An Open Letter to My Son About Sex

photo by ashleysauers

“Your greatest challenge will be to honor the erotic feelings and desires that will come up inside you while also staying fully present and respectful.” Advice from Janis Whitlock to her son.

I simply cannot be quiet anymore. Amidst the silence that has always surrounded sex even when the billion dollar industries it fuels scream loudly in your ears (and mine!) day and night, I must speak to you in a voice you can hear. I’ll not embarrass you by having this conversation in your presence, I can already feel the strangled mix of emotions that arise in you when the topic comes up at all. I will respect your privacy by saying what I have to say to you in this way, so you can have your feelings without witness.

I ask of you only one thing: that you read my letter from start to finish. I cannot scream as loudly as the pictures and jokes and sly games that mark the passage into the sexual aspects of boyhood in this culture. I have to speak in a normal voice and I have to request, as your mother and a woman who has lived nearly 50 years on this planet, that you simply read what I need to say all the way through.

 ♦◊♦

First, I want you to know I like and have always liked sex. The feelings and touching that goes along with all of it is fun. Flirting is fun, wondering what might happen, even if nothing ever does, enjoying the simple way it feels to be touched by someone I am attracted to, is all good. Wild sex or soft slow sex or whatever kind of sex I am in the mood for has always been nice and I would wish only the very same for you. But, I am rare in many ways. I am one of the few women I know who has never been really hurt by sex. I was never raped or held in any way against my will. The closest I came to a compromising position was with a guy I was dating who would not stop pestering me to have sex one night after a date until I eventually gave in. It was very much not enjoyable, but I knew that I could have simply walked away and I did not. I learned a lot from that experience, though, including how to never make the same mistake again, so it was a good lesson learned in the long run. You may have some of those too.

So, all in all, my sex life has not been anything like you have probably already seen on movies or in porn clips or whatever is passed off today as sex for the cheap thrill it brings. I have loved most of my partners and definitely felt connected to everyone else (except one – story for another time). This was both a choice and probably easier to pull off in my youth since there were so many fewer ideas floating around about what sex was and how it is done and what it is supposed to look like than you have. I had to use my heart, my head, and my body to figure my way through; it worked well for me.

It will be much the same for you; even in the crazy pornified world you are growing up in. You may have to work a little harder, though, to make it that way since the movies you watch and the fast and easy porn you have undoubtedly already seen is pretty much impossible to avoid these days (one had to really seek that stuff out when I was young). So please listen closely to what I will say next, I need you to hear me say all of it:

♦◊♦

There is nothing you have seen that I have not seen or do not know about. I am not a fool and I am not blind. You do not need to protect me from what you know.  And, most importantly, there is nothing you have felt inside yourself that I have not felt myself and / or have seen or felt in the men in my life. No person on the planet (well, none that I know of or have ever met) can avoid the strong sexual feelings that come up when they see sexual pictures or movies or, in many cases, when they see naked or otherwise sexy bodies. These feelings can be especially strong for boys and men. I remember these feelings as a teen and I recall both the force they had and the feeling of being overwhelmed at times. That gets easier over time, but having those feelings come up is normal and healthy; it means you are human.

Your greatest challenge will be to honor the erotic feelings and desires that will come up inside you while also staying fully present and respectful.  This is a tough one—particularly in this time and particularly for boys and men who are relentlessly sold the idea and lots of things to go along with it that women are things when you want and need them to be. So many of the movies you watch and all of the porn you will ever see will convey this one way or another—each person is an object, there is not real connection between them, and the only important thing is that you receive sexual pleasure (giving is never taught at all). Telling you this is away to get you buy things for the “high” sex offers. Your desires become to tool to getting you to consume. It is clever because the marketers know it works for most people since even the images produce drugs in your body that make you want more.  It is absolutely critical and is the mark of true manhood, that you both understand this and learn how to enjoy and cultivate your sexual self without using another person solely as a tool; even if she seems to be saying that this is okay. It really is not. Similarly, no person has the right to make you a tool for their sexual pleasure; no one wins anything this way, it simply ends up feeling cheap. I do not expect you to be a saint and I do expect that you will have to make a few mistakes along the way, but I am here as your mom and as a woman to tell you that getting this lesson is one of the most important things you will ever do as a man and as a human being. And, it has never been harder to strike this balance than it is now, so please let me or your dad or stepdad or anyone else you trust know if you ever want advice about how to do this. It is normal to want and to have those feelings of want overcome everything else; just ask yourself to not be lazy in this way.

