Sex With Emily - How to Raise Good Humans w/ Dr. Aliza Pressman

Episode Date: February 27, 2024

Today I teamed up with the brilliant developmental psychologist and host of the Raising Good Humans podcast, Dr. Aliza Pressman, for a rollercoaster ride through the wild world of parenting, sexuality..., and relationships. From decoding the mysteries of "the talk" with kids to unraveling the enigma of why millennials and Gen-Zers might be having sex less often, we left no stone unturned. Join us as we dive headfirst into understanding and embracing children's gender identities and sexual orientations, all while figuring on how to be the best humans we can be.  Get ready, because this episode isn't just about parenting—it's about living your best life and loving fiercely along the way! Show Notes: 5 Principles of Parenting OUT NOW! More Dr. Aliza Pressman: Website | Instagram  SHOP WITH EMILY! (free shipping on orders over $99) The only sex book you’ll ever need: Smart Sex: How to Boost Your Sex IQ and Own Your Pleasure Want more? Sex With Emily: Home Let’s get social: Instagram | X | Facebook | TikTok  Let’s text: Sign Up Here Want me to slide into your inbox? Sign Up Here for sex tips on the regular. See the full show notes at

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Starting point is 00:00:00 Sex with Emily is looking for a new senior podcast producer. We are sorry to say goodbye to Erica, but she is leaving to pursue her music career, and I know she's going to have much success. We are looking for a senior producer right now that can start and help us with content production. You have technical expertise. You know how to manage a team. You can collaborate and you have experience working in production with audio or podcasting and video.
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Starting point is 00:00:58 but that we are gonna have the boundary of not like forcing ourselves to be involved. So like everybody should have the pant Emily because you need that. You're listening to Sex with Emily. I'm Dr. Emily and I'm here to help you prioritize your pleasure and liberate the conversation around sex. Today I'm joined by developmental psychologist
Starting point is 00:01:21 and host of the Raising Good Humans podcast, Dr. Elisa Pressman. Together we answer some of your biggest questions like, How do I talk with my kids and young adults about sex? What are young people having less sex these days? Which this question comes up all the time. Why is everyone having less sex? Well, we get into that. We also talk about how you can better understand your child's gender identity and sexual orientation.
Starting point is 00:01:44 Dr. Pressman's new book, The Five Principles of Parenting, really had an impact on me. I was able to see my upbringing through a completely new lens. This episode is really about how to be a good person so we can enhance all of our relationships, whether it's with our family, friends, or lovers.
Starting point is 00:02:00 Please rate and review Sex with Emily. Wherever you listen to the show, it really helps us get the show. It really helps us get the show out to more people and it just takes you two seconds. You can do it right now. Mito articles, how to deal with a low sex drive and what you can do to boost it and what not to say to your partner when talking about sex are up on All right, everyone, enjoy this episode.
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Starting point is 00:04:11 She's on speed dial for so many of our mutual friends and for good reason. Elisa is a developmental psychologist and founder and director of clinical programming of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center. Host of the Raising Good Humans podcast, I was honored to be on that last year for my book tour. And she's been featured on CBS News and the Drew Barrymore show, To Name a Few. She's an overall trailblazer in the parenting space. And I've got to say, I'm not a parent myself,
Starting point is 00:04:35 but her new book, The Five Principles of Parenting, had me page turning in the middle of the night because it gave me all kinds of life tools. Aliza's book combines decades of scientific research and practical tips with her deep wisdom and compassion and explores letting go of being the perfect parent. I can't wait for you to hear all about not only how to talk about sex with your teenage kids,
Starting point is 00:04:57 but how to navigate some of the more hot button topics of today. And if you're like me, it will help you understand more about your upbringing and the way we relate to others. Oh my God, I loved that. Welcome to the show, Lisa. Thank you. I'm excited to be here. I'm excited too, so let's just get into it. Awesome.
Starting point is 00:05:14 Okay. Why are young people having less sex these days? They're so isolated and they're not learning relational skills as much, which is so funny, because we're so sensitive now, and we're so vocal about how important it is to be sensitive to others and to be empathetic and to think about the world. And yet teens in particular are not doing. There's less sex in good ways too.
Starting point is 00:05:40 There's less risky sex, risk taking behaviors. There's lower rates of substance use, things like that. But then there's also less actual pleasure, joy, love, connection because there's a lot more living online. You said relational. Can you say more about that? Even when you hang out with a bunch of teenagers, I have two teenagers,
Starting point is 00:06:01 when you see their friends hanging out together, they're still on their devices. It's not like, oh, now we're in person, so we're together. So if you think about if you're making deep connections, that's not coming from sitting next to each other and looking at your devices, especially if you're talking about having sexual feelings
Starting point is 00:06:21 and connecting with each other and having that electricity. And then separately, I think there's a whole other thing going on which is just this misconception about what is sexy and what is sex and what is everything because it's so fake. Because you're seeing, who knows, it could be AI, it could be porn, it could be whatever it is. It's not what is part of the real adolescent experience. I think girls and boys
Starting point is 00:06:46 are both so self-conscious and transgender and non-binary and everybody, just to cover it all. No matter what you're an adolescent, you are self-conscious and you think that you're supposed to look and feel and be a way that doesn't even exist. And I just would imagine, and this is not evidence-based, but just thinking, putting the pieces together about what's going on, it would make sense to me that a lot of teenagers are like, it's a me problem. I don't want to be uncovered. So they're feeling like sex is kind of scary because maybe they've seen porn at a really young age and they don't really understand it. And then we know porn is misleading, not real sex.
