In this TED Talk, journalist, filmmaker and writer Sue Jaye Johnson believes it’s a parent’s job to talk to kids about sex, but beyond that, one must also focus on the importance of sense education, teaching them about intimacy.
Johnson believes in the importance of sense education, going beyond talking about sex. She says, “This awareness of sensation, it’s where we began as children.” Beyond the talk about sex, where the focus is on biology and reproduction, she believes there’s a lot we can communicate about the experiencing our bodies. Parents can teach kids to get in touch with their emotions by tuning into their sensations.
She states, “Before language, we’re all sensation. As children, that’s how we learn to differentiate ourselves in the world — through touch. Everything goes in the mouth, the hands, on the skin.” Sensation, she stresses, is the foundation of human connection.
And for children to grow up to have healthy intimate relationships, while parents must talk about sex education and safe sex, they should also be taught about desire, consent and boundaries. Teach kids about sensuality, not just sex, by engaging in the senses through touch, play and making eye contact. She says, “I find opportunities to tell them how I’m feeling, what I’m experiencing, so we have common language.”
Johnson also mentions Girls and Sex, by writer Peggy Orenstein, which says that young women tend to focus more on their partner’s pleasure and less on their own. It’s something she plans to discuss with her daughters when they’re older.