Women do not actually enjoy most of the things you see in porn. Actually, most men do not either. Porn is way to sell you a drug; a whole bunch of drugs your body produces when watching (in particular—dopamine, norepinephrine, testosterone, oxytocin, serotonin—a lot!  I can tell you what each of these do inside of you if you like). Sex with a real person that you like does this too, but having this happen with a real person causes you to feel attachment to a real person; having this happen with porn causes desire for more porn. Unlike being with a real person, though, using porn, images, or even other real people with no emotional connection present will not ever fully satisfy you. The things you see in porn are designed to get you temporarily high, not cultivate an authentic connection with another or to teach you about good and pleasurable sex with someone you like and would actually want to please or be pleased by. Most of the men you see are jacked up on drugs to stay hard for hours on end, the women also often take drugs to be able to produce scene after scene; their bodies are there but their hearts and minds are far away. Bodies are aroused by friction and body contact and porn limits that so that the camera angles will get the shots that will best deliver the drugs to viewers. Many of the activities they do are not actually pleasurable (e.g. women do not like men to cum on their face, many do not particularly enjoy anal sex, and most women do not actually want several men inside of them at once..). These are ploys to get viewers aroused and wanting more; nothing else. A real girl and woman will want you to touch more of her body than her genitals, will like slow kissing, cuddling, talking and touching before anything more serious happens, and will want to feel safe and respected by you; not used by you. Basically nothing you see there or even in many of the sex scenes in most movies reflect good sex. Don’t mistake this for education.

The very best sex happens in a relationship. Study after study has shown this. For men and women, the best, most pleasurable sex you will ever have will be with a real person and with someone that you feel emotionally connected to and safe with. No matter how it “looks” from the outside, what your buddies say, how hot she is etc.. – I guarantee that the best sex you will ever have will be with a woman you actually really like and who likes you back. This liking and trust will allow each of you to be more honest about what does and does not feel good, what do you do and do not like and the sense of closeness and trust you have before during and after will make the whole thing awesome. This is the best and I wish it for you. The quality of the sex and touch and cuddling alone is worth taking time to really find someone you like!

Appreciating a woman’s prettiness, sexiness, or beauty is sweet but blatantly staring, making comment, jokes or other kinds of overtures feels invasive and yucky.  Please pass the word to your guy friends now before they fall into bad habits—women do not like to be ogled. Long stares, looking her up and down, focusing on something other than her eyes or face when talking, making comments or joking with friends as she passes are rude and contribute to girls and women feeling unsafe and disrespected. This leads women to feel like an object rather than a person (hence the term “objectified”). This is true even when she is dressed or acting in a way that seems to invite this type of attention. There are all sorts of reasons that girls and women dress or act in a way that seems to invite this male sexual attention and it rarely has anything to do with really wanting that, or if it does, it has more to do with wanting the chemicals I mention above that wanting an actual person. Just because she makes an object of herself to escape her feelings, does not invite you to. Please remember to always be a gentleman in this way; it will make you a great friend to many wonderful women and that is a true accomplishment since there is no more beautiful place than a woman’s heart, honest.

You do not need to protect me from your sexual feelings. I do not mean to say that I expect you to talk to me; talk to whomever is comfortable, only that I am fully aware that you have these feelings and that these may feel a little or a lot confusing at times. I can imagine that even trying to see me as a sexual person feels overwhelming since you are just coming to terms with this in yourself. That is fine and will pass with time. I am totally willing to talk to you at any time about anything; there really is not much that could shock me—as someone who used to teach sex education and as a woman with nearly 5 complete decades on the planet, I have seen it all and I understand most of it. The capacity to feel so close to someone that you wish to merge bodies is an amazing gift here and one I hope you will really cherish and enjoy as you grow up.

I love you with all of my heart and am so happy to be sharing this life with you!

Mom

 —

photo: ashleysauers / flickr

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About Janis Whitlock

Janis Whitlock is a mom, partner, yogini, scholar and researcher, and a variety of other things in her spare time. She studies adolescent and human development with a focus on suicide and self-injury prevention, resilience, and connectedness. She lives in Ithaca, New York with her husband, Ravi, and various adolescent members of their blended family. Her life is never dull.