Starting point is 00:07:28 They don't have experience even just flirting. Like in our generation, we were having too much sex, right? We were pregnancy, teen pregnancy rate, drinking too much. And now it's like, I mean, all my friends stop me like, why is my kid or my teenager or my young adult not having sex, what's wrong with them? So- I know, isn't that interesting?
Starting point is 00:07:43 Like you hear parents actually saying like, I saying like, why are you not going out? And like, why is I had a number of people talking about how they're junior and senior kids still haven't kissed anybody and they're like, what is up? So it's sex. Just contact isn't happening as much because when they're together, yeah, they're on their phones, they're texting, they're Snapchatting. How do we get more connected with each other? So what do we do about that?
Starting point is 00:08:09 How do we get them more connected? Can't take away their phones. I can't tell you how many people say to me, well, it's too late. That ship sailed. Like they're on their devices all the time. What am I gonna do now? Like I can't change the rules on them.
Starting point is 00:08:22 And I beg to differ. You can change any rules you want. Just connect with your kids enough that they trust that when you do shift the rules, you've thought about it. And you're like, you know what? My job is to keep this family safe, both emotionally and physically.
Starting point is 00:08:40 And I feel like we are losing out. So I'm making it my job because that's too much to ask of you. These devices were not built to ask a young developing brain to be like, no thanks. No thanks, I'll put it away right now. I'm gonna put some more guardrails around it so that you have time to be bored,
Starting point is 00:09:02 time to have to connect, because part of connection is like the necessity that we have to feel like we're not alone. And when you have a device, you don't feel alone. You can trick yourself into thinking you're not alone, but you're totally alone. I mean, connection isn't all about being screen free, but a lot of it is. Because that was your, yeah, the first answer to why the kids are not having sex today is because of that isolation and the phone. So, but they're not, yeah, I mean, I guess,
Starting point is 00:09:33 and when they're hanging out with their friends, they're gonna use their phones. They're gonna use their phones. It's certainly not gonna be, because all the adults are like, this is ruining your sex life and your future. And there's also a whole other thing of boys who are struggling to even get sexually turned
Starting point is 00:09:47 on because they've spent so much time watching porn as their first, second, and third experiences. So then by the time they're actually having a human interaction, that partner doesn't do or live up to or can't what they thought was a turn on. It's really all kind of messy. You do talk about porn in your book and how to talk to your kids about it because what are the studies show that kids are seeing it like between 8 and 12 years old and then we got to talk about it. But I actually pulled a quote which was such an interesting, I hadn't heard this before
Starting point is 00:10:20 and I thought it was a great way, maybe you could elaborate around it because I'm really like I always say you got to explain I thought it was a great way. Maybe you could elaborate around it. Cause I'm really like, I always say you gotta explain to them that porn's not real. But you said teenagers are natural fighters for justice. So it can help to remind them that watching pornography can be a vote for racism, misogyny, and the all too common exploitation of porn performers. I was like, make it political.
Starting point is 00:10:41 Would that get them to stop watching porn? But that's your best bet. Like with everything. That's so good. Yeah, I just feel like there's nothing that speaks less to teens than saying like, this isn't good for you, but they're just gonna reject it.
Starting point is 00:10:57 But if you talk about how someone else is trying to mess with you, and those people are powerful and in control and making those decisions. Or you say, in doing that, you're supporting the sexual exploitation of someone else. That teenagers can get behind because they care more than we do.
Starting point is 00:11:16 Like that's that age where your brain is like, wait a second, I need to make the world a better place. This is ridiculous. Like they actually care about social justice in a very different way than we do. And in fact, sometimes when we shove social justice down their throats, they're like, no, that's for us to do. We're supposed to be teaching you adults.
Starting point is 00:11:36 So I think that's my way in with porn. I mean, I think it's a good way to go because there's some people teaching in schools, but it's just not that accurate. A lot of the information is very basic. It's a good way to go because there's some people teaching in schools, but it's just not that accurate. A lot of the information is very basic. How do you suggest though, parents start talking to their kids about sex
Starting point is 00:11:53 and how do they get past that cringe factor? Like, oh mom, I don't want to hear you talk about sex. Where do we start? Like, what do you do? It's just funny because I just, my kids just had that reaction to me recently about something that I was talking about, one of their friends.
