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I’m Terrified to Raise My Son in Today’s World

Would it be cool if I just kept my 3-year-old a little boy forever? OK great, thanks.

Let me back up and make a rather embarrassing confession. One day, I innocently clicked the #lol hashtag on Instagram. (For the record, I’m relatively new to Instagram and hashtags in general, so if you’re shaking your head at me, allow me to just say, I know. )

Anyway, I was shocked when instead of innocent funny memes, tons of nude pictures popped up on my screen. I was horrified and almost dropped the phone in the toilet. (Yes, I went there, and don’t pretend you don’t do the same.) I honestly had no idea such a thing was allowed on Instagram, and my first thought was how easy it would be for my little 13-year-old cousin, who is a frequent “liker” of my pictures, to accidentally click on a hashtag and get instantly transported to a very different side of the ‘gram.

Navigating the world of raising a son with a healthy sexual attitude is one that, frankly, terrifies the heck out of me.
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And then my second thought was one that horrified me even more: OMG I have a son and by the time he is a teenager I probably won’t even know how to turn on his phone, which will probably be embedded in his brain or something, let alone navigate social media, and HOW WILL I PROTECT HIM?!?

The concept of raising a son with a healthy sexual attitude is something that, frankly, terrifies the heck out of me. On one hand, I can logically acknowledge that sexuality is a very normal, natural aspect of our lives as human beings. But on the other hand, this is my baby boy we’re talking about here.

But seriously.

Judging from the headlines, it would appear that there’s a very fine line between a male with healthy sexual behavior and a rapist (1 in 33 men, in case you were wondering), and domestic violence (occurs every 9 seconds), and pornography addicts, and let’s not even get started on Josh Duggar, or the prevailing notion that men are, in general, monsters pretending to be civilized. There are many stereotypes that exist about raising boys, including myths about their sexuality. Do I even need to mention that ridiculous Bloomingdale’s ad that actually ran just last week, people — last week, as in not 50 years ago — that encouraged men to “Spike your best friend’s eggnog when they’re not looking.”

I mean, what the heck?

And when I think about what our sons are up against, in a society where sex and sexism sells everything from burgers to beer, I wonder how on earth he is supposed to absorb any other message than female sexuality as a commodity for his viewing pleasure. Heck, even I am overwhelmed by the sheer amount of female sexuality everywhere I turn. I don’t even want to see it, and I still can’t manage to escape it. I sincerely wonder how it’s possible to:

  1. Raise a son who’s sexually healthy.
  2. Raise a son who respects women.
  3. Raise a son who doesn’t fall down a trap of addiction because there’s literally an entire world of pornography in every form imaginable accessible at his fingertips.

Basically, how do you walk the line between saying, “Here son, there are boobs everywhere, and boobs are good, but also, you don’t want to think too much about those boobs because that would be bad, and you should respect those boobs as part of the beauty of female sexuality, but you also need to understand they are more than boobs, and also too much boob is bad — for you, that is, and also sometimes women. Oh, and by the way, you can’t see women’s boobs sexually if they are feeding a baby because the Pope said so, but it’s also totally normal if you have a wife someday and you see her boobs sexually, even when she’s breastfeeding a baby.”

Got all that, son?

Good, I’m glad we had this talk.

In summary, I’ve decided that Talking To My Son About Boobs falls firmly into the category of Things My Husband Is In Charge Of, along with changing light bulbs and squishing really big, hairy spiders.

I’ve also decided that the threenager years are not so bad after all. And if you need me, I will be crying into my phone while also never clicking on a hashtag ever, ever again.

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