My guest today is Amy Lang.
Amy and Casey discuss the importance of and how to talk about sex and sexuality with your tweens and teens. This conversation covers sex, sexuality, consent, sex positivity, pornography, safe spaces for sex, gender. They also share resources and tips for these sometimes-awkward conversations with growing kids.
Amy Lang has been a sexual health educator for over 25 years. In 2006, she started Birds & Bees & Kids. With her lively, engaging, and down-to-earth style she helps parents become comfortable and confident talking with their kids. Amy’s books, online solutions center, and podcast show parents they really can become their kids’ go-to birds and bees source.
Amy is still married to her first husband, and they are getting the hang of parenting their recently launched man-child. She lives in Seattle, WA, and you can learn more about her work at BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com and BBKPros.com.
Get your spot in Amy’s upcoming workshop! Talking with Teens about S-E-X Series
Community is everything!
Join our community Facebook groups:
Takeaways from the show
- What parents of teens are afraid of when it comes to sex
- What does it mean to be sex positive
- Planning for & how to have conversations with growing kids about sex and sexuality
- Impossible to give too much information
- Handling feeling flooded/not having the words during sex talks
- Educate yourself about sexual development
- Prepare kids before they become sexually active
- Growing kids seeing pornography
- Safe spaces for teens to have sex
- Importance of “I love you no matter what” parental support
Casey O'Roarty 0:04
Hello, hello my friends. Welcome back to Joyful Courage a conscious parenting podcast where we tease apart the challenges and nuances of parenting through the adolescent years. I am your host, Casey O'Roarty, Positive Discipline trainer, parent coach and adolescent lead at Sproutable, where we celebrate not only the growth of children, but also the journey and evolution that we all get to go through as parents. This is a place where we keep it real, real stories real parenting, the teen years are real messy, and there aren't many right answers. But the more we trust ourselves and trust our teens, the better the outcomes can be. The Parenting we talked about over here is relationship centered, you won't find a lot of talk about punishment, consequences or rewards. What you will hear is a lot of encouragement about connection, curiosity and life skill development. Our teens are on their own journey. And while we get to walk next to them for a bit, we don't get to walk for them. Their work is to learn from the tension of their life. Our work is to support them and love them along the way. I'm so glad you're here. Enjoy the show.
So listeners, I'm so glad that you're back today. And I'm really excited to introduce my guest Amy laying Amy is my friend and has been on my speed dial since my kids were little we've had many an OMG What should I do conversation starting with that's me saying that she's been a sexual health educator for over 25 years. In 2006. She started birds and bees and kids which you might be familiar with. I talked about it all the time. With her lively, engaging and down to earth style that we all love. She helps parents become more comfortable and confident talking with their kids. Amy's books online solution center and podcast show parents, they really can become their kids go to birds and bees source. She's still married to her first husband and they're getting the hang of parenting their recently launched a man child keeping it real. She lives in Seattle, and you can learn more about her work at birds and bees and kids.com and at BBK proz.com. Hi, Amy, welcome back. Yes, listeners, you are probably already familiar with Amy. I'm a superfan. She was my guest on episode eight on episode 27. And on episode 286 of the pod plus she was one of my experts for the sex ed for parents of teens mini Summit. She's like I said been on my speed dial. We met way back in 2007. When we both took the teaching parenting the positive discipline way training. I'm so glad that you're here. I'm so glad you're my friend.
Amy Lang 3:05
Right. Same, same, same same it was so I'm so glad we took that class together me Do you know that I did not know that parent education was a field.
Casey O'Roarty 3:13
Well, and there you were in that training.
Amy Lang 3:15
I was like, Oh, this is the thing. Oh, I should maybe take some lessons. And then yeah, there we are. together.
Casey O'Roarty 3:21
There we are together, actually grouped together with our shared gift of being on the controlling side of things. What? Remember, we did the top card activity and we both ended up in the control group. And that's when I knew like this is a soul says
Amy Lang 3:37
we're gonna be good friends here. I've got some funny side note, because this is really important to our conversation today. But I played pickleball this morning, I've been playing pickleball and I am the playground monitor. So I'm like, Get away from there. Move over here. Please don't bother that person. I'm the total like the adults. Oh, yeah, neither grownups.
Casey O'Roarty 3:54
Everybody needs people like us. They do. Okay, anyone else? Yes. Next? Yes. Well, you have a ton of resources for parents, all of which are brilliant and useful, even new resource, a book for parents of tweens sex talk with tweens. Tell me about why you wrote this book.
Amy Lang 4:12
I wrote this book, because for the last 17 years, the one big question parents always had is just tell me what to say. How do you say that? How should I say that? Just tell me what to say. So I decided to just tell everyone what to say. Because I'm a top card of a controller.
Casey O'Roarty 4:29
That's right. Here you go. I will help you. So you do tons of talks. We talk a lot to parents of young kids, and I'm sure there's always those sweet, sweet parents of teenagers in the crowd. What do you hear from parents of older kids around what they're most afraid of?