Starting point is 00:12:07 I overheard them talking and all I did was repeat the exact language they used and said, oh, so so and so did whatever. And they were like, oh, you're so gross. And I said, why am I gross? I literally just quoted you. And they said, because when you say it, it's cringy. So I think we have to just know that. And still, it doesn't mean that we can't still say things, because I think they hear us anyway.
Starting point is 00:12:34 And we don't need to be afraid of them. It's OK for them to be like, you're gross, but we hear you. Right. They remember, we're here, we care, and we can say it and be cringy, but it's important to talk about. I also think we tend to put like sex and porn and STIs and STDs in the same conversation. So of course they're afraid of sex,
Starting point is 00:12:57 and of course they're not thinking of pleasure, because they're thinking about dying or getting diseases or exploiting women or getting into trouble, or the conversation just gets lumped into one. So one of the things is they should just not even be near each other, those conversations. What questions do you get asked more? You see your kid watching porn or walking in a masturbating, like, well, it would be
Starting point is 00:13:17 a fun one for us to work through here so we can see how it goes using your methods. I think the great thing is any of them. And that's why I wanted to have those five core principles was we don't need the answers. We need to have a relationship, we need to have reflection, we need to regulate ourselves, we need to have our rules, and we need to repair when it goes wrong. The end, like every single time,
Starting point is 00:13:36 and if we don't have an answer, then we say, it's a really good question. I don't know, but I'm here. You could really run any concern through the five principles. So let's say you see that on your child's device in their history that they've been looking at porn. Okay. Or they come to you.
Starting point is 00:13:55 I mean, I can give you an example where one of my clients told me, this was years ago, she said that she saw on the iPad history that there had been some porn viewing, because she didn't have any controls on it and just didn't think her child was old enough to even be looking at anything like that. He was nine. So she asked him and he burst into tears and he said, I've been wanting to tell you, I've been so scared that I've done something terrible. And the reason why he was scared
Starting point is 00:14:25 was because he was aroused. It's just a physiological reaction. And so he was so ashamed and scared. So he didn't want to say anything. And then he thought he was like a sicko. So I think just thinking about the five Rs and why I wanted to make sure that I weaved all of it into every interaction in the book
Starting point is 00:14:43 is because you can kind of go to them to respond, so even using that example. So first is relationship, which is just reminding yourself that the first thing you wanna do when you're thinking about how to respond is lean into your relationship because especially with something
Starting point is 00:15:01 that can lean in that direction of shame and guilt and all, which are two different things but lots of those feelings that happen. And then reflection, so this is like before you'd even say anything. Reflection is just like, how do I feel about what just happened? What's happening for me?
Starting point is 00:15:19 Am I remembering what happened when I was embarrassed as a kid? Do I have all sorts of things in my head about what is irresponsible on my part because I allowed this to happen? Like all the different things, just get it out there so that you can come into the conversation regulated. Like take a breath, have the pause
Starting point is 00:15:39 before you just jump in with, I have to fix this or I have to deal with this because there is no emergency. And of course you don't need to act as if there's a saber tooth tiger coming at you. You can take a breath, shut down the alarm system and say, this is manageable. It's not life or death. I've got this. Put that baggage to the side and then you can be there with your child
Starting point is 00:16:06 and you could say, this mom could say to her son, you know, I saw that you've been looking up porn and I wanted to just check in with you because that probably is really scary. And just like be there for them. Tell me what's going on. In this case, this child just started weeping, but because she didn't come in with screaming
Starting point is 00:16:31 or freaking out or crying herself or just like, I'm never letting you use the iPad again or whatever it was, she really came in with curiosity in relationship, he was able to sort of release and she could hug him and be there. And then they got to the boundaries and the rules, which is the other one of the Rs, of this is not something that's good for you.
Starting point is 00:16:57 And it's my job to set that limit so that it's not something you have to do on your own. I can help you. Then you make repairs. And so they reconnected and she helped him understand that that was a natural physiological reaction which has nothing to do with what kind of person he is or what kind of future sex life he has.
Starting point is 00:17:16 And she was there to answer his questions and it was okay. But there's like, that's it. That's how you deal with these things. And so whenever any challenge comes your way, it's the same if you're talking with anybody. We all need boundaries. We all need to be in relationship. We all need all of this.
Starting point is 00:17:32 What I love is it's so much of the book is about calming ourselves first. How do you do that? But then to think, okay, it's like the power of the pause taking a deep breath. Because I would imagine a lot of the regrets from parents We're like I flew off the handle. I just didn't breathe way because a lot of we talk is the reactive parenting like we react We have regrets and then we don't do our work because a lot of a we're in the relationship with our kids too, right?
Starting point is 00:17:55 So we have to like look at ourselves, right? Yeah, and that's hard like it's It's not so easy that I'm just like just take a, because I've been there and will be there again later today, I'm sure, where you don't want to take a breath because you're like, in this case, it's an emergency. It feels like it is, it always feels like, even stuff happened to me like yesterday, I'm like, that was an emergency, I overreacted, you know, it's just all the time we do this.
