How to Teach Your Boys about Sexual Communication
November 10th, 2017 by Alison Dwight
How to Teach Your Boys about Sexual Communication
Silicon Valley Conscious Parenting
“You are the kindest, tenderest, finest person I have ever known…and even that is an understatement”.
True story. To some women, saying that they look “Hot” whether from a stranger, a male or even a female, may be offensive, maybe even ‘scary’, or it could be appreciated and uplifting!! The delicate calibration of communication is based on the individual receiving the communication; their past experiences, past domestication by their parents of origin “POG”, their culture that most influenced them, their personal perceptions of self, self worth, and self expression…just to start! For me personally, I mostly enjoyed affirmations about my external appearance even if they were heading toward steamy; however, it is possible that the wrong person or wrong environment could make me feel anything from uncomfortable to offended to frightened to angry.
When it comes down to it, commenting on any person’s physical appearance is Your perception of how You interpret what You see based on your past conditioning, experiences, environment, culture, genetics; and what you project and that may be not only an uninvited comment, but could possibly by harmful, if not life changing in a non helpful way! Even if you say something “complimentary”, this may connote that if the receiver of the comment appeared not so….would they still be acceptable and affirmed by you? Which might mean not rejected and isolated, but included and accepted.
On the contrary; I have had comments made about how someone else perceived me that made me feel inspired, motivated, uplifted, understood and seen!
You see, it is very delicate.
Remind yourself Before you speak, even if it is a compliment about a persons appearance, that this is an subjective comment on Your interpretation.
As well, remind ourselves, that underneath the skin, hair, eyes, body, clothes, etc, is a Soul, a spirit, an eternal divine energy…right?
I am a lover and a connoiseur of beauty and wellness of sorts, yet I am aware that there is a human spirit underneath and that my observation and comments may not be invited, or appreciated and often times be a kind of “objectification”!
Objectification of a woman is when we see them as an Object (and may forget or undervalue them as a human). An object of say, beauty, sexuality, power, sensuality, but underneath that initial observation, again, is a human being. Maybe a daughter, a sister, a mother, an aunt, etc.
Beauty in nature and in life is so profound is it not? And yes, “beauty” is subjective to all. Everyone has a different alchemy and should be encouraged to expand their view of what is “beautiful”! Kids are being programmed by social media, media, culture, friends, etc to have a narrow acceptance of what is valuable, beautiful or acceptable. We should continue to lovingly challenge and expand these views safely without judgment.
A beautiful view, flower, bird, animal, sunset, dance, body, face, hair, muscles, skin. It is the stuff of the muse, of music, of poems, of songs. It is inspirational and moving and that is all good.
We are all humans. We see, hear, taste, smell, touch.
We are attracted to certain appearances; sounds, tastes, smells and feelings, it is our nature. We are living beings in physical form.
How do we teach or Boys (and our girls) to have a practice of awareness about how we perceive, the thoughts we have, the words we say, the feelings we have, and the behaviors and actions that may follow these?
I don’t remember Ever reading a book growing up on how to have self awareness and how to communicate regarding sexual or sensual perceptions…do You?
No wonder we have a build up of generations, decades, millennia of individuals and families that have had No self awareness, no education, and certainly no daily practice regarding communicating, let alone sexual communication.
Here is the breakdown; for this article, very simplified and basic.
1. Viewing and perceiving another human that you are physically attracted to is Natural and not a bad thing, in fact a healthy thing.
2. Whether you are attracted to a male or female is a personal preference and is not to be judged or ridiculed…ever.
3. Although you find someone else attractive, or beautiful, they may not have reciprocal thoughts or feelings and that is okay. Be aware of your expectations.
4. Although you find someone else physically attractive, your communication to them about this may have one of the following results.
a. They are flattered and feel the same about you.
b. They are flattered and do not feel the same about you.
c. They are uncomfortable about the comment, but not upset or offended
d. They are uncomfortable about the comment, and feel upset (a calibration of levels) or may feel frightened (a calibration of levels). This often depends on whether the commenter is in a position of power which creates fear.
5. The kind of words you use to describe your feelings should be measured. Do you say….you are smokin hot bae…do you say…you are one of the sweetest people I know, and I think you are really beautiful? Or any myriad of combinations. Right? Think! What do you want to communicate…what does he or she feel when you say this? What are your expectations?
Look guys…this is just an invitation to think of multiple discussions and even workshops and activities you can have with your boys…young men.
How do your boys speak to you, to their sister(s) to their mother, friends, teachers, strangers, waiters, servers, etc.
How do You speak to others? What do your children hear you saying directly to others? What do your children hear you saying about others? What do your children observe you saying verbally and non verbally to your partner? Understand that this is a profound influence, if not The most profound influence. No?!?
What Can you Do Now:
1. I suggest you start in elementary school dialoguing with your boys about their friends. Gently inviting a safe listening environment where you “ANRLT” (Active Non Reactive Listening Technique).
Actively Listen (attentive, connected, non interrupted, eye contacted, forward facing) with Non Reaction (no comments of Any type whether positive, negative, instructive, metaphorical. No sounds or movements of judgment, only sounds of affirmation that you are Hearing them. Ask if there is more. Repeat. Lastly ask them if you can try to repeat what you think you heard them say. Like a bullet point summary with as much detail as you can recall. Ask them if you got it right and listen without any comments. After. Say. Nothing. Except that you are So Glad that you had this conversation and that you love listening to them and would be there for them any time they wished to talk again, anytime, anywhere, anyplace. That is It!! (Do this Individually..not as a group)
2. Continue to dialogue about what they think, say, feel, and observe about girls, or people they are attracted to using ANRLT.
3. If they tell you something that seems like it needs to be a teaching moment, ask them First “what would you do differently now that you know what you know”. Or “what do you think you should do”.
4. Start to play with role playing communication. Move them from one chair to another being in different characters. One may be themselves (upset). Another may be themselves (kind. Wise. Observing. Compassionate) Another may be the other person.
*See Gestalt techniques
5. Look at pictures of what is attractive and ask them what they perceive/see. Listen. No comments. Just repeat back to them what you hear them say with no judgment. Then ask them to make some thoughts about how the person might be underneath their appearance. Are they happy? Sad? Strong? Kind? Struggling?
Go deep as you can. Remember kids have very short attention spans and are usually needing nutrition, exercise and or alone time!!!
6. Start playing with ideas for different ways and words to say to others. Make a game of it. Have them write, or you write. Imagine how the receiver might feel or react.
7. That No means No always…even if someone says they don’t mean it…tell them it means that to you Always.
8. Lastly, let your boys know that you trust them and that they earn your trust. That they are good, kind, gentle, strong, compassionate, powerful and that you love them unconditionally. That we do the Best we can in the moment with the information, skills and experience that we have at the moment. That we are constantly growing and learning. That we cannot control how others think or feel about us, but we can control how we think, feel and behave around others and That is where self awareness turns to personal healthy power, love, trust, abundance, and equanimity.
*Please see my article on “Sexual Communication and Possible Mixed Messages. How to Teach Your Girls About Sexual Communication. Silicon Valley Conscious Parenting.
* Sex for the Next Generations. What is It? What does it Mean? What does it Do? Silicon Valley Conscious Parenting.