording focusing on ageplay by performer Aural Honey.

2) r/GoneWildAudio

If there’s one free audio porn site you should keep in your bookmarks, it’s Reddit’s r/GoneWildAudio. The subreddit lets bedroom performers upload audio recordings of themselves in compromising situations, from masturbating to detailing BDSM bondage scenarios. After being verified by the subreddit’s moderators, users can either upload their own recordings from scratch, or take a preexisting script and record it for the subreddit’s listeners. The best thing about r/GoneWildAudio is that it’s entirely community-oriented, so there’s a wide selection to check out that breaks from traditional porn made for straight men.

r/GoneWildAudio is open to submissions from any Reddit user.

There are two ways to search for content on r/GoneWildAudio. For one, the site uses a tagging system noting performers’ genders. For instance, F4M recordings is audio porn developed by women for men. M4A, meanwhile, features porn by men for listeners of any gender. And then there are more complicated tags for specific interests, like MM4F recordings from two men for a woman, and TF4TF tags by a trans woman for another trans woman.

Users can also type in keywords and look for porn through Reddit’s built-in search feature. For instance, many audio recordings dealing with BDSM are tagged “bondage.” Anal sex, rape play scripts, age play, pet play, and other fetishes feature throughout the site too. To get started, check out “My Daughter Is an Idiot for Breaking Up With You… Let Me Help You Feel Better,” where a sweet and affirming mom hooks up with her daughter’s ex in a slowly building scene. And then there’s “Bathroom Sex with a Stranger,” where a girl seduces another woman from behind and tops her in a bar bathroom.

3) YouTube

Surprisingly enough, YouTube is a great stop for softcore audio porn. While the site largely refuses to host video porn in order to maintain a relatively safe-for-work atmosphere, audio recordings aren’t vigorously bullied off the platform. That means there are plenty of adult performers and mature ASMR artists recording the mildest of mild audio porn for listeners to enjoy.

Take a cruise down YouTube’s ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) section and you’ll find dozens of artists creating audio porn and erotica. Some include intense kissing sessions, like BarbieASMR’s lesbian “Angels Kissing.” And then there are artists like Laila Love, who mixes traditional ASMR play with everything from moaning to roleplaying an ex-girlfriend that kidnaps and binds her lover. These videos are particularly great because they combine audio porn with an accompanying video, acting out sounds and facial expressions to heighten the recording’s immersion.

Then there’s audio porn of the classic variety, posted across the site from various YouTube users. A quick search for “audio porn” or “sexy audio” brings up dozens of videos geared around all sorts of sexual fantasies, from lesbian roleplays to steamy encounters with total strangers. For some of the hottest examples, check out TopSecret Audio, which tackles roleplays ranging from mild dirty talk to full-on erotica. For something sounding a bit more authentic, listen to Down n’ Dirty, a podcast series dedicated entirely to authentic erotica inspired by real life.

BarbieASMR/YouTube

4) Tumblr

It’s an open secret that Tumblr is a great place to find porn. And yes, that includes audio porn. The site is filled with performers sharing their dirty moments and sexual fantasies, from masturbating to having sex. In particular, amateur audio porn is pretty popular on the site, and there’s plenty of sexy real-life sex sessions to go around.

On Audible Porn, Tumblr users can submit their own recordings for the blog, featuring anything from solo masturbation sessions to sex with others. Sex and moans are both common themes on the site, along with plenty of boys and (more often than not) girls touching themselves. Some of the top picks include a girl reaching multiple orgasms from masturbation and “Cute boy moans,” where a boy clearly in heat moans and orgasms. There are also several recordings dedicated to car sex, including one where a couple has particularly loud sex with the radio on.

Then there’s Sounds of Pleasure, another submission-based audio porn blog. Users can submit their own solo masturbation sessions, along with dirty talk, sex, and more. The site has a sizable tagging system for browsing, with audio porn excerpts for everything from lesbian porn to dirty accents to jerk off instruction audio posts. To check out the site’s full offerings, take a look through its archive. Sounds of Pleasure updates regularly, too, making it a top pick for any interested audio porn fan on Tumblr.