Starting point is 00:18:18 So it's what we do. Yeah, it's like being a good human, just in general. Like how do we do that? And we get chances over and over again. And so we get to practice and we get to notice like the things that set us off more than other things. That's what reflection is. And the more you do it, the easier it is to take that pause.
Starting point is 00:18:38 I have a question. So we're talking about how hard it is to look at ourselves. I'm always telling people like, we all need therapy. We've all had issues. Even if you know, my childhood, yes,ful, but like parents are the best they can. I'm not trashing my mom. I love my family. It's amazing. I had to go through so much work though, figuring that out. And so what do you say to people who are so resistant of looking at themselves? Because I'm also assuming with couples, what I find with couples is there's one who's like, let's go to
Starting point is 00:19:04 therapy. Let's talk about, and there's one who's like, I'm not going there and touching it. So what do you do about that? I mean, I think we can only control ourselves. And so I sort of am like, you get to do what works for you. And if it's been working for you, I mean, I tend to say this when I have two people talking to me, I tend to say, is that working for you? And if it is, which is not, or they wouldn't be there. Right, how's that going for you, right? Yeah, then that usually opens them up to, okay. And sometimes I just say, can we give this a couple of weeks, just a couple of weeks to think about this?
Starting point is 00:19:37 And then if it doesn't feel like interesting at a minimum, you don't need to do it. And I'm careful because I'm really talking as a parent educator, not as a therapist, in the sense that I'm not there to heal the wounds. I'm there to help everybody kind of see more clearly, to be able to take care of their kids in the best way they
Starting point is 00:20:05 can. But of course, I'm talking about our adult selves. It's so wild to see that the reflection part is so challenging for people when I'm like, we could start with just taking a breath because at least when you're breathing, you're allowing space for reflection and see what happens. But you know so many people that get, I'm sure it happens when people cry after sex. It's like it's a release. Reflection is a release.
Starting point is 00:20:36 I think that particular one is like the unsung hero in the book of like- Reflection. Yeah, like people wanna skip it. Like, no, I have business to take care of, you know? But I always try to convince people, try it because it's shockingly powerful. It really is.
Starting point is 00:20:54 Cause I think about like re-parenting all the boys out. We got to re-parent ourselves. It truly is generational. Like even with my partner, I was reading this and I thought it was so funny because we were on this, we've been together a little while and we would talk about his, I was reading this and I thought it was so funny because we were on this, um, we've been, you know, together a little while and we would talk about his, I was like, so tell me your childhood and he never has stories. So it was like, yeah, it was great.
Starting point is 00:21:11 My dad was great. My mom was great. And they, they, the end, but then I met him over the holidays and like, you know, talked to his mom for a while. I was like, Oh, like just some information. Yeah. Not good or bad, but just some more details that some of it just sort of we block out. We don't want to like share it for many.
Starting point is 00:21:27 It's a protective mechanism. Absolutely. Yeah. And sometimes that's scary. So I think that's the one that people skip more. Whereas like relationship makes sense. Like of course you need to be attuned and connected. And I think self regulation, regulation makes sense, self and co-regulation, because of course you can't fly
Starting point is 00:21:46 off the handle all the time, nobody feels good like that. And rules maybe are hard for some people to set boundaries and to have limits. That's another challenging one. But it still makes sense. And then repair makes sense. Because we gotta reconnect when things go awry. But I think reflection is one where it feels like,
Starting point is 00:22:07 do I really have to do this one? Like the others seem pretty obvious. And yes, I think they all work together. And I think this is why people don't reflect. Not only was it not modeled to them in older generations, but if we reflect that we like, then that's when maybe the shame comes in, or I'm just a bad parent,
Starting point is 00:22:23 or I'm doing the wrong thing. Like all this guilt stuff that we've just kept away our entire lives, we don't wanna go there. But I love the concept of repair too. I just think for all relationships, just we also get stronger after repair. We're so afraid of it. Totally, you can only buy it if you've experienced it,
Starting point is 00:22:42 but it's truly like little muscle tears so that you can grow your muscles. You have to have these little ruptures in relationships to get stronger relationships. If you come back to reconnection, if somebody isn't capable of repair because it wasn't modeled for them and they didn't do the work,
Starting point is 00:22:59 then you can't come back stronger. And you get people who are like, you see it all the time. If there's a rupture and you're just like, I'm out where I guess this is over. It's because of our early experiences. Everything's, what is it from our early, it's all from our early experiences, right? Like how else could we also be get these ideas
Starting point is 00:23:17 and these experiences if it wasn't from that? Something I wanna jump to here though is we all know that pronouns gender sexuality It is such a hot button topic right now parents are pulling me aside friends who have kids are like What are they them? How does my kid know they're eight years old and they're bisexual? They've never had sex or there are they what are they gonna be next year? What do we do about this? How do you talk to parents about it? Like, what does it all mean?
