134: Beyond Sex Education with Dr. Nadine Thornhill

“Do you know what happens to your body when you get older?”

“Um…you get hairy in some places?”

“Yeah…other things happen too.  We’ll get you some books.”


That was what I learned about sex education when I was seven – I was always grateful that I learned it from my parents (who were pretty terrified to talk about it,  I think) rather than from the other kids at school.  But then the topic wasn’t mentioned again until I was about 18, with a vague reference to “being careful” with my first boyfriend, whom I wasn’t even sleeping with yet.


Friends: we have to do more than this if we want our children to be able to show up in relationships as fulfilled human beings who understand what pleasure is, how to ask for it, and how to give it.


We need our children to know that sex does not have to equal intercourse, and that there are a whole host of ways to enjoy our (and each other’s) bodies without doing this if we don’t want to do it (when they’re ready for it!).


And we need to help our children understand boundaries so they can protect themselves when they need to – without getting so caught up in the shame that pervades our thinking about sex.  (Since the sex = shame narrative is deeply pervasive in our culture I don’t think we can overcome it completely, but we can make a start…).


In this episode we build on our conversation with Charlotte Rose about sex for us parents to go (far) Beyond Sex Ed with sex educator Dr. Nadine Thornhill, whose direct, fun, engaging style will help you to see that you, too, can have conversations about sex and pleasure with your own children.  You can find more information on Dr. Thornhill’s work on her YouTube channel where she addresses topics from what happens if the kid walk in on parents having sex to whether first time sex always hurts, as well as on Instagram.


And don’t forget that the FREE Setting Loving (& Effective!) Limits workshop starts Monday April 26!  Five days > WAY fewer limits than you ever thought possible (without being a dreaded Permissive Parent!) > amazing shift in the level of collaboration and cooperation in your home.  Sign up now!



Jump to highlights:
  • (00:01) Setting Loving and Effective Limits Workshop
  • (02:18) Where we’re at with our mini-series on issues related to sex
  • (03:34) Introducing our guest, Dr. Nadine Thornhill
  • (04:54) The importance of continuing the conversation about sex beyond the basic topics
  • (09:17) Figuring out what kinds of things I need to teach my children and how
  • (12:22) The value of showing our vulnerability to our children
  • (14:45) Talking about the traditional ways we talk about sex and how can we change that narrative
  • (19:03) Having conversations around pleasure of the non-sexual kind
  • (23:27) Modelling intimacy to our children without overdoing it
  • (25:41) Helping our children set boundaries even when we’re having trouble setting boundaries ourselves
  • (31:53) Dr. Thornhill’s son’s case of the “hangry” and how he came to develop recognizing physical signs before he gets hangry
  • (33:41) Talking about shame associated with the white, Christian view of sex
  • (40:34) Talking about bodies and nudity that doesn’t rely on shame
  • (43:07) Going a little deeper into consent and the Authentic Consent Framework
  • (50:48) The House and the Superintendent Metaphor
  • (53:23) How parents can leave more space and be supportive of the potential suite of options about a child’s sexuality
  • (57:46) Should we wait to teach our children about aspects of sex and sexuality until they ask?
  • (01:02:11) Wrapping up


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About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

Her Finding Your Parenting Mojo membership group supports parents in putting the research into action in their real lives, with their real families. Find more info at www.YourParentingMojo.com/Membership

She also launched the most comprehensive course available to help parents decide whether homeschooling could be right for their family. Find out more about it – and take a free seven-question quiz to get a personalized assessment of your own homeschooling readiness at www.YourHomeschoolingMojo.com

And for parents who are committed to public school but recognize the limitations in that system, she has a course to help support children's learning in school at https://jenlumanlan.teachable.com/p/school

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