Comments

  1. Hi Rational Thinker

    I read your reply to Scott about South Asians and sexualty.
    This is interesting. Do you know if persons that live like that have lower divorce rates than us in then West?
    For me marriage was a shock because sex was expected and wanted daily or many times a day, and i reacted against it,and comflicts arose. That marriage did not last.
    Can you recommend any literature about what you tell Scott about?

    • Rational Thinker says:

      Hi Iben. Indians like to brag about their collective very low divorce rates. However I can tell you that this is not reflective of a huge collective of happy marriages but more a reflection that divorce is severely stigmatized in Indian culture.

      Most Indian marriages are still arranged and while I’d like to think most couples “fall in love” over time, and indeed, many do, there are some that never do but they stay married because that is just the done thing in the culture. Even in cases of abuse many Indians will stay married because divorce is just not the done thing in the culture and it is highly stigmatized.

      So yes, Indian divorce rates are low, but not necessarily for the right reasons.

      I also don’t think most Indians are following a moderate template of married sex life due to any insight into yoga or liberation. While Hindu culture has those themes running through it and on play in the background, there are many aspects of life that many Hindus would not connect to the bigger picture out of ignorance or un-willingness.

      Nevertheless, married sex life is not a free for all because most Indians live in a joint family household, not a nuclear family household. That means that Indian brides go to live in their husbands’ parents home. So in one house you have the young husband and wife, the husband’s parents, the husbands brothers and their wives and kids, as well as any unmarried sisters.

      Privacy is practically unheard of and married couples have to sneak around and keep things very quiet in order to have any sex at all.

      The negative side to this is that it can result in a type of sexual repression which I think is one of the reasons India has such an epidemic of street sexual harrasement.

    • Rational Thinker says:

      “For me marriage was a shock because sex was expected and wanted daily or many times a day, and i reacted against it,and comflicts arose. ”

      Sexual compatibility is very important in a marriage and I think these things should be talked about before any commitment is made.

      Obviously someone with a moderate libido is not well matched with someone with a high one.

  2. I don’t really know how to put this.
    But anyway. In my experience. I like to think that most people, a vast majority, are able to put at least a minor amount of restrain to themself.
    Alcohol is also an addictive substance. But most people who may taste alcohol for the first time in their teens actually may enjoy the occassional beer or glass of wine on a Friday night or Saturday afternoon, and do not go on to become full-fledged, full-time addicts with time.
    I like to believe it’s the same with depictions of sexual activities. They are a pastime, used for arousal. But as someone said earlier. For the vast majority, if there’s another real-life, interested human being in the room, there’s not even a competition.

    • Janis Whitlock says:

      FlyingKal – yes, that is an important distinction. My issue is that there is evidence that with the widespread availability of porn, there are an increasing number of people who prefer that to a real human being 9and women seem to be increasingly drawn to chat rooms) or to porn or online hook ups in addition to their partner 9and the partner often has NO idea..). The other issue is that the images and availability is serving as a sex and relationship education tool for youth and adults and this is NOT good – it is a masturbation aide and no more.

      Maybe we could ask porn sites to add a disclaimer at the top, “Warning: the depictions in the following vides are fictional and do not represent what really happens in the giving and receiving of pleasure between men and women. The people you see are actors with drug augmented body parts, skills, desires, and behaviors. They are also being paid a lot of money or have really low self-esteem so are happy to fake it for your entertainment. Please note that we limit actual touching for your viewing pleasure. Most of this is not likely to result in your or a real partner’s sexual satisfaction if reproduced this way at home.”

      • Hi Janis, and thanks for your answer.
        It does however stir another question:
        there are an increasing number of people who prefer that to a real human being 9and women seem to be increasingly drawn to chat rooms)

        If both men and women are increasingly withdrawing from human interaction in favour of the internet, is it a bigger problem that the men do it than the women? Is it less of a problem that women get their needs/fantasies/desires fulfilled that way than the men?
        Or can it be seen as a mutual, interconnected, and self-perpetuating problem, that both groups withdraw from human interaction because they get what they think they need as easy fixes from the internet?

  3. Hi Scott
    You get offended easily .
    You seem to be totally blind to the fact that your values and ideas are insults to lots of persons.
    Stop whining about being insulted when you are unable to change others into your own views and attitudes.