5) Audible

Amazon’s Audible is, aptly enough, a hidden gem for audio porn recordings of all kinds. While Amazon doesn’t advertise the site’s erotica audiobook library publicly, some of the best finds on the internet are right on Audible—including erotica that puts Fifty Shades of Grey to shame.

The site features stories that range from lesbian erotica to science-fiction-themed pornography. Particular highlights include Orgasmic: Erotica for Women and Fifty Shades of Lewd Erotica, compilation audio porn recordings that feature short stories for that perfect night in. Audible also hosts audiobook erotica series, meaning listeners can literally grab days’ worth of erotica from their Audible subscription. The six-part series The Marketplace, for instance, features 15 hours worth of BDSM smut in just the first book alone.

Signing up with Audible is pretty easy. There’s a 30-day free trial available when you give Audible a debit or credit card number. Once the free trial is over, users can then purchase a recurring Audible membership between multiple plans. There’s one book per month for $14.95 each month, 2 books for $22.95, 12 books for a yearly $149.50 fee, or 24 books all at once for $229.50 per year. Alongside membership plans, Audible users can also buy more credits to pick up additional books per month, which is a great way to keep on listening to audio porn without changing up a subscription.

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The 5 steamiest sites to get your BDSM erotica fix

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Screw watching porn. Read it.

Back when the internet first came into existence, watching porn was not a proper thing you could do. That’s because most porn was written. But not to worry—there was still plenty of it to go around. Give people a way to be horny, and they’ll most certainly jump on the opportunity.

So much has changed since those early days before the World Wide Web and even though online videos have boomed in the past two decades, there is still plenty of story-based smut floating around on the internet. That’s good news for BDSM fans. Turns out the internet is filled with erotica detailing everything from light bondage to knife play. Here are some of the best story-based porn sites to check out for kink.

5 best places to read BDSM stories

1) Literotica

As far as online BDSM stories go, Literotica is legendary. Originally founded in 1998, Literotica is a free erotica hub where users from around the world can submit anything from erotic poems to novels. Over the past two decades, the site has made quite the name for itself in the online porn world, as it’s practically synonymous with the term “online erotica.”

Of course that means the site has a huge BDSM short story collection. There’s plenty to check out, from light power plays to hardcore bondage. Plus, because Literotica is centered around cultivating and supporting erotic stories, the site has an enormous catalog of short story series from years past. Expect multi-chapter goodness for those late nights alone.

If you’re a newbie to the site, there are a couple Literotica stories worth checking out: “Bruises on Bruises” is a one-shot story where a submissive woman details her dominant’s erotic brutality on her body. And then there’s “Seven Days of Service,” a seven-part BDSM series mixing business with pleasure between a dominant and his submissive. For more BDSM short stories, check out the site’s top-rated stories of all time in the BDSM tag.

2) Nifty

Gay and lesbian BDSM stories are plentiful on the internet, as long as you’re willing to look for them. And just like Literotica, Nifty remains essential in the LGBTQ community for queer erotica.

Originally launched in 1993, Nifty hosts free stories largely dealing with gay and lesbian sex. That means plenty of bondage, submission, and domination appears on the site. Right on Nifty’s front page, the site is split into four categories: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. From there, users can choose erotica based on varying categories, which include “authoritarian” and “bondage” BDSM stories.

Before hopping onto Nifty, though, it’s worth pointing out that some stories feature underage and teenage protagonists. It’s definitely an uncomfortable experience, to say the least. Kinks run the gamut from gay college hookups to bestiality as well, so make sure to check the tags before reading a story. Also, quality varies. Some stories are incredibly well-written, while others are severly lacking.

Still, Nifty is worth checking out if you need a queer erotica fix. Of particular note: One story deals with a trans girl’s slutty diaries, including her relationship with a submissive man who ultimately dominates her in his own way. And then there’s  “Dykes Seduce Pizza Girl,” where two lesbians pleasure a submissive delivery driver. There’s also a “best of” list detailing some of Nifty’s highlights over the years.

