Self-Censorship in Sex Ed?
When my daughters were eight and ten years old, I tried to give them a lesson in old rock hits from when I was young—AC/DC, Journey, Van Halen, all the songs that were popular when I was their age.
I never intended this to be a sex ed lesson, but as you’ve heard me say before, sex is everywhere—and sometimes it shows up when you least expect it especially when I called up a Pandora channel called AC/DC “TNT.”
If you’re familiar with this music, you probably know where this is going. It started off innocently enough, with me just wanting to teach my kids about some of the “jams” of my youth… Well, I won’t go into the details of every song—“TNT” alone was hilarious with lyrics like, “lock up your daughter, lock up your wife. Lock up your back door and run for your life”— and “I’m a power load…watch me explode”… (Writing about the song “Big Balls” is a post on its own!) I feel a little weird just writing this! (I’m sure it has something to do with how I felt hearing this as a tween.) I nearly chickened out. I took a deep breath and explained to my kids that the lyrics had a double meaning of the guy being a loose cannon you don’t want to pick a fight with, but also, of course, representing ejaculation. My eight-year-old didn’t get it—she’ll get it soon enough—but my oldest had eyes as big as saucers. All she could say was “really?” Then, with what I detected to be a sign of exasperation, she muttered, “Boys are always talking about their penises.”
Can someone tell me why “innocence” and “naïveté” are so prized in children? Who are these inside jokes supposed to keep out… children? The Man? Why? What purpose does self-censorship have when it’s about something as silly as basic human functions? Sometimes, adults will tell me about situations that occurred when they were younger. Sex blogger Redhead Bedhead wrote a funny post about songs of the 80’s and the not-so-subtle sexual messages of 80’s music. The kicker was the time she sang “Push It” in school and got in trouble— never mind that similar music was played at talent shows and kindergarten graduations. Was her age the big factor? If it is, it’s confusing for children. I can’t think of an instance where self-censorship has resulted in a positive outcome. Ultimately when a child got into trouble for behavior that was previously ok and the rules changed without notice, it affected them in one-way or another.
I know from experience that having these conversations can be awkward, but it’s not life or death. Nobody dies as a result of having been let in on a joke. It’s freeing to understand why something was acceptable then, and not acceptable later. If nothing else, the kids just get to understand reality better—and most of that reality is that adults really are (usually) fixated on sex.
This article has been republished with permission from Lanae St.John.
Please visit Lanae St.John’s website to view the original post and more of Lanae’s works.
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