    • Iben,

      I thought you said you were not longer going to talk to me.

      I’m not really sure what your “whining” about now (your term, not mine). I suspect that there may be a bit of a language barrier here. Is English your first language?

      If my “values and ideas are insults to lots of persons.” then consider that yours may also be insulting to many people as well. You seem to have fallen into the hypocrisy trap on several occasions during this debate.

  4. Hi Janis

    Yes we need a GMP blog about sexual intelligence! Please Janis and Rational Thinker we need you :)

    I found no room for comments about circumcision. As a woman I am 100% against it, but not because of my pleasure but HIS pleasure and health.

    For me the sexual experience has never been less intense or less pleasant with a cut man.
    But Danish studies say it so for some women.

    • Janis Whitlock says:

      Thanks for the prompt Iben! I do want to write more on all of this for GMP so maybe that is the next one? Rational, what do you think??

      What would you want to be sure it said?

      I have also been amazed that GMP has nothing on porn or sex addiction – that seems important.

      • Rational Thinker says:

        Janis, you’re the expert, so I say you should do that. Maybe you could have a regular “Ask The Sex Educator” column here.

      • a few years ago here, there was a couple that wrote article after article after article, about porn addiction
        (i remember there being few replies, so i think they got bored and left)
        you might their articles in the archives, though cataloging can be weird

    • Rational Thinker says:

      There’s an excellent website by a doctor I came across with videos (porn?), diagrams, and everything, regarding the difference between cut and natural.

      I’ve searched for it again but can’t find it.

      I have heard that they use cut men in porn because supposedly it “looks better”. Is that true? Seems odd to me.

      • As the rate of circumcision in the US continues to drop more natural penises are being found in porn. Also, once erect, the visual difference between a circumcised and intact penis is minimal.

        “Looks better” is in the eye of the beholder.

  5. Johanna Trahan says:

    What a great article! As a life-long lover of porn, I do have to agree that seeing plastic people pretend to get off isn’t the best basis for developing a real sexuality… but that’s why they have amateur sites!!!!!!

  6. Hi Janis

    This is a website for men and their issues.
    One problem many men talk about is their “sexless marriage”.
    Can you give advice to them about how to handle the fact that sometimes women seems to loose all interest in them sexually.

    Some men on GMP are also incels. They have not yet found their first girlfriend. Maybe they would like to ask women a few questions before their first lovemaking ?

    Somehow I fear that an article about porn addiction is not what they want right now.
    What they see as their problem is not porn.

    When dr.Brandy Engler gave good advice about how to be a good lover,she got little response.
    I wonder why?
    Maybe men tend to believe only other men can tell them how to be good lovers.

    If you open up for questions, then maybe some come forth and ask.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      ” When dr.Brandy Engler gave good advice about how to be a good lover,she got little response.
      I wonder why?
      Maybe men tend to believe only other men can tell them how to be good lovers. ”

      Ah is not true, Iben, doctor Nerdlove gets also lots of criticism (rightfully so) beside IMO the best dating advices are found in the PUA community, and most of advices outhere, feminist or otherwise recycle lots of PUA materials. So better go to the source. Beside lots of incels guy learned on how to approach women from their mothers, sisters and female friends. No wonder they dont trust female advice. But im open for it, but I think I missed that article. Beside, there are also lots of important topics who also get little attention.

      About porn, its a dead horse, and there is no point of agreements on this topic. All blog post about porn is a gender war. Better leave it alone. The blogger women believes that porn is the source of mens problem, or some problem, and men claim the contrary. Now being a man, I say straight out focusing on porn is a waste of time. And only a source for irritation and bad mood. And there is nothing more annoying than talking to a wall….so forget about that.

      • Hi Mr Supertypo

        You made me laugh. I love this sentence:
        ✺ “Beside lots of incels guy learned on how to approach women from their mothers, sisters and female friends. No wonder they dont trust female advice. “✺

        Mammas boys need to cut the umbilical cord.
        But remember dr. Engler is a sexologist. Psychologist or psychiatrist.

        I agree with you that debate about porn always turns into a gender war.
        My curiosity brought me to some PUA sites, but they all seems to have the similar advice for men in bed. To be dominant and lead. That implies that all women like to be submissive and like to be dominated,hold so fast that can not move etc.