Starting point is 00:23:46 Like, let's break that down for everyone, please. I think two things. One, you can go back to the five hours of like, what's important, the relationship's important. Reflect on like, why do you care so much about what language everybody's using? It may be because you're feeling like this is off the rails and that's okay, just think about it.
Starting point is 00:24:07 So that you can come into a conversation with your young person and be able to be curious instead of like, this is ridiculous. So is that what, yeah, because that's what's happening a lot to you. Just to connect, because I get it. I mean, I've done it too. There are moments with my kids and their friends
Starting point is 00:24:22 where I'm like, oh my Lord, like I cannot be beholden to learning all these things. Can you just give me a little grace and just let it go? But I also think we can when we're in the mood and we have capacity, be curious and let them teach us. And the truth is, we don't know. They don't know either, but they're definitely not as confused as we are.
Starting point is 00:24:46 I do think it is the pendulum always kind of gets extreme and then it'll find its way. I think right now we're in a spot, but I'm not worried about it. Because I think that's what has to happen in order for us to get back to, okay, so what makes sense? I have said to my kids, I think their particular age group is an experiment.
Starting point is 00:25:08 13s, yeah. Yeah, it's interesting to see, but what I find interesting is for them, they're like looking at how crazy it makes the adults in their lives and they're just like... They just do it, yeah. How do we know? Parents are like, oh, it's a phase.
Starting point is 00:25:22 Like, do we know that there's not enough data yet? We just don't know. The problem is we don't know enough. And I actually don't think we're very good at when it comes to sex ed. I think this happens in lots of different programming that's happening in schools where the adults are trying to do right. And so they're like, we should do this.
Starting point is 00:25:42 Oh no, we should do this. So we should do this. And it's terrifying parents. Kids are like, we should do this. Oh, no, we should do this. So we should do this. And it's terrifying. Parents, kids are like, what is going on here? Every year we learn a new thing is really important. It gets confusing. That's what it all comes back to. It's like, it really does.
Starting point is 00:25:55 It's like, if we're confused, we take a breath and we ask them more questions. Yeah. Tell me more about that. Learn what they know. I guess my concern about it is I always help. I think, well, it's better for them just to assume that if they're a boy that they should be
Starting point is 00:26:06 have a crush on the girl, let them be open to maybe I'll have a crush on a boy, like I'll like boys or girls. I like being less restrictive. Yes, the option. And you have your opportunity. Option to decide for yourself who you're into without judgment. Totally, and I think that that is more,
Starting point is 00:26:22 like that to me is about relationship. Like let your child just let them unfold. And without feeling that, is something wrong with me because I'm feeling this way? Like let them unfold. For the majority of kids, they're just going to unfold as they were meant to unfold. Here and there, you're going to get a kid who's like, huh, I'm confused. But I feel like it's not for the the most part, what's happening or what we're seeing.
Starting point is 00:26:46 We don't have any data on this. It's still so new, but we're just trying to adapt to it because I was thinking like even like talking to your kids or teenagers. Some mom pulled me aside recently, a friend of that she has teenagers and she said, have they just doing it like all the girls in my daughter's high school class are now saying that they're lesbians or they're gay. Are they just doing it, turn the boys on?
Starting point is 00:27:06 And I was like, maybe, I think that's what, maybe in our years, we're like, I'm gonna go kiss a girl. Right, that's what we're, that's our reflection. So that's the reflection is separating our history with their history. You actually made me want to have a kid that I wouldn't mess them up for the first time.
Starting point is 00:27:19 And that's never been my consideration. And it's like, having a kid, I was like, oh, I think I'd be good at it. You could do this. You could just after reading this. Because if you do learn to take that breath, whether it's if we a kid, I was like, oh, I think I'd be good. You could do this. You could do this. Because if you do learn to take that breath, whether it's if we're talking to your kid or in life, like you really can reset and come back to something
Starting point is 00:27:31 from curiosity, which is always the way to be, it's just a compassionate human. Totally, and then you forgive yourself. And that I wouldn't mind for all of our kids to be nicer in their own heads to themselves than we are to ourselves. Because I think we're very hard on ourselves when we say the wrong thing, we do the wrong thing.
Starting point is 00:27:49 And now everybody's still panicked about doing the wrong thing that they're like maybe doing the wrong thing. Do you see a difference though? Do they have that negativity that I think negativity bias is sort of a genetic right or passed on. It's a, yeah, I wish we didn't have this way of being, I think we do. And I think also culturally, repair is not an option. I don't know why, but there does seem to be this thing of like, you screwed up.
Starting point is 00:28:19 So you're out with ourselves, with ourselves and with others. Because I do believe that repair of these five principles, that's the other thing is like, it's not just repairing with the other person, it's forgiving ourselves and reconnecting with ourselves so that we can again be available to other people. And I just feel like I see so much where I do it too, but we just are like, oh, I screwed up.