Amy Lang 4:46
Well, I think everyone is afraid that their child was like a handful of things, right? I think people that are parents of teens are afraid that their child is really just not prepared. Right? They really just have not given them enough information that when they get out They're and are thinking about getting busy that they don't like fully understand consent, you know, people with folks who have ovaries and identify as girls, they're, you know, scared for them, right in terms of being safe and sexual assault and all that nasty stuff. And people with tally whackers, there's concern that they're not going to be, I'm gonna say a terrible word, gentle men. Right? They're not gonna be thoughtful partners. Like, we want all that for them. And I think that that is kind of the overriding stuff. It's kind of around health and safety right? At the end of the day will really at the end of the day, this whole conversation is about health and safety. And I think you know, the other piece just personally, have I done enough? Have you said enough? Am I doing this right? Have we given them too much information? Like, where are my blind spots? Or you know, for some folks, it's like, okay, good luck. Enjoy yourself. Yeah. Don't get in trouble.
Casey O'Roarty 5:54
Don't get pregnant, don't get an STD. Don't rape anyone. Like, sorry, that was kind of harsh. But I think it Well, it's interesting to like, in my own experience of having a daughter and having a son, how easy it is for me to put my daughter in the victim spot and to put my son in the, you know, perpetrator, the victimizer spot and I have to pull back and remember, even though I mean, more often than not, it is the male that's hurting the female. It can be the other way as well. It can be the other way as well. And so that's just a little something I thought was interesting. Where did you find as you know, you've raised a grown ish. He's getting there almost a fully developed brain, man. What were you surprised by in your own experience? Because I mean, come on. We're all I'm a parent educator, too. And it's like, oh, yeah, I can handle all of it. And then I realized where my gaps are, Where were your gaps? What were the things that were like, Ah,
Amy Lang 6:52
well, as you all may recall, from hearing me speak 7000 times that he told me that he would rather talk to strangers than me or his dad about sex. And they would never ask me a question. So I was faced with this person who's very private, and very, like tightlipped. And I think he did it to torture me. Because, right, yeah, like, wouldn't you if you were an adolescent, and your mom was like, Hey, let's how's it going? And get me like, I gotta use this. But yeah, so I think the places that I kind of fell down, that I see the holes now, I could have talked more about just I feel like I kind of missed the boat. I don't know. Like, I can't tell I'm in a feedback loop. Like, he seems to be healthy, happy has a good relationship. But I would say that I probably did not talk enough about healthy relationships and how to get out. Right, but he's only had a couple of girlfriends. And so there wasn't a lot going on, you know, we would use his friends as example. So what's going on over here and what's going on over there. So I got some data. I had these inroads to talk with him. But I think that's one thing. The other thing that I think was a mistake is that I had condoms, but I didn't have Plan B, I could have had Plan B, which is the medication you can take if you have unprotected a penis and vagina sex, and it prevents pregnancy, well, you won't be able to get pregnant. But if you are already pregnant, it won't disrupt the pregnancy. So that's one thing that I wish I had been more like and this. So if there ever was a scare that he had a backup, assuming his partner was down for that. So I don't know. I mean, I am bummed that he's like this. I worked hard, you know, get information into him. And I'm just waiting. My friend Amy, who has older children says I just got like, two more years, and then he'll start talking to me. Yeah. Two more years. Yeah. Just waiting to sweet.
Casey O'Roarty 8:38
So staying open saying I'm judgmental. Yeah, right. Yeah, as best as we can
Amy Lang 8:43
always say ish anyway, you know, it's a hard space. For me, that question is hard for me, because I think he's fine. And here's the hilarious part. So we're good friends with his girlfriend's parents. So if I want to know what's going on with them, I just asked Theresa, because Sadie tells her everything. So he says that she tells her mom too much. So I'm like, great, just keep that up, because I could get it eat on your relationship from them.
Casey O'Roarty 9:02
Yeah, perfect. What I appreciate about what you shared, though, is I think, for parents of teenagers, it's this whole, like, they're going to do the deed like, you know, our experience of our teenagers experiencing sex, sexual intercourse, and we get so hung up there. That yeah, we miss those conversations about relationship. And I love what you said about getting out and what does that look like? And how do we do that with boundaries? How do we not be hurtful, but still be direct and clear and all of that good stuff. So I appreciate that. In the intro of your book, you talk about how the outcomes for kids are significantly better when their parents are open about talking about sex and sexuality with them. So talk a little bit about that. What are the outcomes that we're aiming for here?
Amy Lang 9:50
Well, the outcomes that I was aiming for and carry my spouse and I were aiming for were that he have a really good sense of himself as a sexual person that he understand, you know, that he'd be, you know, in tune with in touch with his gender and who he's attracted to. We hoped that he was able to really have good communication with his partners that he had a sense of, like, is this person right for me or not that he used birth control? And he's fully versed, right? Like we I mean, he knows all the things right, so that he really understood sort of the risks and our expectations, like if he was involved in a pregnancy, and that person decided to continue the pregnancy and parent, guess what, you're a parent, you're in it, you're in it, you're in it. And we really hoped that he would wait until he was in a loving, committed relationship before he got full on busy with somebody. And so with kids, those are the outcomes right, as we're looking at low teen pregnancy rate, low STI HIV rate, really good sense of consent and confidence and open communication. Like those are the outcomes we see the place we see them, the easiest place to see them is to look at countries like in Scandinavia, where they've got it all going on, and you look at how they have relationship. No, it's even about their bodies, right? You know, it being happy in your body is part of being a sexual person. And then if you just want to compare it to our teen sexual health outcomes, so Netherlands is number one in terms of teen sexual health outcomes, like they're the best. And we're number one in the worst, we're the worst. We ended develop the worst be worried Canada is the second worst, but they're like 30 points better than us, like we are the worst. And you know, what that says is that it's up to parents to make sure that their kids are not like, my goal was for us to be a little Netherlands, right? To have that kind of openness and communication and resources available, because that works. And then the other thing too, is that we know that kids who have open communication with a trustworthy adult about sexuality and their bodies and relationships, they're safer from sexual abuse. Ultimately, if they're having consistent communication, they have a better sense of someone if they are not trustworthy, if they're creepy, if they're too good to be true, right?
