Can I get pregnant from kissing?
I am constantly horrified at how we talk about sex, sexuality and puberty to our children. There is still so much shame about our bodies and how we use them that we are willing to compromise and blatantly lie about what happens or is going to happen.
Let me share two examples with you that happened to me this week.
The first was at a less privileged school where we were handing out washable multi use sanitary pads for Dignity Dreams, an NGO doing really great work. We give a talk about menstrual health and puberty and then take questions. There were many but the one that stood out was: ‘Can I fall pregnant from kissing a boy?’
Let’s set aside for a moment that she obviously hadn’t understood egg and sperm discussion. What horrified me was the Life Orientation teacher’s response, which was: ‘Say yes!’
Lie and say yes because that makes all the sense in the world! The consequences of what seems like a silly lie are huge. We breach the trust we have spent hours trying to build with the girls. We are trying to give valid, scientific and anti shaming information. Kissing may lead to heavy petting, which may lead to penetrative sex, which may lead to pregnancy is the correct answer. Kissing can make you pregnant is just rubbish!
But having the conversation in real, open and honest terms is just too much, so let’s lie and ruin a life. If you think that kissing can make you pregnant then penis into vagina is not kissing and therefore will not make me pregnant. Innocent lie, dire consequence and this from a Life Orientation teacher.
It would seem to me that we need to spend more time educating the adults in these young people’s lives if we really want to make an impact and change the way we all think about sex.
The second incidence happened at a very up market private school, where we were brand building, looking for donors and volunteers, also for Dignity Dreams. www.dignitydreams.com
We have a large banner with the fallopian tubes, the menstrual cycle and the vulva depicted. The Vulva (the outside of the vagina, including clitoris, labia and vagina entrance is depicted in the right hand corner) and it takes a while for people to notice it. The reactions ranged from a startled ‘Oh!’ to ‘Sis!’ to ‘Is that what it looks like?’
The first two offend me and the third response breaks my heart because it came from teenagers in grades 10 and 11. They were already fully formed with breasts and hips and they had no idea what their genitals looked like!
I entered into a conversation with one who told me –probably for shock value, that she was gay but that if that was what the genitals looked like she may be too revolted to have sex. It was a Youtube moment.
She was 16 and identified as gay but had never ever looked at her genitals. I told her that the best way to do so is to get a hand mirror, lie in an empty bath and make friends. Her response was: ‘My mother will kill me!’ And therein lies the problem.
Another seminal moment. We are never going to change this view of sex as dirty and wrong, or the way we view and shame our bodies if we cannot change and educate the view of the adults in these kid’s lives.
I urge you as a parent, teacher, mentor and leader to stop being afraid of talking about sex and the issues around them in lies and shame. You serve no-one. Your shame merely scars and harms the next generation. If you don’t know how, maybe you need some lessons from us.
For now make a commitment to tell the truth, even if that truth is I really don’t know but let’s find out.
I believe with every cell in my body that we have to talk about our body parts and our physical interactions in open and honest terms. We have to educate not by just talking about eggs, sperm, rape and disease. We have to talk about pleasure, masturbation, body parts, care and consent. We have to talk about sex and sexuality and if you are the adult thinking, ‘not my child’, YOU need it most of all because your child has access to information and from where I’m standing the information they find is rubbish.
If you would like to book us for a talk on menstrual health and puberty or sex and sexuality, and change your and your child’s life, contact me today so we can set it up – firstname.lastname@example.org