        The fact is that NOT all women are like that. And some of us even like genuine feelings instead of insincere role playing dominance.
        I don’t know how to express this. Passion, confidence is not the same as dominance .
        Making love,having sex can be like dancing and interaction,not a boss and a subject..

        But I do understand what you mean,if PUA teach a sort of “masculinity”.
        I would rather see confidence, and a man that is comfortable with showing all feelings and passion.
        It is impossible to be wild if you are shy,insecure and inhibited.
        Thank you for the good laugh you gave me today :)
        “.

        • Mr Supertypo says:

          ” You made me laugh. I love this sentence: ”

          LOL glad for giving a good time :-)

          ” I agree with you that debate about porn always turns into a gender war.
          My curiosity brought me to some PUA sites, but they all seems to have the similar advice for men in bed. To be dominant and lead. That implies that all women like to be submissive and like to be dominated,hold so fast that can not move etc. ”

          Oh the best way to have a porn conversation is to remove all anti porn folks and “rational ” thinkers that infest these threats. No imperatives and it should be clearly stated that not all porn is bad and not all porn is good. Period. Otherwise its good night and the fireworks starts. The quasi trolls play the music and the porn stars dance. And with this nothing good comes out, as we can see on all the xxx blog post on porn.

          About PUA’s you dont have to forget a important point, who are the targets of the material? all the lines, all tricks, all the mind games, attitude exercises etc are here not (contrary to popular belief) to attract women but for helping the guys (students). All the perhaps, disturbing material you read are pointed to a precise category of people, who are clueless and utterly incapable not only to have a normal conversation with a woman, but to function in a social environment any social environment.

          PUA is not for everybody, not everybody need it. The material that somebody label as misogynistic in reality is there to dis empower the women who exist in the mind of the student, women who in his personal world are god like.
          Students learn how to adapt and how to be fluid in the realm of the circumstances, not to get rigid and mumbling few and strange sounds but to dance with the flow of the words.

          We can argue from here to the moon about the validity of the background theory, but its pointless, because like most gender and social theories, PUA theory isnt any better. Like all the others its pure smoke. But the technique works, like a miracle students that before could barely speak in front of a woman, slowly they losen up, slowly they are made functional in the social reality be it a party or a funeral. Soon they get a girlfriend, and lots of friends. While few months before they were close to a pariah.

          Listen you need to have been there to understand. In the dark alley of loneliness, in the cold prison of your fears. A shadow between the shadows. Mr nobody seeking desperately refuge in the world of fantasy dreaming to be a hero fighting against dragons and trolls, while the only real dragons trolls and wizards you need to defeat are the one who hide in your mind. Fix the mind fix the person (for the most part) and thats what real PUA ism is about. Unlearning all the wrong and bogus teaching you got from friends, parents, media etc. Wrong inputs that have shaped your personality to be rigid and super shy. Be fluid, adapt and you will fit in, and you win.

          ” But I do understand what you mean,if PUA teach a sort of “masculinity”.
          I would rather see confidence, and a man that is comfortable with showing all feelings and passion.
          It is impossible to be wild if you are shy,insecure and inhibited. ”

          I dont know, PUA challenges masculinity. Like makes you walk around in a city dressed like a bunny or with a dildo glued on your head. Dress in red or pink, take a wig or dance with a tutu. All this to demolish your insecurity and anxieties. When the person is open he wil show the feelings and the same time be confident. Neill strauss was a insecure and shy person, later he became a rock star. how did he do it? if you read his book ‘the game’ you find out about his and other people struggles, frustrations defeats and finally enlightenment and freedom. But its all a process and it is worth.

          ” Thank you for the good laugh you gave me today :)

          U r welcome :-)

        • Hi Iben,
          Mammas boys need to cut the umbilical cord.
          Thanks for showing that you totally missed the point on receiving dating/love-making tips from women.

          • Hi FlyingKal
            I agree, that remark was insensitive and stupid.
            But somehow a few men are actually too closly tied to their mothers as adults and all sex for them has an incestous flavor…

            But there are thousands of resons why men and women are incels. The “mambo” we call them as opposed to “sambo” in Nowrwegian. Mambo means a man still living with his mother like Fleksnes..

            • Hi Iben,
              Still, regardless of how you live, the point was that if you need advice, be sure to get it from someone who knows (from experience) what they are talking about. Getting it from someone who just think so may often be counterproductive.

