Moms in Babeland

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Adult Sleepover Etiquette

This week my partner and I are about to take a big step. He is going to stay the night on a school night while my son is home. I know that the idea of an adult sleepover is not a big deal to my son–his dad lives with his girlfriend–but mom’s house is different. It is the house that is always structured and safe, and for the last three years has been inhabited by only my son, the dog and me.

There are so many questions about our behavior as a couple as we take this next step, “Do we still shower together or do we need to shower separately?” and “Do we have sex if we are in the mood?”.My partner is nervous that we may be giving the wrong impression about showering together, but I try very hard to not have body/nudity shame in the house and feel that showering together is not going to send mixed messages or disinformation to J (my son). Read the full post »

To Give or Not to Give an 18 Year Old Girl a Vibrator? That is the Question…

There’s a bit of a debate going on over at BabyCenter about whether it’s ok to give your daughter a vibrator when she turns 18. They’ve all agreed that it’s generally not ok to give it to her in front of her friends (agreed), but the number of parents who are steadfastly against the idea of gifting a young woman a vibrator astounds me. So for the record here are 2 great reasons why I think you should:

1. She will learn where her clitoris is, and this will unlock the secrets of her sexuality. If your kids are learning anything at all in school regarding sex, chances are the location of the clit, and how to pleasure it, are not on the curriculum. Most schools’ sex education is limited to discussions of disease prevention (which focus more on condoms and penises than clits), and contraception (again, no need to mention the clitoris here). So as a good parent who supplements all that is lacking in your child’s education, you can explain this yourself or at least give her access to a good book or web site. But her explorations may still not be as fruitful as her male counterparts’ will be—unless you give her a vibrator, and that leads us to reason number 2:

2. A vibrator can give her an orgasm. Maybe you don’t want to take credit for your daughter’s first orgasm, but let me ask you this: would you rather she didn’t have one? Since most women require a little assistance in order to achieve orgasm, a vibrator really can be the thing that helps her figure this out at 18 rather than 48 (and let me tell you at Babeland we sell a lot of vibrators to older women for this very reason). Once she experiences an orgasm and understands this part of her sexuality, she will be more capable of enjoying and subsequently owning decisions regarding her sexuality.

So IMHO, an excellent graduation of birthday gift for any young woman would be a vibrator and a copy of the book Moregasm. It would be like getting a driver’s license and a car at the same time!

And as a mom who puts her money where here mouth is, I tried giving my daughter a vibrator when she was 14, along with a great book and and a pep talk for self-pleasure, because I thought it was an important gesture to make for the two reasons above. She wasn’t ready for it and returned it to my room, but I feel confident that when she is, at least she knows where to find it.

Help Make a Book about What Makes a Baby!

Dear parent: are you in for a surprise. If you have ever read a ‘where do babies come from’ book to your young child and cringed everytime you get to the explanation “daddy puts his seed in mommy because they love each other”, you are in for a long-awaited treat.

What Makes a Baby is a children’s picture book about where babies come from that is totally unique and unlike any other because it’s written and illustrated to include all kinds of kids, all kinds of adults, and all kinds of families. Read the full post »

What My Kids Learned About Sex…From Musicals

My older daughter loves musicals. She has aspirations to sing on Broadway. So we watch a lot of musicals, which I must admit (not having been a big musical fan), I have enjoyed very much. Musicals really do put a spring in your step and a song in your heart (which you can use when you’re pushing Fifty). But lately what I’ve enjoyed about them most are the ways they are teaching my kids about life, diversity, sex, history, and morality.

Sure we love the classics like Singing in the Rain, but there ain’t much of a social message there. Give us Hairspray with the drag queen mom, the fat-positive teenage lead, and the civil rights struggle. And they adored The Rocky Horror Picture Show with its fabulous soundtrack and lore–but boy did I answer a lot of questions about transvestites, bisexuality, and geez, even cannibalism. In South Pacific the characters struggle with racism, interracial relationships, and children born out of wedlock. In Funny Girl they see a driven and talented career showgirl who earns more money than her husband (and does exactly what she wants while telling everyone else not to rain on her parade). Read the full post »

When The Book You Gave Someone’s Child Has Content They Might Not Approve of (aka Whoops)!

This post is about books and stories that help us to understand life, but that might not be so easy to digest. I remember falling in love with reading when I encountered my favorite author, Tom Robbins, in my teens. I wonder what my parents would have thought if they had snatched Another Roadside Attraction out of my hands as I was devouring it at age 16.

I want to share with you this lovely story, telling of fertility and the cycle of life. Connecting a trip to Babeland and (a big Dildo!) in a Sherman Alexie story. Along with some other big dildo magic.