Casey O'Roarty 12:05
Right. Yeah. Well, it's interesting. I had a conversation with my daughter a while back, and she was just telling me, you know, kind of lamenting about a particular relationship. And she said, all of a sudden, I thought to myself, I don't want to be stuck in this and my response, you'll be proud. I was like, Oh, listen, you will never be stuck, unless you're sharing a child. So keep taking your pill, keep using a condom. Like, that's it done, period. Yeah. And so sex positive, I feel like sex positive is kind of like a catchphrase over the last couple of years. What does that even really mean?
Amy Lang 12:42
So I think when people hear sex positive, they think, okay, so that means you're like, down with people having sex with 47 different people and hooking up wherever and just like getting busy in all kinds of different ways. So sure, that's actually not what sex positive means. I think it has this connotation of actual doing it. The real thing is that when someone says they're sex positive, like I'm a sex positive person. And what I mean by that is that I see sex as a healthy, wonderful, important good part of life, I see it as a positive thing, not a thing to dread to be afraid of, to like when we focus on all those negative things about like pregnancy and STI, that's always going to be in there. But if that's your focus, that's not positive. But if your goal and your focus is like this healthy attitude, like you want, I want Milo to have, and I think he does have that, like attitude about sexual Yeah, this is a good part of life. It's an important part of life. There's trouble, there's always trouble. But ultimately, it's a good
Casey O'Roarty 13:38
thing. The light side and the dark side.
Amy Lang 13:40
That's right. Yeah. And all that fucking gray.
Casey O'Roarty 13:44
Oh, man, so much in the middle. So when you talk to parents of teens, and you know, I have a couple of questions that I'm seeing coming up in my community that we'll get to in a minute. What do you think is getting in the way? Like, why are parents of teens? What are you hearing as barriers to having conversations?
Amy Lang 14:04
Well, a person that says, I don't want to hear it. I know it all. Yeah, there's that that right, like right there. And you're like, Okay,
Casey O'Roarty 14:10
you guys. I'll talk at them though, right? Yeah.
Amy Lang 14:13
But we're uncomfortable, right? We didn't have good examples. We don't know what we're doing. We're terrified. Like this whole thing of I'm gonna give them too much information. What does that look like? What should I be saying? And so the minute your kids like, I already know it all, you're like, phew, you're 15? Of course you do. I'm out. Right? Right. So that's one of the things is that. And the other thing I just said, it's like, we don't know what we're doing. We just don't know what we're doing. And not having enough information ourselves is a problem. Our whole history and experience and our backgrounds that all comes up when we talk with our kids or even think about it and so, you know, for those of us with sexual trauma, that's kind of front and center, right? And so you have to push through that which some people just cannot and, you know, if that's you, you don't have to do it. You can find somebody else that you trust that can be Be that person for your kid. And so it's those two things. And then the other piece is that we assume that our kids don't want to hear it. And that's just not the case. Like you're the best and most trustworthy resource for them. They do want to hear it from you. Now, they may not act like it. But these days, they can close their ears, but they can't close their ears. So like you said, you can just say, I need to talk to you about a sex thing. Give me three minutes, set your timer, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, do your thing. Or I have a small group called the hive. And we were just talking yesterday. And one of the things I was coaching them about is to just say, Hey, I was just thinking, What do you know about the like, what do you know about oral sex and see what they do? And so that way, you're just waiting in, and they're gonna think you're weird. And they're gonna think, Oh, my God, but if you're not making any overt attempts, they don't know that you're open. Yeah. And you don't start with blow jobs. So you start with blow jobs.
Casey O'Roarty 16:01
You guys, Amy has this great newsletter, I think you're still doing this, where you have like a little like, Hey, here's a topic. And one time I happened to open your newsletter, and it was about polyamory. And you wrote a little something about it. I think my daughter was like, 11. And I went into a room and I was like, Hey, have you ever heard of polyamory? And she looked at me, she's like, No. And so I told her about it. And she just, I mean, there was just nothing. She was just like, why are you telling me about? That's like, just thought I, you know, share something new. But that's something like you just said, Am I gonna say too much. And you say in your book, there is no too much.
Amy Lang 16:39
It's impossible for the regular folks to give too much information, like we just are not wired that way. And so the worry is not giving them enough information. But I have a caveat. Okay, you can give them too much information about your own personal sex life. They do not want to hear about how many orgasms you had last night, they do not want to hear anything about your own personal sex life. So you don't have to share that. I mean, think about do you want to know about your parents sex life now? 01 time I was teaching a class that there was a gal who said, Yeah, I'd like to know about my parents sex life. And I'm like, you just beauty Do you.
