Doubly Damned?

Many of the writers here at pagan and pen are not only pagan, but also writing in the erotica genre. In terms of our scope for being disapproved of, this really is a double whammy.

Now add in being a parent.

Mainstream culture still equates innocence with ignorance, steadfastly clings to the notion that children are non-sexual beings (which isn’t so, many children form their sexual identities, preferences etc young). Exposing children to human nudity (at for example pagan camps, some allow it) is seen by some folk as tantamount to child abuse. Mainstream culture happily bombards young folk with sexual images in advertising, but still frowns on talking to them about it in any kind of meaningful ways. Pop music is frequently rife with innuendo, but we’ve all heard the stories about intelligent books being banned, and difficulties on teaching responsible lessons on sex and relationship in classrooms.

I love that fact that paganism doesn’t treat sex as dirty, shameful or sinful. To us, it’s a natural, spiritual, beautiful thing that should be celebrated. We write about it with enthusiasm. At the same time, we inhabit the world where fear dominates. Collectively as a specious, we are very afraid when it comes to children. The laws of the land I live in seem increasingly inclined to wrap them in cotton wool, limit their access to adults, deny them the learning experiences that come from taking risk, and make sure they are in no way equipped to deal with the adult world.

Children need to learn in supportive environments, where questions can be answered and fears assuaged. I remember having my innocence ‘protected’ by people who withheld information, and how terrified I was by the idea of things so horrendous that no one would talk to me about them. Ignorance is not the same as innocence, and most certainly is not bliss.

My philosophy has always been that if a child is old enough to ask a question, they are old enough to need an answer. You have to pitch it at a level they can understand. Smart kids who learn about nature figure out a lot about reproduction, and they do it early. My son knows a few of the technical issues, and is relaxed about them. No longer frightened if he finds a spot of blood in the bathroom. No longer confused about where life comes from. It’s better that way, I think.

He has also asked about what I write. Sometimes I write non-erotica things I can share with him – so I do. He knows there are things that I won’t share with him yet because he’s not ready for them, and currently he’s happy to accept that as an answer. One day, he will ask me why, and I will try and explain in a way that makes sense to him. I know people who would be horrified by this and accuse me of corruption, being irresponsible, a bad parent, a bad person. Perfectly aware that if I wrote murder mysteries, no one would make anything of it.

I think the more afraid we become on behalf of the young humans, the more risk we run of harming them. We teach them that fear. Yes, there are terrible things in the world, but we can’t protect our children from those things by pretending they don’t exist. Nor can we keep them safe by overprotecting them, because they won’t learn the life skills they need for adulthood. Ignorance only serves to breed fear and reinforce it. Treat them like small people as much as you can, not like a separate species. Let them learn and grow at their own pace. Don’t try and protect them from everything. Life is to be lived, and risk is part of life. Sex, after all, is what got them here, and they have an interest in understanding themselves. Respect them, give them truth when they need it.

 And so I am pagan, parent and writer of erotica, and not at all ashamed of that combination.

5 thoughts on “Doubly Damned?”

  1. Bravo! I strive for the same level of age-appropriate honesty with my children. They’re fantastic people and becoming more and more interesting every day.

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  2. AWESOME article Bryn!
    I raise my children on the same philosophy—if they are old enough to ask then they are old enough for an answer. I think society is screwing up thinking that if they don’t speak about sex aside from saying–“Don’t do it!”–that it won’t happen. I think instead of pounding into their skulls not to go out and have sex because they will burn in Hell or whatever—they need to be teaching them about STDs, birth control, protection, about feeling comfortable and not doing it under peer pressure but when they are comfortable.

    Especially girls or young ladies…how many teenage girls can say their first time was dreeeeeeeeamy? And how many can say that they had sex the first time because they actually wanted to and didn’t feel like they had to? Telling them not to isn’t prevention. Instead we have kids learning nothing and having sex way before they should and getting in trouble because no one handle the information properly.

    I have a teenage boy and we talk about STDs, masturbation (and how its healthy and SAFE), and we talk about respecting girls, protecting HIMSELF even if the young lady claims she is taking birth control, and so on. I think we have a comfortableness between us now so that when he does decide to have sex, he will discuss it with me. Its hard for me to imagine “my baby boy” doing grown up things, its hard to swallow “what” he MIGHT be doing in the bathroom for so long lol, but if he can grow up without the insanity I was taught, and if he can be wiser than I was, and if he can respect a woman way more than what most men do…then I say I can hack down a little weirdness in order to present the world with a better man.

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  3. Bryn, I agree 100% with you. Although I have no children of my own I still remember the frustration and confusion as a kid when asking questions that my mother either refused to answer or was curt about.

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve seen the world change and not for the better. Parents protesting against sex education and then wonder why teen pregnancy has sky-rocketed.

    I recently read an on-line poll by Seventeen magazine where they ask questions of boys between 15-20 years old. The level of ignorance was amazing. A huge percentage of boys believed girls couldn’t get pregnant during their monthly cycles, that using two condoms was the best way to prevent pregnancy, and that if a girl was on birth control they could be assured 100% of no chance of pregnancy so no need for a condom.

    That’s just the tip of the iceberg. All I could do was shake my head in disbelief. Kids need their parents to be honest and straight forward with them. Yes, it might be uncomfortable, but then that’s part of being a parent.

    My best friend who has a thirteen year old said at one time that she would never lie or avoid her son when he started asking questions. She also said that if he chose to have sex as a teenager she couldn’t stop him, but that she would buy him condoms herself if that’s what it took to protect him.

    That for my money is a brave woman, especially since his father (her ex-husband) was horrified by her brutal honesty.

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  4. I think there’s a lot to be said for encouraging experimenting teens in the direction of what they can do with their hands… because that is low risk, and not so emotionally overwhelming, and less likely to hurt the girls if they do it in a shared sort of way.

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