              On a side note, I heard that Rolv Wesenlund passed away just recently. May he rest in peace.

            • Hi FlyingKal

              We can agree on that.
              Rolv left us. We are all sorry he had to leave us so soon.

              You write:
              “the point was that if you need advice, be sure to get it from someone who knows (from experience) what they are talking about”

              And both men and women can give advice about sexualty based on own experience .
              But what really makes two persons so happy together that the earth moves when they make love is the large unknown X. It is not technical skills. Maybe it is spiritual or a transcendencedental experience ….. I have no words for it , but know it is like a religious experience.

            • Rational Thinker says:

              Regarding the “mambos” and “sambos”, in many cultures men live with their parents until they get married, and in some cultures (like mine) men live with their parents their entire lives, bringing their brides home to live with them too!

              It is very common in South Asia.

            • Hi Rational Thinker

              Yes you are right . As far as I know it is also the culture in places like South America and Spain.
              So this is very much a cultural thing and I was wrong to use living with your family as an example.

              Do you love in India now ?

            • Hi Rational Thinker
              Typo.
              I wanted to ask if you live in India now.

    • Rational Thinker says:

      “When dr.Brandy Engler gave good advice about how to be a good lover,she got little response.
      I wonder why?
      Maybe men tend to believe only other men can tell them how to be good lovers.”

      – They’d be making a huge mistake. The only way to become a “good lover” is for a man to listen to his partner and do what she says turns her on. And that’s just one woman. He’ll have to keep listening and changing his technique with every new partner because every woman is different.

      “One problem many men talk about is their “sexless marriage”.
      Can you give advice to them about how to handle the fact that sometimes women seems to loose all interest in them sexually.”

      – Wives also complain about “sexless marriage”, particularly the lack of QUALITY sex.

      But frequent sex is not important for a loving marriage. Please listen to this man, a father of 5 children, who shares a great relationship with his wife, about the sexual patterns in their marriage;

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwcTDg1OufU

      • Rational:
        They’d be making a huge mistake. The only way to become a “good lover” is for a man to listen to his partner and do what she says turns her on. And that’s just one woman. He’ll have to keep listening and changing his technique with every new partner because every woman is different.

        And vice versa.
        However, withdrawing from listening and discussing as well as practicing, sure isn’t gonna make a “good lover” out of anybody, regardless of gender/sex.

        Wives also complain about “sexless marriage”, particularly the lack of QUALITY sex.

        I’ve ony ever heard one woman complain about lack of sex, and a month later she was pregnant, so I guess she wasn’t all that out of it. ;-)

        But frequent sex is not important for a loving marriage.
        I guess not, for people who lack sex drive.
        But who’s to regulate what is important for other people they have absolutely no connection with?

        • Rational Thinker says:

          “However, withdrawing from listening and discussing as well as practicing, sure isn’t gonna make a “good lover” out of anybody, regardless of gender/sex.”

          I don’t understand the meaning or context of the above. Care to explain?

          • @Rational Thinker:
            I can’t really see any ambiguity in it, but anyway:
            The context or background to the comment was a man, being in a sexless relationship, trying repeatedly to discuss the situation with his girlfriend, to get her view of it, and to find out whatever faults or shortcomings (technical or otherwise) he may possess that ought to be worked out to improve the situation.
            His girlfriend’s position, however, was that it was perfectly natural for a woman to be less interested in sex than a man, and also losing interest in a relationship. And that there was no point in discussing it since it was othing to be done about it. And since it was no big deal for her, it shouldn’t be any concern of his either…

          • @Rational Thinker:
            The context is that for someone to listen in order to improve, it requires a partner that is interested in the improvement as well as an understanding of what needs to improve and an ability to talk about it.

            If your partner isn’t interested in either having sex or talking about it (how to improve it), then whatever your ability to listen as well as your willingness to improve, does not matter much for your rate of becoming a better lover.

            A successful communication takes (at least) two participants!

      • Hi Rational Thinker

        You write:
        ✺”The only way to become a “good lover” is for a man to listen to his partner and do what she says turns her on. And that’s just one woman. He’ll have to keep listening and changing his technique with every new partner because every woman is different.”✺

        I only partly agree.
        If you want to dance you first have to learn a few basic steps. If a man wants to make love to a woman he should also knew the basics first and not expect to be told what to do.