Casey O'Roarty 17:15
That's a different class lady, but different class.
Amy Lang 17:17
Right. And, you know, I bet she just brings up you know, I already talked a little bit about sexual trauma. But that's one of my beliefs around sexual trauma. My belief is that we should not share our sexual traumas with our children until they can handle it. So if you experience some kind of rape or molestation, I think it's better for you to sit on that. Because they need to see you as healthy and whole, it's really hard to hear that your parent was traumatized. And so when they're older, when 1920 21 When they can make sense of that for themselves. And for you, that's a better time to talk about it. I do believe they should know that. The other thing is that if something happens to your child, and the same thing happened to you while they're a child, then I think it's okay to say I'm so sorry, the same thing happened to me. Or something similar happened to me. You don't need to go into four part glowing harmony detail, but just making that connection. But yeah, generally speaking, just open your damn mouth. Yeah. Yeah.
Casey O'Roarty 18:16
I mean that lovingly. So your book, I was saying, Before we hit record, I knew it was scripts, but I didn't really realize that it was. I don't know what I thought. But I'm going through your book, as I'm prepping for this. And I see that when you talk about orgasms. It's simply a sneeze with our privates. Like, as a way to orgasms. I need to know. Did you come up with that? Oh,
Amy Lang 18:41
God, no, that's Peter male who wrote got it I come from and what's happening to me it feels like it's sneeze. It's the most equivalent, you know how good a sneeze feels. Right. An orgasm feels like a sneeze, but down there. Anyway, I don't know if I credited him I should
Casey O'Roarty 18:57
probably so caught up. I was like, Uh, yes, right? Yes. Please, more sneezes with the privates and my life.
Amy Lang 19:05
clitoris havers, they need to know that that baby can sneeze over and over and over again. It's your only job.
Casey O'Roarty 19:11
Yep, yep. And the messages and in your book, and that you just proclaim across the land is we need to be talking to our kids. And it sounds so simple. Like, we just need to talk about them. And myself included, sometimes we go into it and like, we have no words. Like I've been in conversations recently, where all the words all the things have left me and again, and my listeners have heard me say this. I mean, we all want these open, honest relationships with our kids. And we might have kids that fall kind of where your boy is where it's like, no thanks. And then we have kids that are super open, right and then so as a parent, I want to make sure you know I don't want to give the wrong response. Right. So is it okay Tell me it's okay for us to say, You know what, this is hard for me to hear and to process right now, can we come back in a few minutes after I've kind of taken some breaths? Because these are our babies are grown babies.
Amy Lang 20:13
Yes. And yes, absolutely. Because what are you demonstrating? What do you do when you're flooded? Right? There's just talking about, you can't say, I'm flooded. I can't handle this, right? You can't do that. But you can say, Wow, thanks for asking. Thanks for telling me that I'm noticing that I just need a minute. Let me think about it. I'm gonna go get just a bottle of wine. I'll be right back. Or glass of water, glass of wine, wine or water, whatever floats your boat, tea, whatever coffee?
Casey O'Roarty 20:41
You do, it'll take you a minute, get tea, tea,
Amy Lang 20:45
I'm gonna go run away. Anyway, take a look. If you say oh, wow, you know, I just need to think about this. And you can even say, Oh, wow, I'm really surprised to hear you tell me that. That's okay. All okay to say, you can even just sit there and say, Okay, let me think about this. And then say, Okay, this is what I want to say. Because when we do that, we're showing how we have communication about sexual issues. We're showing how we self regulate, right? I know you talked about that. And then you're not telling your kid like, your something wrong with you. Now, sometimes your child might say something and your immediate thought, and you might say what the fuck, right? And you're like the first thing out of your mouth or this
Casey O'Roarty 21:20
one? Oh, God.
Amy Lang 21:21
Right. Right. Oh, god. What? Like, so if you do any of that, then you have a moment. You're like, Okay, I'm sorry. I was just super surprised to hear you say that. Yeah, give me a minute. Right? In a minute. Give me a minute. And yeah, it's fine. I know, you've talked about this. But as long as you're saying, I'm having a thing going on. Right, something's up with me here. I need a pause. Also, if you initiate a conversation with your kiddo about something, and you're talking, and they start doing the looking away, or like plugging their ears say, You know what, we'll pick this up later. Or if you're talking about something, and you're starting to get hot, and you're starting to get worked up, then just say, You know what, I just need to think about this some more. We'll finish this up later. Yeah. And run away. But you have to come back. Yeah. You can't short time.
Casey O'Roarty 22:09
Later. Frequent. Yeah. Well, and I love that. Thank you for telling me right, or I'm so glad that I feel like a safe person for you to share this with. And give me a minute. Give me a minute, we'll come back to this. Adolescence, for the majority of our kids is when they become sexually active. Like, it's just a hard fact. Right? Yeah. Whether that's like making out and grabbing part while hopefully not grabbing, but you know, the gentle, lovely, caressing all the way to doing the deed, caressing in tandem. So what do you have are beards that are freaking like, I feel like there's so many parents, we just don't want to accept that. And we're, you know, but it is part of their development. And so how do we help listeners right now who are like, Yeah, I know, but I just don't, I don't want it to be a part of their development. Like, what would you say? Sorry.
