Missing from the discourse is an exploration of the human dimensions of sexual connection and its potential to create meaning, joy, mutual pleasure and unparalleled levels of physical and emotional intimacy. We tell young people what we want them to say no to, but not all the things we want them, eventually, to say yes to. What heartens me is that deep down girls and boys know that they are receiving a partial message at best.
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Gender marketing and its legacy
Maybe you remember the day your own arrived. Our boys have a lot to say, and they need as much help as possible in finding alternatives to Dick School. Salon spoke recently to Orenstein via phone about her new book, and the secrets boys told her that "pierced my heart. I'm so glad that you decided to do this pivot to talking about boys, because they're integral to the conversation and they really are so not a part of it.
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Author Peggy Orenstein knows that talking to your son about sex isn't easy: "I know for a lot of parents, you would rather poke yourself in the eye with a fork than speak directly to your son about sex — and probably he would rather poke himself in the eye with a fork as well," she says. But we don't have "the luxury" to continue avoiding this conversation, she says. Orenstein spent 25 years chronicling the lives of adolescent and teen girls and never really expected to focus on boys. Orenstein notes that society doesn't often give boys "permission or space" to discuss their interior lives. Maybe that's why the young men she spoke to were so eager to open up: "When they had the chance [to talk], when somebody really gave it to them and wasn't going to be judgmental about what they had to say, they went for it. Orenstein says the boys she spoke with felt constrained by traditional notions of masculinity.