Starting point is 00:28:42 I'm such a fill in the blank. And I don't like that language. Me neither. Stay right where you are. Dr. Aliza Pressman and I will be right back after a quick break for our sponsors. Are you tired of finding more gray hairs and fine lines every time you look in the mirror? Aging can be brutal. But fear not, here's a little life hack to put aging on hold, preserving your stem cells with acorn cell banking.
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Starting point is 00:30:23 when it comes to gender differences? And what I love that you said, and it was like, that's it. You said, there's slight innate differences between the sexes studies show that boys tend to be fuzzier than girls as infants. Girls tend to develop their fine motor skills, but then you're like, but the rest of it is pretty much we're socialized into, we encourage our girls to be more empathic, we encourage boys to be tougher. What is that, is apparent, like people have to learn like that's sort of, you have to be mindful around that too, right? That we're just not instilling this cultural expectation.
Starting point is 00:30:55 It's like, yes, there are some differences. Yes, there are things that we can do if we want to. I mean, that's reflection too. Like you might have a daughter and say, you know, I want her to be more empathetic. And I like this. And her estrogen is on her side for that. And I'm going to cultivate that. Or you might say, you know what, she's got that.
Starting point is 00:31:16 That comes more easily to her. It's more expected in society. I'm going to focus a little bit more on how assertive she is. I'll say in preschool, if you just walk into any preschool, you see that there's a lot I'm gonna focus a little bit more on how assertive she is. I'll say in preschool, if you just walk into any preschool, you see that like so often the girls are sitting so nicely and the teachers are saying, look how nicely so-and-so is sitting.
Starting point is 00:31:38 And the boys are like being a little bit more, you know, all over the place. And they don't get yelled at, they're just sort of like moving along and in- Cause they're boys. Cause they're boys and they're allowed to and they're expected to. And I think what happens is then,
Starting point is 00:31:53 of course girls are perfectionistic because ultimately from a very young age we're getting praised for being well behaved. And I see boys and I see they kind of fall on their face all the time, and then they pop back up and everybody's like, whatever. And so of course, they have a little bit more of a like, I don't have to be perfect all the time. Because from an early age, so I do think there's a lot of cultural stuff that feeds off of our maybe biological tendencies. And so as parents, we can reflect on what matters to us
Starting point is 00:32:27 that we wanna bolster in our kids. And for some people, they might be happy with it. That makes sense. So in looking at your kids or anyone's kids, you're just like, it's more like not about their gender, but case by case, but this one, he could use more apathy. Like he's not that empathic or maybe she's not.
Starting point is 00:32:39 How do I teach these skills? If we can do that. I mean, it's hard. It's hard. Because we have a lot of our own stuff about all of that. What I really feel like about gender and certainly about pronouns is, we don't know.
Starting point is 00:32:53 It's gonna change. We should probably stop trying to figure it out and just be curious again and let young people decide how they wanna be, because this is throughout history, what happens with young people and older people. Yeah. It's like you were saying like gender nonconformist when a man like a few decades ago would take his daughter, what was it, or would he would take his daughter's soccer practice? You'd be like,
Starting point is 00:33:15 oh that's so not normal. Right. He must be a widow. Right. Like why would he... Girls were playing soccer, they were tomboy. Yeah. This is how much it's changing. So to put in that perspective, I think is really helpful. This doesn't mean this is the way it's always gonna be, but it's just giving us some more information. Exactly. And that's so much to me more relaxing than having to cling to like,
Starting point is 00:33:34 okay, well, what does this exactly mean and what's the exact way we should say it? And should we commit to this and sign and seal and then stay like that forever? Yeah. No, we can't, yeah. Right, we're just listening. Ever been compassionate and we're taking that forever. Yeah, no, we can't, yeah, right? We're just listening, ever being compassionate and we're taking deep breaths.
Starting point is 00:33:48 I love that. Does that seem too simple? No, I mean, the thing is a lot of it really is simple. I mean, the truth is, if we all paused a little bit more, took a few more deep breaths. I mean, honestly, that's it. We did before we react. It would absolutely inform and change
Starting point is 00:34:07 so many areas of our lives, things that we regret, mistakes we make, impulsive behavior, addictions, everything, it's simple, but it's fundamental. It's almost like, yes, it's science, and it's simple science, and it's believing that it's powerful enough because sometimes when things are too simple, we're like, we could skip that.
Starting point is 00:34:29 We can't. This is science. I mean, the regulation, co-regulate, that is science and that I love the science of it too. It's like, oh, as soon as you gotta show people, you gotta get them that way. Like maybe 20 years ago, I was just reading something that now Americans like more than ever
Starting point is 00:34:43 are doing yoga and breathing and it's not alternative anymore. It's like, thank God. Yes, that's a great example. Yeah. So I used to say to people all the time, like, okay, I know you're going to like, you know, we can tell you to breathe. But now it's like, yeah, we've got the science, we've got the research that backs it up and
Starting point is 00:34:56 giving people permission that you don't have to sit for hours on end. You could literally take a pause when you're feeling it in your body. Well, I remember 25 years ago, I went to therapists and I left the room, I was like, you know, in my 20s and she was like, tell me where you're feeling that in your body. And I was like, I have no idea what she's talking about. I was like, I don't feel, I'm not my anxiety.