Amy Lang 23:07
It is part of their development. So a couple things. So educating yourself about sexual behavior and sexual development in children is a really good thing to do. So you know, what's a common, so you know, what's typical, like what you just talked about. So for folks who are in puberty, and they're 11, to on up, like, usually in that 11 to 13 year old range, that's what they're doing. But they might try make an out a couple times. They don't do it, like if they're 16, right. So if you just know that developmentally, this is where they're at. That's great. And then the thing is going to help you feel better is if you have been talking with them and help and helping them be prepared for when this stuff starts coming up. Like they need to know, if there's hanging out with somebody, and they want to kiss them maybe that they need to know they know the thing to do is to ask first and if their potential partner doesn't ask first and just goes in for it. There's something to think about, right? Like there's a lot of detail and nuanced stuff. But if you're thinking about how prepared can I get them, then that'll take it down a notch. Because if you know that you have condoms and plan B, of course, if that's within your family values, then you'll know and they know that then you'll know there's a little sense of relief. But yeah, I'm saying that and one thing that people also sometimes think is that if you talk with your kids openly about sex, they're gonna go out and do it. Guess what? They're not shrewd, anyway. Yeah, well, yeah, exactly. You talk to him you don't talk to him. They're gonna do it anyway.
Casey O'Roarty 24:29
Right. A high I know you're enjoying this interview, but I wanted to pop in to be sure that you knew that the back to school checklist is still available for you to get your hands on. Back to School checklist. Remember that came out in late August. This resource is designed to be the springboard. You need to jump into the conversations that are useful to be having With your teens right now, as they roll into a new school year, your teens, your tweens, we would all like to be more hands off, right? We want our kids to be self driven and motivated. Listen, this is about creating systems, with your kids that support them in their follow through and support you in letting go and trusting them to learn through their mistakes. I know. I know, it's hard, and it can feel like you're trapped in a cycle of frustration and disappointment. But there is another way. So I want you to go to B spreadable.com/checklist. And download this resource to start having different conversations with your adolescents today. Okay, B spreadable.com/checklist. It's free. It's there, it's for you go check it out. Back to the show. Well, and I love there's been a couple shows like young, not young, but like teen shows a couple, not very many, that they've really weaved in the consent conversation really nicely, where it's like, Oh, that wasn't how it went in the late 80s When I was getting busy as a young person. And then to think like, oh, I'm like, it feels awkward to think about how, you know the expectation around consent. Now, what does that look like? So anytime I see it in the media, I'm like, Oh, right on, that's what it looks like. and I were watching something together, I'll be like, Oh, my God, that was so cool. That they just seem you know, it didn't wreck the mood. It didn't, you know, do anything but make sure that everybody's on the same page. So I love using and you said, you know, talking about our kids, what's going on with your friend group? What are you hearing about at school? Like there's a lot of side doors into these conversations to land? What you want to be landing with them without saying like, so last night when you were in the car. 45 minutes before he came in the house. Were there, you know, to get consent. Did you get consent? Did you ask before you did that thing that? She said? Yes. Yeah, yeah, totally.
Amy Lang 27:08
Yeah. And that's a good point, too. Because like, you can use the world around you like movies, shows music, there's all kinds of these all kinds of opportunities. And you can do it in the moment, a mom yesterday asked me, you know, I've been turning that what have I been doing? She said, I'll pause the movie. And then I'll say, now what I really loved about this interaction was and I was like, You got to stop doing that. So it just got us later and say, Hey, I miss this moment. I love that. So I didn't like that. Just do it later. Like when we were watching. Yeah, I've been what I just watched. Never have I ever have you watched that? Yeah, it's cute. Yeah.
Casey O'Roarty 27:40
Is it the Mindy Kaling show?
Amy Lang 27:42
Yeah, it's really good. Yeah, it's this East Indian gal who's in high school and just trying to sort it out. And they have all kinds of different stuff goes on. It's really great. And it's a really good show to watch with kids, because there's so much to talk about later. And in the moment, too. But you know, one thing I think that like, one of my big pieces of advice is that it's fine to plan. It's fine to plan like that. One of the reasons I wrote sex talks with tweens is because if you think, okay, I need to talk about consent or oral sex or something that feels tough or even not tough. You can read the book and read the oral sex section. And you'll get that and then you're like, alright, within 48 hours, I'm gonna make this happen, or even just read it. Because you can just say, I'm really uncomfortable. I don't know how to talk to this. I'm just gonna read this to you. And they don't care. They don't care.
Casey O'Roarty 28:28
Yeah. And literally listeners, like Amy's book is written as if you're speaking, it's not like this is informative information. For parents. It's literally the words that you can say, and I appreciate that you're like, and you get to put in your values. And you get to create, you know, make this to be in your voice, or like you just said, just read it straight from the book. Right? I love that. That's so so useful. And you cover like everything. So talk a little bit about how did you decide where to go? Like, what was your thought process? And I remember was this does like, I remember you working on this book, because you did a lot of crowdsourcing.