        Maybe some women like to instruct and educate their man in bed. I do not.
        A man can learn you things in bed, things you never would have asked for or told them to do because you did not not know about it.
        That is my experience. Pleasant surprises….

        Of course we all have to tell what we like and especially
        what we say no to, but it is best to come prepared.
        So i rather that he read some good books about it first if he is inexperienced.

        I travel to France with a man,I will be delighted if he speaks French. I will love him just the same if he don’t speak French, but I expect him to be able to read a map,know the territory and have read up the important facts on France before we start on our journey together.
        I would do the same.

      • Rational:

        A better sexual relationship is created when both partners both listen to and express their desires to each other. Good lovers do not only listen, they also share their interests.

        The way your comment is written it appears that you want men to obey women sexually without women also listening to men. There needs to be two way communication. Both partners can bring new ideas to relationship from various sources: the karma sutra, conversation with friends, even porn!

  7. Rational Thinker says:

    Telegraph co uk 2013

    NSPCC: ‘Girls think they have to act like porn stars to be liked by boys’

    Girls think they have to look and perform “like porn stars” to be liked and
    valued by boys, a landmark report by the children’s charity NSPCC shows.

    By Louisa Peacock and Emma Barnett

    7:00AM BST 03 Sep 2013

    Almost a third of school pupils believe online pornography dictates how young
    people have to behave in a relationship, the study of 601 pupils aged 11 to
    18 reveals.

    The majority of pupils surveyed – 72 per cent – also said porn should be
    talked about in sex education classes, suggesting existing lessons are too
    focused on the mechanics of reproduction and lack meaningful discussion
    about the issues young people face online every day.

    Claire Lilley, policy advisor at NSPCC, said: “It’s natural for children to
    become curious about puberty and sex. If they are not learning what they
    need to at school or at home they will turn elsewhere, including to porn.
    What pornography teaches boys is that girls are for sexual gratification,
    whilst girls feel they have to look and perform like ‘porn stars’ to be
    liked and valued by boys. This makes children vulnerable to being forced or
    pressured into behaving sexually.”

    The comprehensive study, commissioned by The Daily Telegraph,
    highlights the extent to which the growth of online porn is, in many cases,
    distorting school children’s ideas and real-life experiences about what a
    good relationship looks like.

    Some 28 per cent of pupils think porn definitely “influences how young people
    have to behave in a relationship”, with a further third saying it
    “sometimes” affects how young people act when with their partner.

    Ms Lilley said it was vital that sex education lessons reflected the digital
    era that we now live in, equipping teachers with the right tools to help
    pupils interpret what they see and come across online – from porn to the
    sexualisation of women and peer pressure on social media – and understand
    what a good relationship is.

    “We can’t afford to be coy about sex education. Many children will have
    already been exposed to a vast amount of inappropriate, unrealistic and
    sometimes downright harmful pornography through the internet. This can warp
    their view of what is normal and acceptable sexual behaviour, how they treat
    others and how they expect to be treated.

    “To protect children from these damaging messages they must be taught about
    sex in the context of healthy, caring relationships and how to protect and
    respect themselves and others.”

    In England and Wales, sex and relationships education is currently taught
    within personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) lessons. But the
    statutory [check] sex and relationships guidance teachers use to plan
    lessons was last updated in 2000 and practically predates the internet, not
    least the rise of social media.

    The NSPCC findings come as The Daily Telegraph launches a campaign for
    better sex education in secondary schools, starting with an update to the
    sex and relationships guidance to reflect the digital era.

    The current guidance makes no mention of the internet or the challenges young
    people face regarding the ease and accessibility of online porn, the
    pressure to document their lives and relationships on social media, online
    bullying or sexting.

    Claire Perry, Conservative MP and the Prime Minister’s advisor on children,
    said: “It is because of this brave new world we find ourselves in, that I
    welcome The Telegraph’s ‘better sex education’ campaign.

    “The rise of sexting, online bullying, porn and young people documenting their
    entire lives on the web, needs to be a core tenet of how we teach sex and
    relationships to children in secondary schools.”

    Many teachers feel they cannot stray from the official guidance on what to
    teach and don’t have the right tools to plan a meaningful lesson or know
    what to do when sensitive subjects come up.

