Parents Have You Said Clitoris to Your Child? - A International Clitoris Awareness Week Challenge

For International Clitoris Awareness Week (May 6th thru the 12th), I've taken the activism challenge, and I'll be posting some clit related blogs each day this week. Today, I'm going to present a challenge to all the mothers and fathers out there.

The challenge is this: Parents, say the word clitoris to your daughters and sons before they hit puberty, and if that time has past - just say it.

Think about when you learned about the word clitoris. How old were you? How did you hear it? Did you know what it meant or where it was on the body? Did you ever hear your mother or father say it? What about the word penis? When did you first learn what it was and where it was on the body?

The penis is the male organ of sexual pleasure and the clitoris is the organ of female sexual pleasure, yet boys and girls rarely hear the word clitoris in our formative years. If we hear anything, we hear "vagina" - or if we're lucky "vulva." The vagina is not the organ of sexual pleasure, yet it is what we most often hear in relation to females and sex. However, most of us know what a penis is early in life and eventually associate it with sexual pleasure. Unfortunately, we rarely get that early knowledge of the clitoris, and sometimes never fully associate it with sexual pleasure. In fact we wrongly associate the vagina with sexual pleasure. Just imagine for a minute how that affects our sexual experiences, and then imagine how things might have been different if you had heard a parent say the word clitoris to you and associated it with an area on the body.

Talking about sexual things with kids is scary though, even for the most sex positive among us, so I'm here to help. First, here's an exchange that Alix Kates Shulman imagined in her fabulous 1971 essay, "Organs and Orgasms."
 I think this is a great way to think about the physical differences between males and female. Girls have 3 separate organs for reproduction (vagina) , sexual pleasure (clitoris), and urination (urethral opening), whereas boys have only one organ that takes care of all 3 (penis).

Also, in case you don't think you can actually say the words, here are links to child appropriate books that can do it for you. Just give it to them and tell them they can ask any questions they want once they read it.

Book List

"What's Happening to Me?" This book was sitting around my husband's house while he was growing up, and since he has 5 younger siblings, it was still sitting around when we started dating. I think it's still there. Anyway, all 8 of those kids read this, and even though it didn't involve a big talk or anything with the parents, it was still available, and that in itself was something kinda progressive, a subtle message from parent to child, that I think had a positive effect. It doesn't have a lot about the clit but it's there, and it is associated with pleasure.

What's Happening to Me? This isn't the same book as the one above - notice the lack of quotes. I believe this is focused for boys. The web said this is good, but not for conservatives, but what is?

What's Happening to Me? (Girls's Edition) For the daughters.

It's Perfectly Normal - This is highly praised on the ol' internets, recommended for ages 10 to 14 and is pretty comprehensive. It does include a discussion of the clitoris as an organ of sexual pleasure.

Now, I have not read the last 3. My leanings are from web research, so please read the book yourself and decide when and if these are appropriate for your kids.

Any way you decide to do this is an amazing step forward, and I applaud any effort you have already or plan on putting towards this challenge. Also, thanks for trying your best to raise well adjusted kids. It's a heavy job, but an extremely important one - cause as Whitney once said, "the children are the future."

No comments:

Post a Comment