Amy Lang 29:07
I did. Yes, I did. I did a lot of crowdsourcing. And I've been at this a long time. So I know what people always ask me like, there are these top questions. And then you know, I just think I can't remember why you asked me that. I think I just looked at it in terms of kind of categories of things. So write that like, what's a clitoris right? What's an ovary? Like? What do you say to explain these like parts? And then I thought about okay, then there's all this relationship stuff we need to talk about. There's sexual behavior stuff. There's, we have talked about porn. So I laid it out in a way that made sense to me and it's kind of compartmentalized, but everything always overlaps because you can't talk about clitoris without talking about orgasms. But if you don't like what's the clitoris? Well, it's a little bump in a female body. That's stats a topical right in the labia menorah there's a little bump above the ureter Read above the vagina all touch it, it feels good. That's its only job, right? It causes people to have orgasms. Or can, what's an orgasm? What is an orgasm? It's like a sneeze in your crotch, right? So you can't talk about that. And then you're like, Oh, crap, now I gotta talk about some kind of sex, right? Like, it's always this cascade, and which I think can be overwhelming. But you know, one of the things about planning is you can say, okay, like, one tip is to write down all the things you feel like you're behind on, write them down, make a list, and go back and rate them in terms of ease to terror. So one, it feels easy. If it's a five, you're going to get a sweaty upper lip, plus, maybe some more things will go on, and then start ticking off the list. Because when you see what happens when you talk about one thing, and no one dies, throws up and then you can keep rolling until you can get to the harder stuff. And you know, the end of the day, they're just going to appreciate it.
Casey O'Roarty 30:55
Yeah, even if the look on their face isn't telling you that message. Well, like for example of the overlap, one of the things that I really appreciated that I saw was, and you've always, you know, been a proponent of we got to talk about porn, our kids are looking at porn, they're seeing porn, it's happening, porn is happening, whether you like it or not, and a section that I really appreciated in the like, different ways people have sex. And I love that you say if the word sex is in the description, like oral sex, anal sex, it is sex, right? And one of the things that you say about anal sex is the fact that so many of our kids are seeing porn. It's normalizing this act that most of us don't do. And we don't have to do and we're not expected to do and so I think it's really important, even though the thought of talking about anal sex with your kid is like, I mean, that's
Amy Lang 31:48
four thumbs down
Casey O'Roarty 31:50
or five on the rating scale. Yeah, right. But if we don't talk about it, and then our sons or our daughters are in a sexual relationship, and that's the expectation, and they've been watching porn. It you know, it's just, I just think it's, it's just so important, no matter how uncomfortable you are, we're gonna talk about this stuff.
Amy Lang 32:09
We do. We do. And yeah, they think that, you know, they see porn and they use it as sex education. They think you know, porn starts in the middle. And they don't understand that people don't regular folk don't do those things. Their bodies don't do like it look like that. They don't make those noises. The industry is a shit show. Like they do get that they think they do get some of that. But if you're a sex primary sex educator is porn, which is absolutely a thing. Then you're getting all kind of mixed up stuff, right? Like kids need to know that sex actually start with a conversation. How tiny one sometimes, right, right. People do hook up, right, but just talking about like, usually, like when people are learning to have sex, it's slow. Right? It usually ideally, it takes time and slowly get to know each other's bodies. And hopefully,
Casey O'Roarty 32:57
is it still slow?
Amy Lang 32:58
Oh, of course not. I mean, you know, it's all over the map still. Yeah, right. We're talking like perfect world. Yeah. Talking,
Casey O'Roarty 33:04
like make out. Make bring back right. Make out. Bring it back.
Amy Lang 33:09
It's fun. I know. Here we are. How long have you been married? That's an idea.
Casey O'Roarty 33:14
member on the band. That was fun. Yes. One of the things that came up in the joyful courage for parents of teens, Facebook group, shameless plug is one of the moms was saying, you know, I know that my child is having sex and they want their partner to come over. And I'm hard. No, I am not going to give them a space to be doing this thing. Not in my house. Right. So you can already hear in my tone, perhaps my opinion about there, maybe a little bit locality. So how do you respond? I'm sure that you've had parents come talk about this with you, too. How do you respond to that?
Amy Lang 33:49
Well, I mean, the first thing is this. Where are they going to do it? Then? Where are they doing it? They do it in the car? Maybe they're doing it the other kids house? They're doing it other people's houses? They're probably doing it in your house when you're not there? Are they doing it in the McDonald's bathroom? Gross? I did not say that. But right. Like, where are they doing it? And are the places they're doing it? Is it safe? Right? I just named a lot of places that weren't necessarily safe. And so yeah, I get that. Like when I remember I was Milo was like nine and I was teaching a class and I said something about sex at home. And this girl was like, Yeah, I'm totally letting my kids have sex at home. And I was like, oh, like even me? I was like, oh, never well guess what? Yeah, I got over that I got right on over that because it's a safety issue. Right? And if your value is that you don't want your kids having sex at home then okay, you know my carry said you can have sex at home. I just wanted to see it hear it or smell it right on the end. So it's a family value thing but that big push No way. No how really reduces like, I'm assuming it's penis and vagina sex that's happening. And what's she gonna do? She gets pregnant, she can't talk to you. She already knows how maybe she will maybe she won't. Or if it's, you know, it doesn't matter. So you really have to decide like, what's safest for my child? It's safest for your child to have sex at your house. And yeah, it's uncomfortable. And yeah, at the end of the day, if we were in the Netherlands, they don't even think twice about it. That's just what you do. Yeah. And they do better than we do.