Starting point is 00:35:16 We feel fix my anxiety. Right, I really remember leaving going that stuff. Our friend had recommended who was in therapy school and I was not at the time, I was working in politics. I was not on, I was starting on my path early twenties. But yeah, I was like, what do you mean? But now it's like standard. Like if we understand our bodies,
Starting point is 00:35:32 we'll understand so much more. But a lot of us are shut down. It's so true. And actually I really think that's important with kids is asking them, yeah, where do you feel is in your body? And if they don't respond to that or they get annoyed, it's okay, then change the question. But I know for me, I'm still, even though I do this,
Starting point is 00:35:50 and I think about this, my go-to, my default setting is neck up. Like I do not feel anything in my body, and it's right up here. So it's hard for me and annoying, frankly. Like when, even though I have it in my book, and I think we all learn to ask that question, I'm still like, I'd probably be annoyed
Starting point is 00:36:08 if somebody asked me where do you feel that in your body? But, because I'd be like, yeah, what are you talking about? But I know all of these things that we used to think we're so off the, you know, like woo woo, our hardcore science now. And it's just like it's come together in a way that sort of the brain-body connection is a real thing. So we just have an easier time
Starting point is 00:36:32 if we are wiring our kids that way instead of rewiring adults. Yeah, and are you seeing that in kids now that they are getting these tools in a younger age? And I mean, I just wish I had it, you're right. Cause for me, I am neck up. That's why I talk about all the time. I'm like, breathe, I have a breath app that goes off. I try to do it like twice a day. I mean, just cause wish I had it. You're right, because for me, I am neck up. That's why I talk about all the time. I'm like, breathe, I have a breath app that goes off.
Starting point is 00:36:45 I try to do it like twice a day. I mean, just because that's the default. So giving people permission that even asked to talk about it. Exactly. It's still challenging. Me search, me search, we teach what we need to learn. All the things, right? So yeah, I've had to like to learn about sex, right?
Starting point is 00:36:57 Wasn't having great sex now, it's, you know, but it's still a process. It's so interesting, but it's hard because it's like you never get to just relax and go into autopilot and think that it's just. You're never there. You're never there, but it's, I like to think of it as it's more exciting because we're still unfolding.
Starting point is 00:37:18 Part of me thinks that the solution to it, part of it is also sex education that does focus more on pleasure. Absolutely. Because then it's more aspirational at least. They're like, right now I'm gonna get someone pregnant. I'm gonna get in trouble. It's gonna be a sex tape.
Starting point is 00:37:34 Somebody's gonna send a picture. Like it doesn't even feel very appealing. And we've turned it into something that's just not about pleasure and connection. By the way, we don't even hug that much anymore. Hugging really connects people. Just like human contact really connects people. Listening really connects people.
Starting point is 00:37:56 All of which you can't really do unless you're present. So I think practicing just a little bit each day. I'm here, I'm not thinking about later, I'm not thinking about before, just here. And I've put every distraction away. Now we can't be like that most of the time because life happens. But if you can carve out a few minutes
Starting point is 00:38:18 or I mean ideally more than a few minutes, but even just a few minutes a day where you're doing that, you're modeling something that builds on relationships. And so then our kids have opportunities to aspirationally feel like they can have deep connections with people. I also think we can have fun and have relationships
Starting point is 00:38:39 and have friendships in front of our kids. And that's inspiring and that those friendships would be based on shared experiences and affection and humor and all the things that can just be between two people. So how do we raise good humans sexually? What would be your like, I know, how do we? First, we have to decide what that means for each of us because we all have a different hope and dream for what our kids are gonna experience and how they're gonna experience it
Starting point is 00:39:11 So like what would it mean for me? It might be different than what it would mean for you. We have to decide like with an intention What is a healthy sex life? What is Something we want to model for them. What is the kind of conversation? What is something we wanna model for them? What is the kind of conversation we wanna have around it? I wanna be askable, but I don't wanna be like the person they're thinking about when they're having experiences, right?
Starting point is 00:39:37 That's the problem though, you're like, it's okay to talk to me, I could talk to you, but then we still, in our culture, and we still have that connection that if my mom talked to my dad talks about it, then that's sex. So we're still a long way to go. I think it's a fine line between, we don't talk about things because it's something
Starting point is 00:39:54 we should be so private about and ashamed of that it's problematic. And here, I got you 10 vibrators, pick which one you want. Yeah, right, maybe just one. I don't know. We're like, yeah, and I think that's where aunts and older sisters and- That's what I, I'm the aunts everybody.
Starting point is 00:40:10 The trusted friends. All my friends' kids come over. Exactly, like that's where I want my teenagers to come over. Yeah. Because you want them to have the information, but you may not be, and this is something we just have to face, we may not be the person they wanna get the information from.