3) Tumblr

Love or hate it, Tumblr is well known for being a major porn hub in the BDSM world. And yes, that includes kinky sex stories. The site is filled with them. Blogs throughout the site are dedicated to BDSM erotica, with both one-shots and story series gracing its webpages. For instance, Tumblr user sweetlysubmissive writes BDSM stories featuring plenty of delicious dominant and submissive play. And then there’s Tasks BDSM Community Stories, which features a sizable number of BDSM series ranging from lesbian pet play in college Greek life to a rich, bratty bottom getting her fill.

The best part about Tumblr, though, is the site’s search system. This means that anyone can search for BDSM content without necessarily following another person’s blog. So for someone interested in a specific kink, such as bondage or spanking, simply typing in terms on the site’s search bar can lead to some pretty enticing results. This makes Tumblr not just an endless resource for BDSM literature, but one where there’s always new kinks to explore.

4) r/GoneWildStories

Fictional stories are great, but what about real-life encounters? That’s what r/GoneWildStories is all about.

Unlike r/EroticLiterature, which is dedicated to fictional erotic stories, r/GoneWildStories features real-life sexual exploits detailed for the reader’s entertainment. No unrealistic characters, no stilted dialogue; every single story in the subreddit is (probably) straight from real life. Granted, there’s no way to confirm whether a user’s sexual exploits really happened, but isn’t part of the fun—envisioning every story as true to life?

Like other adult subreddits, r/GoneWildStories uses a tag system to track BDSM posts, and many stories listed on the site aren’t necessarily kinky. Some are just random hook-ups. But the site gets plenty of exciting stories about doms, subs, and bondage for readers to look through, making it worth a bookmark.

For instance, one post details a pet’s first time wearing her collar for her master. Another explores a kinky trans woman’s experience with her first threesome, along with plenty of bondage. As far as real-life kink writing goes, r/GoneWildStories is worth the look.

Who said BDSM stories have to stay written? Reddit’s r/GoneWildAudio is an ocean of free audio stories, created by performers recording straight from their bedrooms.

With r/GoneWildAudio, performers pick from a series of scripts or create their own recordings based on a sexual fantasy. Content varies from vanilla concepts to hardcore BDSM scenes. There’s also plenty of alternative kinks to check out on the site too, like pet play, daddy doms, and forced feminization.

As with r/GoneWildStories, not every recording on the subreddit is BDSM-focused. But the site has an enormous selection to browse through using BDSM-adjacent tags, like “bondage,” “rope,” “domme,” and other terms and phrases. We recommend “Shut Up, I’m Sucking Your Cock,” which features some light domming alongside cock worship and oral sex. And then there’s “This is What Happens to Bad Girls,” where a domme teases another girl, promising to tie her up and spank her.

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Lessons In Love For Generation Snapchat

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Tatiana Curran, right, and her boyfriend Jake Cowen-Whitman say their three-year relationship is an anomaly amongst their peers. But they readily concede that even they have serious issues around intimacy.

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Along with explicit sexual education classes, some schools are beginning to offer more G-rated lessons on love. Experts say the so-called “iGen” is woefully unprepared to have healthy, caring romantic relationships and young people need more guidance. So schools are adding classes that are less about the “plumbing” of relationships, and more about the passion.

At Beaver Country Day School, a private school near Boston, Matthew Lippman has taught whole courses on love and relationships. He loves teaching about love so much, he finds ways to delve into it every chance he gets.

In his American Literature class recently, he launched into a discussion about love songs.

“This is my favorite” he announces as he blasts “Despacito” by Luis Fonsi. The students howl.

“Are you kidding me?!”

“It’s so dirty!” the students say.

“Just kidding!” Lippman laughs. But now that he’s got their attention, he starts drilling them on what the song says about love — and lust.

Senior Tatiana Curran wades in cautiously. “It’s sexual,” she says. “But that doesn’t mean it’s love … y’know what I mean?”

“I understand,” Lippman reassures her, gently buttressing what may be a subtle distinction to some.

