As a female growing up in the United States of America we have all heard it multiple times. Boys only want one thing. This was such a confusing phrase to me growing up, and though family and friends were well meaning, and doing what I'm sure they thought was best, I will never tell my daughter that boys only want one thing.
As a little girl I wondered, "what is that one thing?" I was confused. Confused about sexuality, about gender equality, and confused about how to go about the whole process. As I'm sure my parents were too, it's not easy to talk openly about sex or sexuality with your five year old who has too many questions, like I had. I have learned though that if you are uncomfortable they will be uncomfortable. Since I haven't had "the talk" with my little ones yet I can't say for sure how any of this will turn out, but I have had the talk with more students then I can count, so I do feel ready when that day comes. I will answer questions openly and honestly with my children. I will use appropriate termonology, and I will encourage them to come to me at anytime with more questions and I will always try and answer them.
As an adolescent I wondered "am I bad for also wanting one thing?" By using this statement boys only want one thing, we are putting boys down. We are making them incapable of love and affection in a way that is not sexualized. We are telling girls that their normal hormonal feelings are wrong. Truth is kids are going to feel these feelings no matter what and we have to teach our children how to deal with these feelings in a healthy way. We need to be honest with our children and tell them that yes I understand how badly you want to make out with that boy Billy down the street, but if you're going to make out with Billy don't you think it would be smart to know maybe what kind of music Billy likes to listen to first? Or maybe what sports he plays, or if he interested in the fact that you love to dance?? Because all of those things are very important since you can't spend 24/7 making out, you'll have to do something else at some point and don't you want to enjoy all of it and not just the making out? And what if you do make out with him and come to find out he has horrible taste in music and no interest in dancing? Then you are left with this lingering physical connection but no true emotional one. And that leads to heartbreak, to sadness, and to future heartbreak and sadness. We need to start teaching our children now about building healthy emotional relationships before taking it to the physical level.
And as a teen and young adult, "boys only want one thing and I want boys attention so I'm going to give them that one thing?" This my friends is where belly shirts and short shorts come in. I always knew I wanted a serious relationship, I wanted to get married, and be together forever, but I was not sure how to persue that. How do I get a boys attention? By appealing to the one thing they want: I need to be sexy. My trying to be sexy gave boys the wrong message, that I wanted one thing too. This led to my first sexual experiences being unconsentional date rape. I don't remember most of anything and I do not want this for my daughter.
What I do want for my daughter is to lay the foundation at a young age when she starts asking questions, I want to give answers, honest answers. When she has confusing feelings I want to be the one she confides in, and I pray that I can have the grace to say the right things to lead her down a straight path, and not curse the boy who breaks her heart. I will do my best to instilll in her that the reason to date is to find a husband and that you do not need to find a husband until your at the very least 18 so work on making great friends until then. I have hopes that she saves herself for her husband, or at the very least for someone who truly loves her and that she loves and trusts. I hope that she finds a boy who will respect her and love her first for her personality. I am still new to this parenting game but if these last two years have taught me anything its that you can't prepare enough, or at all in most cases. Either way my gears were turning on this little phrase that packs on so much meaning.
I am a student midwife and doula serving families in the North Country, and living life with five littles.