My wife and I are feuding. I overheard her talking about sex with my sixteen-year-old niece. She’s my conservative brother's only child. If he finds out he’ll blow a gasket. We were raised in a family that doesn’t discuss intimate matters, especially around or with kids.
I love my wife’s free spirit, kindness, honesty, generous open heart and I know she’ll make a wonderful mother someday, but… I was shocked to hear her tell my niece that she should enjoy her body! Enjoy her body!? To me that’s like telling her that sex is fun; go out there willy nilly and have sex. My wife said my niece is; sixteen, sexless and curious and she will be making her sexual choices with or without her input. She accused me of overreacting. I think my wife should mind her own business. Am I right?
Dear Uncle Right,
What I got is this; first, you’re concerned your brother will “blow a gasket” over the fact your wife and niece were talking about sex. Second, you find it shocking that your wife would tell your niece to “Enjoy her body.' Third, you think your wife should mind her own business. Wow! Uncle Right, let me be one of the first to welcome you to 2017.
Sadly, even in this enlightened, social media connected millennial age, there remains embarrassment and shame surrounding sexuality. Studies show that over 50% of teens don’t talk to their parents about sex because they don’t want to disappoint them; or believe that they’ll “freak out” (a Millennium's term for blowing a gasket), that they wouldn’t understand, or think they raised a freak. It’s not my intent to trivialize you and your brother's values. But it can’t be news that at sixteen years old, a teen has been exposed to sexual content. There’s multi-media, social media, school, friends, magazines, it’s everywhere. Get over it!
Your wife, who you have characterized as being kind and having a generous heart, was engaged in a private conversation with her niece. Your niece trusted your wife enough to participate in a shared truthful conversation about sexuality. This is an important first step to helping teenagers sift through the ever-changing choices decisions they will be making.
Your wife offers a gift of wisdom that encourages enjoyment, self-love and empowerment rather than shame. Your niece is fortunate to have her.
Asking your free-spirited wife to mind her own business equates to silencing her on the matter and implying she should participate in antiquated perception of a woman’s role in a sexual relationship. Your niece should be able to enjoy her body?
All that to say, no I don’t think you’re right.
Last thoughts. You were not made part of their conversation. When they want your opinion, they’ll ask.
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