As a sex educator who believes deeply in the need for parents and caregivers to feel confident as the primary sexuality educators for their children, I felt the fear-based, alarmist tone of "Teenage Confidential" (Feb. 5) was enough to scare parents, not encourage them.
Rather than addressing the question posed on the cover, "So why should talking about it with your teens be so difficult?" the article perpetuates the notion that it is difficult and scary, without giving advice as to how to make it less scary.
Although I am an admirer of Airial Clark's work, I don't agree with her assertion that if she didn't make a special effort to educate her boys, she would "raise date rapists." If that were the case, most boys in the world would be date rapists. Nor do I feel terrified or helpless raising my son, as she asserts in her comments we all must feel.
On the contrary, I feel confident and empowered. This is the message I strive to convey to parents. Being the primary sexuality educator for your child is the opportunity to impart your values around sexuality and sexual health to your kids. What I can provide is the education to parents so they have the facts that go along with their personal values. And I encourage parents to take the opportunity to examine their values closely and be open to the possibility that these might change as their children grow and pose new challenges.
The article focuses on talking to our kids to keep boys from raping and to keep teens from suffering unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. Why not encourage parents to talk to their kids about sex, not just because we're scared of the consequences of not doing it, but because it's an incredibly important part of life, because we are sexual beings from birth until death?
We all want our kids to be happy and to have healthy, respectful, loving intimate relationships when they grow up. As parents and caregivers, we are our children's first experience of love. This education starts the moment they are born, as they learn about love and trust, as we meet their needs for food, shelter and affection with a loving touch.
If we have ongoing age-appropriate conversations with our children about sex and sexuality, including our own, by the time they are teens, it's all just part of life for them, and there's nothing to be grossed out about and nothing to be scared of.
Shame on you for setting up women and girls like this ("Teenage Confidential," Feb. 5), another notch in your gun of bait-and-switch. How many of the billion boys and men in the world will wave the cover of this issue in the face of 1 billion girls and women as a way to get into their pants? As you note, we "live in a rape culture." The real problem, as you pointedly failed to mention, is misogyny—lack of respect for women. At least you're making sexy advertising bucks.
I agree with Michele Luna [director of Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods] that we need to find other ways—besides use fees—to generate revenue to help fund our state parks ("Beaches 'n' Foes," Jan. 29). I believe there are revenue-generating options at the state and regional level to supplement operational costs and do away with use fees altogether. I, for one, would be interested in a committee at the regional level to explore alternatives for generating additional income for our local parks and preserves.
Congrats on new digs, must check out ("Wish Come True," Feb. 5). And wow—if these two have kids, they are going to have the best hair color ever!
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