Episode 76: Parenting After Purity Culture with Erica Smith

May 25, 2020

Show Description

Today we’re talking about how to raise children with healthy sexuality. I’ve hosted a couple of episodes in the past about sex and parenting. I’ve also done an episode on breaking free from purity culture. In this episode, we’re going to combine those two topics and discuss parenting after purity culture. Joining me to explore this topic is expert, Erica Smith. Erica is an award-winning sexuality educator. She has been providing sex education, HIV prevention, and support services to young women, LGBTQ, youth, and families since 2000. I’m excited to share our conversation with you.

Show Highlights:

  • Why dropping out of purity culture is not at all like dropping an actual class.
  • Some of the biggest challenges Erica sees in her students and clients as they navigate this messy path out of purity culture.
  • Advice for parents who are trying to deal with their purity culture and raise kids with sex-positivity.
  • There can’t be any sex-positive parenting without examining your feelings and beliefs about sex. 
  • Confusion is common, and not knowing what to say is normal. Parents need to understand that they’re not alone, and being uncomfortable is typical for these conversations. 
  • What to do if your child comes across sexually explicit material online. 
  • We work through a lot of reframing for those of us who grew up in purity culture and evangelicalism; to change our minds about this idea that we have a right to pleasure. Erica offers some best practices for people to successfully execute these reframes.
  • The beautiful thing about raising kids in sex positivity is that they won’t have to do the difficult work of reframing as they grow into adolescence and adulthood. 
  • Overcoming purity culture may mean rejecting a particular set of values, but it doesn’t mean entering into a vacuum of ethics.
  • Recommendations for parents and families to help determine their sexual ethics.

Links (affiliates included):

Erica Smith’s Instagram:

Sex Positive Families:

Cath Hakanson, Sex Ed Rescue:

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