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Talking to teenage boys about sex. Impossible, isn't it?

(64 Posts)
slambang Fri 21-Sep-12 20:08:18

All the books say 'be open with your teenager, listen non judgementally, try not to be shocked when they tell you stuff.'

Tell you stuff? How the bloody hell do you get boys to do that???

I tried to drop into a (relevant) conversation while washing up with ds (15) my attitude about respecting girls. (In a nutshell: If she says no she means no. If she says maybe she means no. If she says yes then you still have enough respect for each other to think carefully if it's a good idea or not for you both.)

Ds was mortified! Shut up mum shut up! Stop talking to me about it! I know that already, what do you think I am? Are you calling me a rapist?! Stop talking about this PLEASE!!

How on earth does a good old-fashioned feminist mum ever get the chance to instil a few values? Dh says by setting an example, but our dcs don't exactly see our example in that aspect of life. Anyone managed better?

pygsney Fri 21-Sep-12 20:13:38

I think you have to give up on the idea of a cosy chat while you each listen to the other's view. He was embarrassed, but he will still have heard you. Just keep being embarrassing and giving your views, it's the way it's always been.

WofflingOn Fri 21-Sep-12 20:17:58

Watching, talking about and unpicking issues in TV programmes he likes, like CSI.
Covers a range of abusive and unacceptable behaviour.
Little and often otherwise, rather than long heavy discussions. I've had to promise that I will never use first-hand examples of anything!

RubyFakeNails Fri 21-Sep-12 20:21:28

Without sounding like a teen, the way you're talking to him does sound very sort of 'leaflet' like. Its the sort of style I think my teens hear from teachers. I always find its much better to have a conversation about a topic with an example.

When watching the news/some other programme and maybe the topic of rape comes up for one reason or another I use that as an opener "god isn't that awful, can you imagine how she felt, how traumatised she was, bla bla bla' I think they find it much less embarrassing when its a bit less personal and sort of indirect. Sometimes I just come back form the cinema or friends or bring a book I've read but I nearly always talk about 'awkward' topics as part of a broader discussion.

If you do the lets talk about sex, now, out of the blue style I think it just comes across as so planned and contrived and awkward. Just discussing as you go along is much better.

slambang Fri 21-Sep-12 20:29:39

I do the casual little and often approach but it's like ds has a radar for anything tenuously related to sex or morals. I tried mentioning that porn wasn't anything like real life the other day. He looked at me like I'd vomited on his xbox. wink

slambang Fri 21-Sep-12 20:35:06

Naah Ruby - that's why I said it was a relevant conversation when I brought it up. I didn't just launch into a sermon. We were already talking about a news article that included a rape and having an interesting conversation about age of consent and alcohol. Ds was happy to join in with that until I expressed an opinion that could have been taken to infer that it might be related to him.

RubyFakeNails Fri 21-Sep-12 20:42:15

Yeah never relate to them directly, never even suggest it.

Or there is the other option.

Something I occasionally use but is not popular, with dcs or other parents and you have to be quite shameless.

WofflingOn Fri 21-Sep-12 20:59:14

Teenage boys get blamed by society, the general public and almost everyone for a huge number of offences. They are regarded with suspicion by so many who don't know them as individuals.
So perhaps the time to start all those conversations is much younger, respecting a person's autonomy doesn't have to relate to rape, you could discuss it with a much younger boy in appropriate terms.

KillerRack Fri 21-Sep-12 22:00:16

I would have been mortifed too, I think you could have said 'I know you probably already know this'

Otherwise he will infer that you think he is disturbed or moronic enough to think rape is okay , IYSWIM could come across as very patronizing and ham fisted?.

The problem with 'feminist values' as regards to boys as its too often done very badly and comes across as criticism.

TheOneAndOnlyMaryZed Fri 21-Sep-12 23:39:45

Yes, I can relate to this.

I was of the school of thought of "answer their questions as they arise". But with the boys, once they got to about the age of 6, they stopped asking questions, so it sort of got put off.

So when ds1 was 12 I made dh take him for a walk and corner him to give him the "facts of life".

dh arrived home delighted with himself. He had covered the mechanics of sex, the main STD's, a warning about pregnancy, lots of stuff.

So I said "did you discuss respect, and how girls might feel, and how simply viewing sex as a mechanism and a simple "release of tension" won't lead to a happy relationship.

