• Why Do You Need to Use Sex-Positive Parenting? | Jennifer Litner | Episode 189

  • sex-positive parenting

    We think teaching our kids about sex is all about The Talk. Actually it starts with how we behave, what they learn from friendships and sibling relationships and more. Jennifer Litner joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to discuss sex-positive parenting. Jennifer shows us how everyday actions and interactions in many areas of our lives impact our teens and twenty somethings. Find out what you need to know about communication, boundaries, media, values and more as they play into your child’s views on sex and sexuality.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show: 

    Emotions are like crayons in a crayon box. They’re all valid even if we aren’t in love with them.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Sex-Positive Parenting:

    Quote about sex-positive parenting

    Sex-positive parenting means talking to your kids about sexuality without judgement. It means valuing communication, consent, and safety. This will look different for each family based on your circumstances and values, but at the core is love and respect.

    Sex-positive parenting includes being able to recognize sexuality as a part of us, not just what’s happening with our bodies.

    We need to understand our values as caregivers and frame them in a sex-positive manner, not simply give our teens instructions on how to behave and what they do with their bodies.

    Children learn the most from their parents or guardians, so that’s who they learn about relationships from.

    Relationships are a dimension of sexual health. Healthy relationships include respecting emotional and sexual boundaries and feeling safe in setting said boundaries for yourself.

    It’s important to teach our kids what it feels like to be in a healthy relationship. We can start by encouraging them to look at their relationship with a friend—a healthy friendship should include feeling heard, respected, and appreciated (on both sides). 

    In any healthy relationship—platonic, familial or romantic—you can feel comfortable and breathe easier. Ask yourself (and your kids), Does this person understand me? Do they respect my boundaries? Are they putting in the work with me to maintain the relationship? If the answers to all of these is yes, that’s a fairly good indicator of a healthy relationship. 

    How you react/respond to expressions of sexuality, intimacy and sexual relationships sends important messages to your kids. Sex-positive parenting does not mean you have to enjoy hearing about or discussing sex, sexuality or relationships; however, you have to be able to withhold judgement on the topics and on your teens’ views on said topics and have neutral, informative conversations.

    Some examples of how messages can be sent:

    • Media at home – how do you react? Are M-, R-17, and R-rated movies not allowed in your house? Are video games with partial nudity or sexual behaviors banned? Do you think kids shouldn’t see physical intimacy, even kisses between their parents?
    • Topic of discussion – do you discourage listening to or talking about sex, sexuality, or physical intimacy? Does talking about those make you uncomfortable? Do these topics feel off-limits in the household?

    Notice if you’re having a reaction and where it is in your body. Do you feel a squick (micro expression or flash of disgust) when these topics come up? It isn’t wrong if you do, but your child will pick up on these, so try to take deep breaths, relax your shoulders, straighten out your face.

    A crucial part of developing a sex-positive parenting style is recognizing the influences sex has had on you and your experience with sexuality and sexual relationships. Process that with another adult (your sibling, another parent, friend, therapist, etc.) if you need to before talking about sex and healthy relationships with your kids.


    A Parenting Conversation About Coming Out | John Sovec | Episode 171

    Talking to Teens About Sexual Consent | Christy Keating | Episode 173

    Good Sibling Relationships | Kira Dorrian and Deana Thayer | Episode 175

    AMAZE – Age-appropriate info on puberty for tweens and their parents

    Advocates For Youth

    Our Guest Jennifer Litner:

    Jennifer Litner discusses sex-positive parenting

    Jennifer Litner is a sexologist and the founder of the Chicago-based wellness center, Embrace Sexual Wellness. Jennifer has over a decade of experience working, studying and teaching in the field of sexual health, with a specialization in sex therapy, sexuality education and helping people thrive in their intimate relationships. As an educator, Jennifer aims to empower individuals to make healthy choices about sexuality and relationships by providing them with scientifically accurate sexual health information. Jennifer is also the creator and facilitator of the digital program, Building Ease Talking About the Birds and the Bees®, which helps parents and caregivers learn how to be sex-positive role models for the young people in their lives.

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit www.embracesexualwellness.com 

    Our Sponsor:

    Sandy Fowler: Are you stressed but don’t have time to deal with it? I get it. Grab my complimentary lesson at http://sandyfowler.com/notime to find out how to start feeling better today.