New York Times bestselling author and mom Peggy Orenstein has devoted her career to talking to real kids about tough subjects. We chatted with Orenstein on the L.A Parent podcast, “Real Parents, Real Conversations,” about her latest book “Boys & Sex: Young Men on Hookups, Love, Porn, Consent, and Navigating the New Masculinity” and what her interviews with more than 100 young men ages 16-22 revealed.
Here are a few highlights. For the full two-part interview, see part 1 and part 2.
Orenstein, who also authored “Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape,” says her latest book is about “the systematic disconnection of boys from their hearts and the ways young men learn to shut down emotionally and put themselves behind a wall…a lot of boys would use that metaphor.”
“They say, ‘I learned to put a wall up between the world and my true feelings,’” she says. “They believe it started in middle school, but there’s actually compelling research that shows it happens in kindergarten.”
Orenstein says we’re still talking about sex like we’re in a silo, “like it’s its own little weird thing, separate from every other aspect of your humanity.”
The fact that talking about sex with our kids is awkward is no excuse not to parent, she argues. “Talk to them early and often about sex, pleasure and the importance of mutual trust. We tend to frame all those conversations in terms of risk and danger, and we should frame them in terms of responsibility and joy. They want to hear not only the nuts-and-bolts issues, but the emotional aspects of sex.”