Casey O'Roarty 35:22
Well, and I know, for me, like, my thoughts around that were so different before I had a sexually active kid, right. Like, I thought I knew how I would be. And then it came up. And it was like, Oh, my gosh, like, first, how much work am I going to do to make sure this doesn't happen? Like, how hard do I want to work around that, but also, if we're coming from this place of this is appropriate for their development? They're in a good relationship. It's not like, Hey, bring your hookup to our house? No way. No, no, no, no,
Amy Lang 35:54
you're just hooked up on the McDonald's bathroom.
Casey O'Roarty 35:56
Yeah. Do you go to McDonald's for that? Bliss? But right, I mean, we're giving so many messages around that. And listeners, I know, it's like, we're probably all kind of like, Oh, God, oh, God, you know, it's squishy. And I appreciate you always bring it back to family values. 100%. But really asking ourselves, what do we want most for our kids? What kind of experience do we want them to be having? You know, and then when you're in it, you know, call me or Amy and we'll hold your talk
Amy Lang 36:25
you off the ledge, we'll talk you off the
Casey O'Roarty 36:29
ledge, you do spend time on your book, talking about gender or talking about sexuality, you know, so I can't even I don't have a question for this. But I have a question for this. Like, what do we need to remember as parents when we've got kids that are in the continuum of gender in the continuum of sexuality? What's the main message that we want to be sending to those kids around these conversations?
Amy Lang 36:55
I love you no matter who you are, yes, yes. I love you. No matter who you are, I might not understand this. I might not understand this part of you. I'm here. I'm going to support you. I might make mistakes, but I love you no matter what. And I'll do my freakout. On my own time, LGBTQ kids have a suicide rate that's four times higher than the general population. So no one wants that. And so one of the things we know is that parental support is the main thing that keeps them on par with their with the general population, which no one was talking about that anyway. But yeah, I don't get it. I don't understand it. You can say that. But I'm here for you helped me understand. What do you need from me? You know, if somebody changes their gender, and their name, or their pronouns, or whatever is going on, you need to ask, you know, who knows? Who can I tell? How do you want to handle this in our family? Let them lead the charge. And for a lot of people, this is very confusing, especially the gender piece, because, you know, you raise a kid, and for 18 years, and they go from Nicole to being Nick and then what? Right, and it seems to be starting, like kids who are in around 1112 13 are starting to really explore their gender, much more expansive view of gender and sexual orientation. This is developmentally normal. It just is something that we were quashing and hiding and didn't have enough information about so and it's not experimentation, do not use that word, or you will have a disconnect with your child. You can say exploration, curiosity, expansion, whatever nice words and wait. Our pal Joe Langford says hold it lightly.
Casey O'Roarty 38:33
I like that, hold it lightly. And what I really appreciate is, I love you no matter what helped me educate me to understand but even if I don't understand, I love you no matter what. Because, you know, and that's something that I've said to parents who have reached out to me confused, wondering is as a phase. Well, when parents come to me, and they're freaking out about their child's exploration around gender, specifically. And then it's the other conversations like, Well, yeah, it's like a trend and they're on tick tock, and they're good at it. I love that this generation has permission. I mean, based on where you are, I know that we live in a lovely bubble. They have permission to outwardly Express and explore and they're finding each other. So rather than like, well, all their friends are doing this thing. Well, yeah, all their friends are doing this thing because they found their people found their people they found belonging in a space in a world that there's still a lot of messaging about who they're supposed to be. So yes, and regardless, holding it lightly, wait and see. And accepting, accepting, accepting, because these kids are on the fringe, right? They're the ones that we need to hold tightly inside of this love bubble because, you know, the world is
Amy Lang 39:53
it is and they can't tell by looking anyway, so just believe them. And like I said, Do you freak out out on your own time. Yes, yeah, go out on your own time and wait, and wait, and wait
Casey O'Roarty 40:06
and keep talking and keep being open and keep working on your facial expressions. Keep facing up or facing, make your tea, take a moment to make some tea to make some tea. Yes, Amy, your book is so good. I love that it's just written in such a neutral way. And and allows so much space for parents to make it their own and to plug in their values. And I'm really excited. Because listeners, Amy is going to do a three part series for the joyful courage community for parents of teens in November. So we decided it's going to be called Talking with teens about S E x we have because why not? I love it. I love it. So highlighting some of the things, places that Amy's gonna go in this training with you all is what they need to know, ASAP. Right, like those main points, she's going to talk about gender and sexual orientations. And you know, I think what's important, I just want to say, if you are a parent of like, a kid that is cisgender, straight, right. And it's clear that that's, it's still important for you to become educated because they have friends. You have friends, you have friends with kids who are exploring gender and sexuality and they need you. They need you to be educated. So I'm really excited about session two, and all you're going to talk about then and then finally, the last session is the porn talk. Let's talk about porn. Let's talk about the statistics. Yeah,
Amy Lang 41:36
let's talk about porn baby. Yeah, that's what we're gonna be doing. So it's kind of a, it's sort of general. And then a couple specifics and it for what I was we were looking at, I was looking at this, like, what's really important, it's yeah, the developmental stuff, that's really important, because that kind of gives you roots. But then the things that are the hottest right now, for teens and families are gender, sexual orientation, and porn. And I just want to piggyback on what you said about if your kids cisgender. And straight and cisgender means that their gender they were given at birth matching matches their private parks, if you aren't open an askable parent, and you are that way, in general, and their friends will see you as that parent. So if you have a kid in your kid's friend group that is not straight, or queer in some way, they're going to be likely to talk to you. And so if you're well informed, you're gonna be a better advocate for that child. Because some kids, of course, are in families where they cannot possibly be who they are.