No, he said, I just told him the facts.

And now ds1 is 18, and we never got past that fucking useless conversation.

No wonder boys' views of sex is warped by viewing porn. That is still the only sex ed they get - and it's not for want of trying. God knows, I've tried to discuss it with both the boys many times and got absolutely nowhere.

RubyFakeNails Fri 21-Sep-12 23:53:25

Well Maryz, you could try my favourite alternative approach but as I said it often goes down like a lead balloon and you need to be shameless or at least not easily embarrassed.

nooka Sat 22-Sep-12 06:05:51

My ds is only 13 but we still manage the occasional 'deep and meaningful' conversation every now and then. Not nearly as many as with dd mind. Most often we talk all together which helps maybe as it's not so intense?

I tend to use humour quite a bit with him, so he's more likely to laugh than run away smile

Himalaya Sat 22-Sep-12 06:44:09

What's the other option?

KillerRack Sat 22-Sep-12 12:03:35

I think try and make it not sound like a lecture.

Is his dad around? tbh those conversations don't bode well ever from the opposite gender.

OrangeImperialGoldBlether Sat 22-Sep-12 13:17:29

I've said this before on MN but you have to bring in "people you know."

So: a friend of mine has a daughter who walked through the park (that I knew my daughter would in all likelihood walk through) and was attacked

A friend's daughter's friend was sleeping with a boy from school who told all his mates and now she doesn't want to go to school

A friend of mine went home with a boy who thought that meant she wanted sex - she did but she changed her mind and got scared - she called the police and all hell ensued.

None of these people exist - I bring them out when I think something's worth discussing. They found it easier to talk about that sort of thing if they were talking about another person.

Never offer an opinion, is my advice. "Oh god, the poor girl - I can't imagine feeling like that" is the furthest I tend to go. They will have to disagree with whatever you say, but will be able to look more objectively at another person's situation.

Soaps are very good for that sort of thing.

Leftwingharpie Sat 22-Sep-12 13:47:22

Have you seen the episode of Malcolm in the Middle where Lois corners Malcolm for The Talk during a long car drive?

SecretSquirrels Sun 23-Sep-12 14:14:21

OrangeImperialGoldBlether - Brilliant. I love that idea. I have sort of used it, the people I know being anecdotes from Mumsnet quite often. I need to work on some scenarios to remember.

OP I have tried your approach and I am usually met with a horrified "what kind of person do you think I am".

RubyFakeNails Sun 23-Sep-12 14:24:39

Forgot about this thread, so sorry in not getting back to it. The other method i use is I say things which are quite extreme.

It tends to grab their attention. I don't think it does any damage and its quite memorable to them so it does the job.

DS still, nearly 4 years later goes on about 'the facial incident'. So I'm convinced I got the message across.

KillerRack Sun 23-Sep-12 14:27:21

I think the only golden rule really is not talking about your own sex life in anyway, There's no way of making it appropriate so best to steer away, I know from experience.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 23-Sep-12 14:30:01

I wish I could get ds (15) to shut up about it.

This mornings peach was about how he was talking to some girls last night, one was clearly interested and said so, DS declined because she was only 13 and said "Do I look like a paedo, Mum?"

"No son"

"No, but DO I?"

"No son and you did the right thing in not encouraging someone so young"

"But Mum, she must have thought I was a paedo....."

etc, etc

Hullygully Sun 23-Sep-12 14:34:06

ds - no probs

dd? No way

RubyFakeNails Sun 23-Sep-12 14:36:27

Killer It appears I have broken the golden rule many a time.

But as I said I do like a few shock tactics every now and again.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 23-Sep-12 14:36:56

And he keeps making me smell him before he goes out....

"Is the Lynx nicer than the David Beckham Instinct, Mum"

"No son, the Lynx is a bit iffy"

<DS goes to shower off the offending Lynx>

"Now how do I smell, Mum?"

<mum chokes on the bath he has clearly taken with Becks>

RubyFakeNails Sun 23-Sep-12 14:38:32

Katie DS used to do that, smelling is the ultimate teen crime.

Although teen DDs are much worse, trust me.

KatieScarlett2833 Sun 23-Sep-12 14:39:53

<laughs hollowly>

I have threads and threads about DD(17)

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