Friday, March 28, 2014

Oh! That'll Be Trouble: Daughters and Sexuality

We now know that the Koalid is a girl, and, while I am trying to avoid people buying her lots of pink frilly things and dollies, I do tell people that she is a girl when they ask. Some of them give an answer along the lines of: "Oh! That'll be trouble!"

Obviously, they do not mean that little girls are harder to raise than boys. The conventional wisdom is that girls are better behaved that boys. What they mean is that someday, my little girl will discover boys and hormones, and then I'll be in trouble! I'll be up against those sneaky, nasty, conniving boys who are scheming to defile my daughter and steal her virtue.

I generally hold my tongue because my extensive knowledge of sales strategy teaches me that telling people that their thinking is idiotic and outdated is a poor way to keep friends.

The Koalid will be born in 2014, not 1814. I had my first sexual experience just shy of 16, which is fairly common. Unfortunately, also fairly common (although fortunately not my experience), too many of these young lovers, especially girls, are exploring this new realm in isolation from their families. They have been given cursory sexual education and generally are forbidden to do it. Of course, whether their parents want them to or not, the teens will find ways to explore their sexuality.

As a parent, there are two choices: force the teen to explore their sexuality without the benefit of parental experience and guidance, or be there to educate, support, and protect them as they explore. The third choice of preventing it from happening is a fools paradise. Even if a parent does manage to keep the teen from ever engaging in sexual activity while in high school, they are simply pushing the behavior to college years, with a few years of extra built up anticipation to put a bit of urgency to the exploration.

I am not afraid of this part of the Koalid's development as I am not afraid of any other part of her development. She will be taught to be confident and strong. She will not only be taught the basics of safer sex, but she will be taught the significance of sex. Not just some Disney version of perfect romance leading to perfect physical love, but the fact that it is an intense and intimate experience between two people, and that everyone experiences it differently and has different desires. She will be taught that no desire is improper as long as the expression of that desire is done in consideration of the needs and wants of all involved, as well as safety. She will be taught to express herself and her desires (or lack of desires) with confidence and without fear. She will be taught that she has the right to say no and that her lover has the obligation to abide by that. She will also be taught that she has the right to know what she wants and to ask for it.

I will not be the father who meets the date at the door and warns him to keep his hands to himself. I will be the father who raises a daughter who is strong enough to know whose hands she wants where and be able to deal with hands that go where they should not.

That said, I should make clear that for any boy who would choose to hurt by daughter for his own desires: the range, depth, and breadth of ways to bring Hell on Earth to an individual without significantly running afoul of the law are limited only by the dedication and creativity of the father of the girl you wronged. When motivated, I am very dedicated and creative.

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