Casey O'Roarty 42:29
Yeah, yeah. And that's tragic. And good news. Here's the link, everyone, because you can enroll right now, at beast browseable.com/sex talks. That's the link. That's the hot link for the hot sex talks series with Amy. And we have a bonus, if you enroll in the next 48 hours, which is before, we'll say before Wednesday at midnight, from when this podcast goes live. So that's more than 48 hours. But if you enroll before, then you will get the PDF of Amy's book and access to the positive discipline for teens summit that I created a couple of years ago. So you're gonna want to get on it. You're gonna want to save your spot. Do what B spreadable.com/sex talks. Anything else you want to say about the series about what you're going to be delivering to parents through those three talks? Any interactive question answers?
Amy Lang 43:24
Yeah, interactive question answers, breakout rooms. One of the best things, as you all probably know is that we learn from each other. I like to give people a chance to talk about what they're learning. And I think that deepens the learning. The other thing is that when we do this, we'll do some q&a that's recorded, and then we'll do 10 or 15 minutes of unrecorded q&a. So you don't have to be shy, you can just ask, I think that is something that is really important to people. And I think with all of our recording every effing thing. It's nice to have a space where it's not recorded. So I think that the good news is if you can't make one of them, you're gonna get the recording, and so you can get caught up, and we're fun, um, fun. You'll learn stuff, you'll feel better. You'll feel better.
Casey O'Roarty 44:09
Yeah, yeah. Well, that's what I love about you. Like you bring lightness to this thing that can feel really weighty to parents. And so that's a huge, that's one of your huge gifts. So wrapping up, is there anything else you want to make sure to leave parents with today as we close this conversation?
Amy Lang 44:26
Yes. Start small. Pick one small thing that you think you can do. So maybe it's you get my book, right? Sex talks with tweens. There's stuff in there. It doesn't matter if you have a tween. It works for everybody do that. Maybe it's you make that list of all the things and you rank it. So pick one little thing. And then remember, this is about preparing your child for one of the biggest parts of life. I don't think we do much of anything that's bigger than this. And imagine if you had had an open committed loving parent that talked with you and helped you be prepared it. So there's that you can do this. Yes,
Casey O'Roarty 45:03
you can do it, you can do it. And before I let you go I know I've asked you this question before because you've been on the pod. But what does joyful courage mean to you today? Amy Lang?
Amy Lang 45:14
Oh, I love that. Thank you. What does it mean to me today? You know, I think it just means just, I just had this conversation and it just reminded me that this is a joyful thing, like sexuality is a joyful thing. And if you it takes some courage to have these conversations, and it takes courage to take that on, right to switch, right to switch from this being a burden to this being a like a source of joy. So yeah, I think that's what it means to me.
Casey O'Roarty 45:44
I love it. I love it. And again, it's called sex talks with tweens. But listen, you guys with older teenagers, it is absolutely a valuable resource. You need to get your hands on it. Don't think like wow, it's for those younger kids. It is not. It is not. Where can people find your book and follow your work game.
Amy Lang 46:05
So birds and bees and kids.com you can find it there. And also, if you're in there, there's a freebie button. So click on that and you'll get some fat, fabulous freebies. All the places Amazon Barnes and Noble book, baby. So all the usual spots. Yay.
Casey O'Roarty 46:20
Great. Thank you so much for coming and hanging out with me. I so appreciate you
Amy Lang 46:25
at any time
Casey O'Roarty 46:37
Yay. All right. Thank you again for listening in to a another show. Please check the show notes for any links mentioned in this episode. If you liked what you heard today, you do me a favor and share it. Screenshot the show plastered all over your socials so that other parents know that we are creating value over here for them. If you really want to earn a gold star, head to Apple podcasts. Leave us a review this does so much for the show for the exposure. It's a great way to give back. Thank you to my team at Sprout double for all your support. Alana Juliet, I love you so much. Thank you to Chris Mann and the team at pod shaper for keeping the show sounding so good. And you listener, thank you for continuing to show up. This is hard work that we're doing. I encourage you in this moment. In this moment together. Let's take a deep breath in and follow that into your body. Hold it for a moment, exhale. And with that exhale, release the tension. And I invite you to trust, trust that everything is going to be okay. I'm so happy to support you. So glad to have spent time with you today. I'll see you next week.