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Episode 11: The Birds & The Bees (1/2)

Did you get “the talk” from your parents when you were young? When and how did you “explore” your own body? Did you use the correct names for intimate body parts? How did your childhood exposure and experiences shape your adulthood beliefs and actions? In episode one of our two-part conversation with Logan, we focus on sexuality through the scope of cultural influences, young children, and how to navigate the complicated landscape when parenting during those early developmental stages. Give us your feedback Follow us on Instagram! Facebook BBXX website Sign up for our digital “book” club — a twice-weekly curation of the best digital content about identity, sexuality, intimacy, and relationships!
The transcript wasn’t added for this episode.

On this week’s episode we bring you part one of our two-part conversation with Dr. Logan Levkoff, a parenting and sexuality expert who encourages honest and open conversations about sexuality throughout childhood and adolescence. We hope that you feel empowered by this discussion and able to be more open and honest within your own life.

Sexuality Throughout the Lifespan

Sexuality exists in us throughout our lives and is comprised of our sexual orientation, how we express our gender and our gender identity, our sexual desires, the roles we communicate and act on in our relationships, and all of our values associated with sexuality and our bodies. It’s an incredibly important aspect of who we are.

Impacts on our Sexuality

Various different elements can affect the development of sexuality throughout our lives including (but not limited to) the culture we live in, media we consume, our family values, the politics of our environment, religion and religious traditions, relationships that we have, and the health of those relationships as they affect who we are and what we do.

Family Influence

Our family is usually our first relationship model, which means that we can tend to fall into patterns that we have seen and grown up around. Sometimes those models can be positive, and sometimes they can be negative. We aren’t destined to repeat our childhoods, but it
takes work to change our behaviors.

Breaking the Cycle

The first time a child parrots back something we may have said – it’s a tremendous wake up when you realize – uh oh, they’ve been listening the whole time.

One important tool to use in raising a kid is to acknowledge your mistakes to them. Taking accountability models positive behaviors and ownership over mistakes – since we will all make mistakes!

Kids and Consent

Asking for consent about daily things – like posting a photo online or giving a hug – gives you an opportunity to model consent behavior in various ways.

Age Appropriate Conversations

Kids will ask questions when we least expect them and sometimes we aren’t prepared. One way to ease into the conversation is asking how the question came up for them: have they been learning about it at school, watching a specific show, etc.? This allows you an opportunity to better understand where they are coming and helps you craft your answer. Be honest. Use the
information you know they have to explain the answer to them. A good example of this is using the creation of pregnancy as a recipe – with various ingredients and tools – as it’s easier for younger kids to understand.

Our kids simply want to know that someone they love and trust, and that loves them unconditionally, is going to be there to answer their questions.

Do’s and Don’ts

Do: Get context around the topic and question, tell the truth, and be positive!
Don’t: Assume they know and avoid the conversations.

Talking Body Parts

Using correct language as it relates to anatomy is very important because it connects us to our whole body. Even if you use silly names, everyone should teach the proper names too: vulva and penis. Using juvenile language makes us more detached from our bodies which not only makes it harder to talk about when there’s a problem, but also makes it more difficult later on
when talking about pleasure. Having a universal language is essential when talking about sexual health!

Masturbation

Not only is it a common and typical part of development, it’s also important and healthy to want to understand how our bodies function – what they look like, what they feel like. It’s also empowering to learn that your body is capable of feeling pleasure no matter what your relationship status is.

We forget that the hallmark of adolescence is exploring your sexuality… it doesn’t have to be something that’s bad or taboo or unhealthy. In fact, it’s really just the opposite. These are the times when you really figure out who you are, not just as a sexual being and not just body related, but who you are as a partner, as a friend, how you deal with intimate situations. These are our models for the future.

About the Expert

Logan Levkoff

Logan Levkoff

Logan Levkoff is an AASECT Certified Sex Educator and Sex Educator Supervisor and served on the AASECT Board of Directors. She received her Ph.D. in Human Sexuality, Marriage, and Family Life Education from New York University and an M.S. in Human Sexuality Education. Logan is dedicated to perpetuating healthy and positive messages about sexuality and relationships. She speaks on a wide range of issues, including sexual health and sexuality education, trends in sexuality, relationship hurdles, and the role of sexuality in pop culture and politics.

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