Relationships

Sex Educator Thinks Kids Kissing Their Grandmothers Will Screw Them Up Sexually

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Grandmother kiss

“Come here and give Granny a high-five” may not be a phrase that any elderly relative who is not also a little league coach has ever actually uttered, but according to British sex educator Lucy Emmerson, it should be. By forcing our kids to kiss their relatives, she says, we’re setting them up for a future of sexual exploitation — or at least, we’re not helping them avoid one.

To make her case, Emmerson points out that one in five women and one in 20 men have “experienced attempted sex against their will,” based on results from Britain’s National Survey of Sexual Attitudes and Lifestyles. It’s an alarming number. But as her pro-grandma-kissing opponents argue, there’s no evidence that the number has much to do with who kisses who at Thanksgiving dinner.

Emmerson thinks we should teach children that their bodies are their own and their instincts should be followed, which sounds good. Let’s do that. But it’s not totally clear that teaching kids about consent — and to be clear, we should absolutely teach kids about consent — means never asking your child to please, please give Aunt Sophie a peck on the cheek already so we can finally go ahead and eat dinner.

In general, I’m with Emmerson: consent is good, and children should get to feel in control of their bodies. If your kid really, really doesn’t want to kiss Uncle James, listen to them. A wave, an air kiss, or a hug — Emmerson’s suggested alternatives — seem like totally reasonable alternatives. But I’d also really, really like to believe that most children aren’t being destroyed by the occasional reluctant display of affection. A grandmotherly high-five just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Image via Veer

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