    Ms Perry said: “Rather than putting one more set of responsibilities on the
    shoulders of hard-working teachers, it should be possible to encourage
    schools to develop working relationships with the many excellent charities
    and organisations that used trained experts to deliver the right messages to
    young people in appropriate and high impact ways.”

    A wave of reports in recent months have demonstrated the need for the
    Government to act to improve sex education in secondary school. A report by
    Ofsted, the education regulator, recently found that PSHE education in
    schools is “not good enough” in a significant number of schools
    and that this is leaving young people vulnerable to exploitation and abuse.

    Separate research by the Children’s Commissioner found a shocking number of
    young people don’t know what a good relationship looks like.

    • Hi Rational Thinker

      Here is from the newspaper article you posted:
      “✺”The comprehensive study, commissioned by The Daily Telegraph,
      highlights the extent to which the growth of online porn is, in many cases,
      distorting school children’s ideas and real-life experiences about what a
      good relationship looks like.”✺

      On GMP we have another thread about men opting out as fathers. Men wanting causal sex and abandoning pregnant girlfriends is not a new phenomena. In my country this was a problem in the working class in the period after WW2 1945-1965 and resulted in a huge increase in adoption of children. The stigma to be a single mother was to hard ,and society punished the women in all sorts of ways. Now we have this problem in America.

      It is said men opting out of fatherhood in America. First it looks to me like this is not men opting out as fathers but men opting out of committed long term relationships. They will not marry and cohabitation in America last shorter than in any other Western country.

      I wonder if todays men’s use of porn have anything to do with that? I understand there are many factors behind mens choice to opt our ..but how important is porn ? Men complain that women do not need them anymore, but do men need women for intimacy and relationships when they have porn? No nagging wife there,no diapers to change and no bills to pay.

      When your love relationship is “a love relationship ” to porn ( or certain porn stars) and not a partner, then how can be motivated to bond and build good relationship?

      All chemicals released that used to bond couples together are now spread all over the place……..and there is a distorted picture of what real life relationships look like.

      • Rational Thinker says:

        “On GMP we have another thread about men opting out as fathers. Men wanting causal sex and abandoning pregnant girlfriends is not a new phenomena. In my country this was a problem in the working class in the period after WW2 1945-1965 and resulted in a huge increase in adoption of children. The stigma to be a single mother was to hard ,and society punished the women in all sorts of ways. Now we have this problem in America.”

        – Its not quite the same problem here in the States, but it used to be back in the 40s, 50s and 60s when it was a social shame for girls and women to get pregnant without being married. A lot of babies were given up for adoption back then too. Nowadays there is no shame attached to single parenthood.

        Women who are sexually active but have no committed partner who wants to have a child with them need to carry condoms in their purses and make every man they sleep with wear one. No glove, no love. Unless of course they WANT to be a single mom, which some women in fact do want.

  8. Sorry about my typo
    I wanted to ask if you live in India now.
    Maybe this was a Freudian slip.

  9. Janis, completely off topic. Did you work for the CA Youth conservation corp at Torrey Pines the summer of 1981 or 82? If so, I’d love to catch up. This is Stephanie Irey (then Cromley). You can email me if you like.

    Stephanie

  10. Dear Janis,

    I like what you said. And in our culture, which is in fact very adversarial and predatory in many ways, it is very important to discover ways for men to mature into beings and roles that are supportive of the advancement of individuals and groups toward an actual civilization. We may have some of the trapping of that, but not the functions, as we wast astonishing amounts of energy of fictions, frictions, and fantasies. Even in government. Maybe especially there.

    The one useful thing I might add here is to highly recommend for readers of any gender or persuasion thereof, a wonderfully insightful and practical book by Naomi wolf. It is called “Vagina: a new biography.” It is an eye opening read on every level, and is written, though very scientifically based, in a very readable way. I cannot reco0mmend it enough.

    Thank you for your article. It was worth reading.

  11. Thank you for writing this article. I got a lot out of it. It is a lot to think about and to talk/write about to my 15-yr-old son. Thanks for showing us how. How did you son respond to it?

Trackbacks

  1. […] comment of the day is from Eli, on the post An Open Letter to My Son About Sex. It was in response to commenter Scott Heathcote, who wrote: “You seem to assume that males […]

  2. […] An Open Letter to My Son About Sex via the Good Men Project, 8/24/13 by Janis Whitlock, I was inspired to share my thoughts. […]

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