As I have said many times before, shame about our bodies and sex are not natural or normal. They are learned at very young ages and they persist well into adulthood. Most of us never really get over them. Even more evolved naturists/nudists, who profess to be about not body shaming, are all too quick to bring out the old canard of sex-shaming on an ongoing basis. Some of them seem so obsessed with sex shame that they regularly post, "I will block anyone who posts porn," apparently not stopping to realize that sex shame is really just an extension of body shame, which they claim to oppose.
Not long ago, I posted a naked photo of myself sitting at my desk working. Shortly thereafter, a follower commented, "I don't really care about your pierced penis," almost as if to say, "yes, I'm a nudist but don't show me your dick."
Shame is insidious that way. And shame about our bodies and sex goes really deep because it starts so young.
Our interest in our bodies and pleasure very early indeed and a growing body of science shows that we begin masturbating before we are even born. Shame about sex and our bodies comes later: when our parents begin scolding or punishing us for being naked or for playing with our pleasure spots. Its a shame that cuts particularly deep because the basic message such parents are inadvertently sending their kids is that there is something inherently wrong with them.
Understanding that bodies and sex are are integral aspects of who we are as people, some parents are working to raise a generation of kids that have no shame about their bodies or sex. It sounds easier than it is for a bunch of reasons, not the least of which is that most parents wanting to raise unashamed kids are still wanting working to rid themselves of the shame that was drilled into their own heads.
One such parent described catching her young daughter masturbating in the living room the first time:
The first time I caught one of my kids playing with their genitals, I said absolutely nothing. I was momentarily paralyzed with indecision. One thing I knew for a fact I did not want to do was to shout, "No!" or "Stop!" What good could that possibly do? Sure, I would be spared the awkwardness of catching my child playing with her genitals on the living room floor, but what kind of lesson is that? To fear or ignore your own vagina?
I thought about it almost constantly for two days, and of course she gave me a second chance to react.
You can read the whole piece here. Its provocative and interesting.
I will never have kids of my own. But I have to admit I admire the parents who are trying to raise their kids in ways that honor and respect their bodies. Some day, a more enlightened generation will look back at our attitudes about nakedness and sex and wonder how we survived. Until then, lets all salute the parents working to carve a new shame-free path for their own children.