Lippman then introduces the class to what really is one of his favorites: “The First Time Ever I Saw Your

Matthew Lippman loves teaching about love so much he finds ways to slide in a lesson comparing contemporary and decades-old love songs during an African-American Literature class.

Face” by Roberta Flack. The song starts to unfurl so slowly, you can literally see these millennials getting antsy. Several seem relieved when Lippman finally stops the song, and starts pressing them on its underlying message.

“It’s showing that love takes time, that it’s not something that you rush into,” offers Joddy Nwankwo, noting how incongruous that is in today’s culture of high-speed everything and blithe hook-ups.

“A lot of (students) have short attention spans,” says Aiden Geary. “People don’t have a lot of long term relationships because we want everything like now, and then once we have it we’re bored with it.”

Curran and her boyfriend Jake Cowen-Whitman, who’ve been together for three years, are something of an exception. “I was asked literally the other day … ‘Aren’t you bored?'” Curran laughs.

But as one of those “iGen” teens who tend to text more than talk, even Curran readily cops to having some serious issues with intimacy.

“I get really uncomfortable, when it comes to like really romantic things,” she says. “Like I hate eye contact. It took me almost two years to actually fully make eye contact with Jake for a full sentence.”

The struggle to be present

“I think that’s the biggest piece to all of this,” says Lippman. “So much of this intimacy thing is being present, and that is hard for them.”

For sure, not all of them. Some young people are persevering and managing to forge meaningful, intimate relationships. And in some ways, technology can actually enable some difficult conversations. Some teens text things they wouldn’t have said at all if they had to do it face-to-face.

But, Lippman says, a significant number of young people are clearly struggling to make those real connections, and classes like his dovetail with a trend toward whole-child education.

He doesn’t pretend that one class can be a cure, but his lessons do seem to be resonating with his students.

“Walking into the class, I felt like I knew a good amount about love,” says Jade Bacherman. “But now I’m realizing that there’s a lot more to learn.”

“I don’t think we’re prepared to know what a healthy relationship looks like,” says Lisa Winshall. While kids get instruction on things like consent and sexual violence, she says they desperately need more coaching “on a much deeper level [about] what really taking care of someone else means.”

It’s exactly what Harvard Graduate school of Education Senior Lecturer Rick Weissbourd has found. His recent research shows young people are struggling with how to conceive of romantic relationships, let alone how to actually navigate them. “It’s a deep underlying anxiety,” he says, “so they’re looking for wisdom.” And it’s not enough to just give them “disaster prevention” kinds of sex ed classes, that only deal with pregnancy, STD’s and sexual violence, he adds.

“I think we are failing epically to have basic conversations with young people about the subtle, tender generous, demanding work about learning how to love,” he says. According to his data, about 70 percent of young people crave those conversations.

For them, the motivation may be a more fulfilling love life. But Weissbourd says the societal stakes are high; healthier relationships, he says, will pay dividends on all kinds of social ills, from sexual harassment and domestic abuse, to depression and alcoholism.

Relationships beyond Snapchat

Another school that’s trying to answer the call is The Urban school, a private high school in San Francisco. Health teacher Shafia Zaloom says she too was alarmed by teens’ social struggles and their belief that they “can build relationships over Snapchat or Instagram.” So she started a kind of “Dating 101” curriculum that covers things as basic as how to ask someone out. In one recent class, students brainstormed out loud.

“Like ‘Do you want to, like, go see a movie some time?'” suggests Sophomore Somerset Miles Dwyer with a nervous giggle.

“Yeah,” Zaloom nods, but then reminds the student to add “with me” at the end of the question, “to clarify things, because it’s not like ‘Oh, come hang out with us’ and chill with the group.” When you say “with me,” she explains, “that communicates more clearly your intentions that you want to be spending time together and getting to know each other.”

Zaloom’s course also tutors the kids on everything from how to break up to how to take things to the next level.

In one lesson they critique Hollywood love scenes. “That’s totally unrealistic,” says Miles Dwyer, as multiple romantic kisses and dreamy declarations of love unfold seamlessly, over a dramatic musical soundtrack . It all unleashes a slew of confessions about how much more awkward their own encounters usually are, and how insecure that makes them.

