Sexuality – What did our parents teach us?

Newsletter, Issue 14

Through my relationship training and supervision, I have learned and continue to learn a lot about sexuality that has helped me for the first time understand my own experience more and opened up a new potential for intimacy. I should emphasise the word potential before you conjure up an image of perfection as I am just like everyone else with my own hang ups and stuff to work through, experiencing times of connection and joy and times of disconnection and pain in relationship. It’s most definitely a journey.

Parents Teach About Sexuality Whatever They Say or Do

A key discovery for me has been that we learn to regulate our sexual energy in relationship, and that the first relationship we learn this in is with our parents. Just take a moment to reflect on what your parents taught you about your sexual energy? Perhaps as you entered adolescence you were lucky and your parents knew what to do or say, or at least enough to support your newfound sexual energy. Alternatively, perhaps like many they didn’t know how.

Just think back.

* What did you want from your mother and father when you reached puberty?

* What were the differences in what you wanted from each of them based on their gender?

* What might they have said to acknowledge the man or woman you were becoming?

* How might they have celebrated and welcomed the changes in your body and your newfound sexuality?

Perhaps you would have wanted to be treated differently to acknowledge your new sexual energy as the hormones hit. Perhaps to feel a new respect of your personal space and privacy where they knocked on your door and waited for permission to come in, and left you to tidy your personal things. Perhaps to hear you were beautiful or handsome in your body despite your own discomfort or fears at the changes taking place. Perhaps to hear some wisdom from your mother, if you’re a woman, or your father, if you’re a man, about what it means to move from childhood into adulthood.

Reflecting on this opens doors, some of which we may struggle to hold open without support, so be compassionate and gentle with yourself, and with your partner if you reflect on it together. After all, there will be a link between your experience in adolescence with your parents and your adult sexual experience and sex life today. Perhaps discussing this with your partner will bring you closer and increase your mutual understanding of each other’s needs around intimacy and in bed, though it is likely to be scary too.

And if you have children who are heading towards or in adolescence, know you are not alone and all parents find it a challenging time. Perhaps these questions can give you a different lens to look at things through your own experience, and stimulate new discussions with your partner that may give you different choices or clarity as parents.

All the best wherever you are on the journey.


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