Starting point is 00:40:25 Our job is to make sure they know that they have access to information and that we are so on board, but that we are gonna have the boundary of not like forcing ourselves to be involved. So like everybody should have the anti-MLA because you need that. And a lot of this is still really new
Starting point is 00:40:44 or figuring it out with poor, I mean, there's always new questions with every. And we don't have all the answers. No, we don't. I mean, I think my mom always says like, when I, you know, cause the therapy and I brought up with her, she's like, we didn't have Oprah growing up. Like you did, like we had like one book, like Dr. Spock.
Starting point is 00:40:58 Dr. Spock. That was it. I don't know what that book was about, but that was the one. It was babies more like- Yeah, so then what? We were all like, you know, it was the wild west. So at least now like in the work that you're doing,
Starting point is 00:41:07 like at ground, you know, it's a good place for parents to go. I think that's what I wanna make sure people know. It's like exactly what to say and the scripts and the exactly what to do isn't gonna move the needle on the raising of good humans. It's just sometimes feels like control for us or we're getting it more right, but I just always want people to know you have the answer.
Starting point is 00:41:29 It's just going back to this relationship and not forcing yourself to know exactly what to do at all times. Yeah, you give parents permission that they don't have to be the perfect parent. It's okay and reflection, curiosity, I love it. Speaking of vibrators, I do have a question for you that came in. We always share lists of questions. So this is Sarah. She's 40 in Illinois. Hey, Dr. Emily, I'm the mother of teenage daughters, and I
Starting point is 00:41:56 would like to think I've allowed them to grow in sex positive household. But my oldest daughter has forever been against relationships, intimacy, and definitely sex. I've watched different sex positive documentaries with my children present and attempt to allow them to understand that is a normal part of the feminine experience. Today, I came home and found my oldest daughter on my bed, still dressed but watching something on her phone, and next to her was my magic wand, which is a vibrator.
Starting point is 00:42:22 When I asked her why she was in my room, she apologized, and that's when I took in the scene. Upon recognition of what was going on, I asked her if she wanted a high five. Not my finest moment. After this encounter, she got in her car and left, proceeded to text me that it was gross and she was just curious because she was looking for my nail clippers and found my wand. She said she doesn't want to talk about it, but I feel like I should do something and don't want to overstep my boundaries. Can says she doesn't want to talk about it, but I feel like I should do something and don't want to overstep my boundaries. Can you help? So it sounds like the daughter was either using it
Starting point is 00:42:51 or just found it, but it's confusing. And yeah, what do we do there? I think taking the cue from her daughter's boundaries, which were, I don't want to talk about this, just saying, I love you. I know that was uncomfortable. It makes sense that you were curious. I'm here with any questions. The end. But be like, acknowledge that that must have been really, you know, and like not in the heat of the moment. So there's been time and just she could even text her back because again, that is probably the easier language for teenagers of just, you know what, I'm sure that felt
Starting point is 00:43:31 so uncomfortable. This is something that I use for myself, but it's not something that I can share with you. Wow, you make it so simple. But it's so fraught. It feels so fraught. I was like, okay, that's it, right? But it's so it feels so I was like okay that's it right like sometimes but you're it makes so much sense we don't want to like attack them there's so many ways to go wrong but what what a loving thing to do and it
Starting point is 00:43:52 seems like that's a lot of it is just like letting them have their experience acknowledging yeah yeah see now I'm gonna shut up kids okay five quicky questions we ask all of our guests okay Okay. Just first thing that comes to your mind, can be anything, biggest turn on. Well, now of course, brains. Yeah. Biggest turn off.
Starting point is 00:44:15 Vanity. What makes good sex? Mystery. Something you tell your younger self about sex and relationships. That love is not anxiety. I love it. What's the number one thing you wish everyone knew about sex?
Starting point is 00:44:30 That it's evolving. I love it. You don't have to know how everything works right away. But like, and also that we're evolving. So things that were, things change drastically. They do. That's another show. Thank you so much, Lisa, for being here.
Starting point is 00:44:46 This has been wonderful. Thank you for having me. Thank you for doing this. It's such a cool conversation that I certainly did, I definitely did not grow up with any of it either. So tell me where everyone can find you. I have a podcast, Raising Good Humans, and I have an Instagram, Raising Good Humans podcast and the book, The Five Principles of Parenting.
Starting point is 00:45:06 Great, and we'll link all that in the show notes. Thank you. Thank you for what you're doing. That's it for today's episode. See you on Friday. Thanks for listening to Sex With Emily. Be sure to like, subscribe, and give us a review wherever you listen to the podcast and share
Starting point is 00:45:26 this with a friend or partner. You can find me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at Sex with Emily. Oh, I've been told I give really good email. So sign up at and while you're there, check out my free guides and articles for more ways to prioritize your pleasure. If you'd like to ask me about your sex life, dating, or relationships, call my hotline, 559-TALK-SEX. That's 559-825-5739.
Starting point is 00:45:54 Or go to slash ask Emily. Was it good for you? Email me, feedback at

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