Parenting

Let’s Talk about Love … with Teenage Boys

Today, I published an article asking why we do not talk about love and intimacy with teenage boys.  One survey I discuss in this article always elicits strong responses from my students, especially the men: it’s a survey that shows that boys in the US chose having a girlfriend and no sex over having sex and no girlfriend by two to one.  Why is the majority response such a secret?  And why does reading about it cause such a sense of revelation?  Perhaps because as a society, we don’t acknowledge that it is normal for young men to value relationships.  Read more here

March Speaking Events

I’ve just finished the last of 5 March speaking events that took me across the country: The Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies Program at Boston University, the CDC National STD Prevention Conference (in Minneapolis this year), the “Consider This” speaker’s series, hosted by Planned Parenthood Orange and San Bernardino Counties, Friday’s at Newcomb at Tulane University, and finally a panel on “Sexual Socialization in the 21st Century” at the meetings of the Southern Sociological Society in New Orleans.  I spoke before young people, parents, health policy makers, professionals, and researchers.  Despite their differences, they raised many of the same issues: especially the question of how —  as parents, educators, and providers — they can provide young people with an image of healthy sexual and emotional development, when so many forces work in the opposite direction.  One theme that kept coming back was the importance of giving more attention and support to the emotional and relational development of boys and young men than we typically do in our scholarship, healthcare, and popular culture (see also earlier post on the “hearts of boys.”)

Trends in Adolescent Sexual Health

I have been following the media coverage of Not Under My Roof very closely.  I have been especially intrigued by two articles.  The first is Amanda Marcotte’s article on Slate  in which she points at several signs that “truly comprehensive sex education [is] an idea whose time has finally come.”  The second is Laura Stepp’s suggestion in the Huffington Post that the recent decline in teen births can at least in part be attributed to more and more parents addressing the topic of sexuality and relationships with their teenage children.

 


Glee Teens “Lose it” with Love

In a blog on Huffington Post, I weigh in on the controversy about the episode in which two Glee couples make love for the first time.  I think the Glee episode is important because it shows teenagers exercising self-determination, making conscious choices and having sex in the context of romantic, but not necessarily life-long, love.  Readers share experiences and viewpoints.  A mother of younger children writes:

I’d tell my girls that they should wait at least until they are emotionally intimate with someone before they become sexual, and why that feels better to many women. No one told me that. I just got the vague lesson “good girls don’t” from my parents. As the writer says, that’s not the message that was needed. I needed to be told that it works better to be in love, and why. I would have felt better about waiting.

In response to one reader’s comment that chastity until marriage works best, another writes:

I think your forgetting one thing. Waiting for Sex after marriage is OK I guess, but lets not forget … Gays could not get married. [D]oes that mean they should never have sex their entire life …….wai­ting on this regressive society to come to fruition? I think not. That would mean millions of people would never know the wonderful experience of sharing physical love with the special one their hart has melted for.

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The New ABCD’s of Talking About Sex

Check out my oped, “The New ABCD’s of Talking About Sex with Teenagers,” published today at the Huffington Post.  In it, I address the following question:

How can American parents and other adults talk with teenagers about sexuality and romantic relationships in more positive terms, while bolstering young people’s capacities to protect themselves against potential negative experiences and consequences?

Read more

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Amy Schalet is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Read More...