“On TV, the awkwardness isn’t there,” says Dominic Lauber. So when things don’t go as smoothly “in your real life, it feels like you’re doing something wrong,” he says. “So it could just feel like something you’d want to avoid. Kids nod and snap their fingers in agreement.

“Yeah, that’s definitely a fear,” says Abby Tuttle. “It’s all about vulnerability.”

Pushing through awkwardness

Boston College Professor Kerry Cronin says the insecurity and aversion to taking risks persist, so even the older students she sees on campus, still struggle with basic dating protocol. “You know they’re really just sort of numskulls about basic social steps,” she says. “They really aren’t sure how to handle themselves.”

It’s exactly why she now gives students a homework assignment — in an introductory Philosophy and Theology course — to actually ask someone out, in person.

“It’s mostly about pushing thru awkwardness,” Cronin says, “and finding out that even if you get rejected isn’t going to kill you. Because [this generation is] terrified of failure. And resilience is a major issue.”

Data is hard to come by, but anecdotally, private schools seem more apt than public schools to expand the usual “reading writing and ‘rithmatic” to also include romance.

“Our teachers are already burdened enough,” says Ashley Beaver, a public school substitute teacher and mom in San Diego. She says educating kids about love should come from parents, not schools, especially given how schools have handled sex ed.

“I mean they talked to middle schoolers about flavored condoms,'” she says. “It’s just too much too soon. So, no, I just don’t trust the institution to do it correctly.”

Indeed, G-rated discussions are not likely to be any less controversial in schools than the old-school X-rated ones says Jonathan Zimmerman of University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education. He agrees that the instruction is critically needed, but he says “we shouldn’t pretend that we have anything like agreement on these subjects.”

“Frankly, it’s a lot easier to get consensus on the sperm and the egg than it is on lust vs. love,” he says. “These are issues of values and ethics and culture, and in a country that is so irreducibly multicultural, we should expect there to be profound controversy and disagreement about this approach.”

Ideally, Harvard’s Weissbourd says, the lessons should come from school and home. And while many parents may think their kids don’t want to hear it from mom or dad, Weissbourd’s research shows they actually do.

As Professor Cronin put it, this generation was raised by helicopter parents — they expect to be coached on everything.

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Envisioning A New Approach To Postpartum Sex

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Welcoming a baby into the world is an incredible experience, but it is certainly not a seamless one. Although your new bundle of joy may be small, metaphorically speaking, they occupy a lot of space, with your partner and intimacy being the first thing to be pushed to the side.

As part of running MysteryVibe, I speak to women and men from different countries, backgrounds, and cultures every day – and one of the most common themes of discussions or questions people ask me is around reclaiming intimacy and sexual pleasure after childbirth.

The 6-week check-up often marks the moment when new moms are physically cleared by their doctors to have sex again. But while you might be given the green light, many women are simply not ready emotionally for penetrative sex.

You have welcomed a new human into the world, and while your heart could burst from all the love you feel, likewise you might be worried sick about their well-being at every moment, ready to cry at the drop of a pin.

Between the physical recovery of birth, a flurry of activities and the emotional rollercoaster of hormones, the last thing on your mind during the postpartum is being physically available for yourself, much less your partner.

But that does not mean that you have to give up on intimacy altogether.

It is time to reframe the 6 week check-up, and move beyond its unrealistic presumption that makes new mothers feel pressured to jump back into the sack after a string of sexless months, and guilty or ashamed when they cannot bring themselves to do it right away.

Rather, we propose a new vision of postpartum sex as a gentle journey of intimacy that leads to a fulfilling, pleasurable relationship with your partner, where sex does not have to mean intercourse right away.

A journey that will not necessarily lead you back to your pre-baby sex life, but to a new normal that can even be more emotionally (and physically) satisfying than ever before!

The rules of the game – go at your own pace, take it slow, communicate your needs to your partner, sit back, relax and let yourself enjoy the pleasure.  Here we offer you a few tips to kickstart your journey.

