Sex ads: It isn’t just Backpage.com

Posted: May 25, 2012 at 2:20 pm


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Most parents loathe talking to their kids about the birds and the bees, let alone pubic hair grooming, faked orgasms and water sports but most parents are not legendary sexpert Susie Bright.

Better than talking about these things, she penned an advice column in 2009 with her daughter, Aretha, then 19, for the ladyblog Jezebel. Their answers to questions about everything from porn to Paxil were unflinching but playful, and at times controversial. Now the pair have collected those columns into a new e-book, Mother/Daughter Sex Advice. Together, they read as an irreverent version of Our Bodies, Ourselves for the Internet age. The mother-daughter team also reflect on what the experience of writing the column was like, and it turns out it wasnt as weird as many would think: For the most part, it was just a continuation of conversations they had been having throughout Arethas life.

I spoke with them both by phone about sex-positive parenting, where they draw the TMI line with each other, and their tips for making the sex talk less awkward.

Aretha, this might be an annoying question, because Im sure youve gotten it for most of your life, but: Whats it like having a sexpert for a mom? Aretha: Ive been getting this question since second grade. Kids brought it up in the line at the cafeteria. I remember being way more defensive about it then, because just saying the word sex, it was like a four-letter word.

But now? Its the same answer I always give, which is that it was pretty cool. I was the envy of all of my friends throughout puberty and high school. Its interesting because now that Im college-aged, I can see differences in how kids were brought up and, you know, I can see how my upbringing has affected me.

Did you have friends in high school who desperately wanted to come over and ask your mom for advice? Aretha: I started community college when I was 13, so I had college friends who were in their 20s and late teens, and they felt really comfortable talking to my mom. Sometimes I got really jealous because theyd want to have alone time with her to talk about their relationship problems. With my high school friends, they felt too shy and inhibited. It was more that theyd come to me with a crisis and then Id bring it to my mom.

Were you ever uncomfortable talking to your mom about sex when you were younger? Aretha: No. Never. From age zero to now, I dont think its ever been uncomfortable.

Susie: Theres an important distinction between Do you feel comfortable talking about your personal sex life with your parents? and Do you feel comfortable talking about other peoples sex lives and sex in general, sex in the news and what if sex, where you say, I have a friend All of that were very comfortable with. I think anybody would be shy when you feel like you need a little distance between you and your parents.

Sometimes I talk to kids and they tell me, I have the opposite problem. My parents confide to me as if I was their little friend. For me, that isnt a healthy, sex-positive parental frame any more than being uptight and refusing to let a single word be said about it. Somehow, its the opposite but the same thing. A good parent says, You can talk to me about anything and it can be in general terms. If youve got a physical problem and youre uncomfortable talking, can I help get you to a clinic or a doctor that you would feel comfortable talking to? Dont get all hurt that they dont want to tell you, just help them find someone that they can talk to instead of getting all sulky about it and saying, You have to tell me everything or else I wont help you!

Aretha: I think weve always been sensitive about talking about each others sex lives. Except for when it comes to things that happened earlier in her life. I remember being really curious about how my mom lost her virginity. I could hear that story a million times.

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Sex ads: It isn’t just Backpage.com

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May 25th, 2012 at 2:20 pm