“For those of us who were not immaculately conceived, we need sex to have babies. And we need a lot of laughter to survive pregnancy and parenting in a healthy state of mind.”

My story of stories is actually about another Sherman Alexie book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. I knew of Sherman Alexie from school in Arizona, reading Reservation Blues seems almost like a lifetime ago. Read the full post »

Toddlers and Preschoolers: Too Young for the Sex Talk?

It’s easy to think that your child is too young for a discussion about sexuality. But the continuous flow of information through the media makes it likely that your children are regularly exposed to messages about sexuality, even if they don’t exactly understand what they’re seeing and hearing. By using language they understand you can begin to explain sexuality in ways that are appropriate for their age.

This may seem like an advanced topic to discuss with babies and toddlers, but as their main teachers it’s important for parents and caregivers to help them develop a healthy attitude toward sexuality. For children up to age two you can begin by naming all the parts of their bodies, teaching them that their entire body is natural and healthy. (“This is your arm.This is your elbow.This is your vulva/penis.This is your knee.”) By reacting calmly when they touch their genitals, you are teaching them that sexual feelings are normal and healthy. By holding them, hugging them, talking with them, and responding to their needs, you are laying the groundwork for trust and open discussions as they grow up. Read the full post »

Frank Sex Advice from a Father to his Daughter

I wanted to share with you a letter a friend of mine wrote, a father, for his 18-year-old daughter as she headed off to college.

My Sweet Daughter,

I have taught you so much over the years, and now I need to talk to you a bit about love and sex. I want to share with you the little bit I’ve learned in my life, and offer you a man’s perspective, to help set you on a path toward happy and satisfying relationships. As you move through them, you get to write your own detailed and profound beginnings, middles and perhaps ends on this subject.

First, let me also acknowledge that what a man, a partner, a father says about sex is limited to what they know, what they have experienced, what they can imagine.  And, this also assumes you are interested in men.  If it is women, or both for you, than much of this still applies, please change the pronouns. Read the full post »

Sex Positive Parenting Series in Seattle

October is National Family Sex Education month, and besides this awesome contest where you can win prizes, we are also hosting events in our stores.
This weekend in Seattle we are hosting the Sex Positive Parenting Series put on by Nekole Shapiro, the founder of TantricBirth, and Allena Gabosch the director of the Center for Sex Positive Culture.  The discussion is open, so any topic regarding talking to your kids about sex or creating a sex positive environment for your kids to grow up in, is on the table. Read the full post »

Do We Need to Protect Our Kids from Seeing Vibrators at the Drugstore?

If your activist side needs a  break from the Occupy Wall Street protests, you might want to wander over to a site called One Million Moms where someone is trying to start a write-in campaign to have vibrators removed from drugstore websites because kids might stumble upon them.

I’m not encouraging you to join, I’m asking you to counter-protest this silly notion. First of all, drugstores have been selling vibrators for decades, as I know first hand because I bought one in 1978 at the age of 17 in a drugstore (it looked like this), so the idea that the mainstream stores are getting more X-rated is bunk. Secondly, what the heck are we afraid of if a kid stumbles upon a vibrator on a website? That it will lead to some expected curiosity (“mom, what’s that?”) and we might actually have to explain a little sexual anatomy to them? That sounds like a good thing to me.  I ran across a survey recently that revealed that women who masturbate have higher self-esteem than those who don’t. So the worst thing that  might happen if little Susie sees a Trojan Triphoria on Duane Reade is that she’ll a) want to learn about her body b) will want one and find a way to get one and c) will discover the joys of masturbation and ultimately end up with good self-esteem. Oprah had a respected psychologist on her show a year or so ago who courageously suggested that parents get their daughters vibrators so that they could learn about their bodies and feel more empowered to make good choices when it comes to partner sex. Read the full post »

Sex Ed As It Should Be (Or Things I Wish I’d Learned in School)

As a sex educator at one of Babeland’s NYC stores, I’ve been fortunate enough to get to learn about so many aspects of sexuality, from sexual health to pleasure and everything in between. I’ve definitely learned a lot more from my experience here than anything I was ever taught about sex in school. The topics we at Babeland share with customers on the sales floor and in our workshops, like anatomy, communication skills and personal confidence, are essential to a healthy sexual life.

Yet sex education in schools is still whack! It remains poor to nonexistent. Abstinence lessons are the equivalent of letting kids “learn it on the street”—being in denial about young peoples’ sexuality can encourage misinformation, poor choices and, well, bad sex lives as adults. I desperately want to help bring better sex ed to confused and horny teenagers. If I could teach sex ed in schools, this would be my lesson plan:

  • Your body is yours, and your body is meant to be good to you. Get to know it. (Pass around hand mirrors and speculums for at-home exploration). Read the full post »