1. TLC- tender loving care. Before you can be emotionally or physically available for your partner, you must carve out some time for some self-love. Perhaps let dad or grandparents have some alone time with the new arrival – take a bubble bath, go for a walk in nature or perhaps cuddle up in a cozy blanket listening to your favorite tunes.

If you are up to it, maybe try a solo session, using a clitoral stimulator or small vibrator with lots of lubricants. Because of your body’s changing-needs, highly-customizable toys like MysteryVibe’s Crescendo will be a great fit as you can change its shape along with creating unique patterns of vibrations (spanning from super gentle to more powerful).

Toys like this are super effective at satisfying both penetrative and non-penetrative play, and don’t rely on friction or thrusting, which can be painful for many women post-birth. This will be a great time to reconnect with your body, with orgasms acting as stress relievers as well.

Whatever it is, love yourself and do what makes you feel good!

2. Rediscover the power of cuddling and kissing. While it may feel like you are regressing back to ‘first base’, these simple forms of physical touch with your partner increase* oxytocin levels, also known as the ‘bonding’ hormone that can help reduce* stress and anxiety.

So, when your baby is sleeping, take some time to simply hold each other’s hands or wrap yourself up in one another’s arms as you watch some TV.  When you are feeling ready for second base, allow your lips to linger and move into loving, passionate kisses.

3. Venture outside the usual. For many women, their breasts and vagina feel less sexual during the postpartum period. Once a focal point in the bedroom, breasts are now inflated and sore, and the vulva and vagina may be recovering from the physical trauma of childbirth.

No need to fret. There are many other erogenous zones that can bring you pleasure.  With their hands and/or mouth, ask your partner to stimulate other areas of your body.

Try some of these: ears, neck, nape of neck, spine, back, behind the knees and feet. These areas are full of nerve endings and can reveal some unexpectedly pleasurable sensations.

4. Explore non-penetrative practices. There are many ways to experience mutual pleasure and intimacy with your partner outside of the traditional penetrative act. Try reinventing the 69.

If you are not ready for vaginal or clitoral action, ask your partner to massage your feet that stimulate blood flow up to your legs and abdomen, while you return the favor with your hands or mouth.

You and your partner could also try intercrural sex, where the penis is stimulated by being placed in between your thighs. Or, on the flip side, intergluteal sex where the penis can be stimulated by moving between the buttocks.

For the last two, we recommend lube.

5. Invest in some good quality lube. When you are ready for more advanced foreplay or penetrative sex, do not be shocked if you are not naturally lubricating downstairs. Dryness is another side-effect of declined estrogen and progesterone levels post-birth.

Lube will be your best friend when you are getting back to the norm with your partner, helping things run smoothly. Clitoral stimulators can also act as great tools in this department. Also, do not forget to relax.

Many women feel a mixture of fear and anxiety about returning back to penetrative sex after months of celibacy, leading to a tenseness that will undeniably make sex less pleasurable. If you can, have a glass of wine, take your time, let your partner give you a massage, and then get the lube out!

6. The gift that keeps on giving. So maybe you are just not in the mood? Because of wonky hormonal changes, it’s totally normal to experience plummeted levels of libido. It’s ok.

Nonetheless, women put pressure on themselves to perform in the bedroom out of guilt for not tending to their partner’s sexual needs. Consider buying masturbating toys for your partner, it will show them that you care without forcing yourself to do anything out of your comfort zone.

All in all, intimacy with your partner can help decrease* your stress, improve* your confidence and (contrary to belief) energize you! Making space to prioritize intimacy, without the pressure of going all in, can help nurture a deep connection with your partner that can translate to increased happiness and wellbeing.

Do not expect to go from 0 to 100 after your 6 week check-up. Remember, most women wait longer than 6 weeks, and many women will not get 100% back into the groove of things for months.

Allow this journey back to intimacy be an exciting opportunity to rediscover the relationship you have with your own body and to find new techniques that lie outside the norm with your partner.

The key is to take things slowly, to listen to yourself, communicate with your partner, and when the time comes, use lots and lots of lube.

Complete Article HERE!

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