About this Episode
On this episode of the Brainy Moms podcast, Dr. Amy and Teri welcome back marriage and family therapist and trauma expert Clint Davis for the third time. He’s appeared on two previous seasons of the podcast to discuss things like pornography and the dangers of social media for kids. Today, he joined us to discuss the topic of talking to your kids about sex and shares some wonderful insights from his new book, “Building Better Bridges: A Guide to Having Difficult Conversations that Can Save Our Children.”
About Clint Davis
Clint Davis, MS, LPC is an Army Veteran with a bachelor’s in psychology from Louisiana Tech University and a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is an ordained minister and Licensed Professional Counselor trained in EMDR for trauma, Restoration Therapy for couples and families, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional (CCTP), and is a certified sex addiction therapist (CSAT). He’s also the host of his own podcast, Asking Why with Clint Davis. He has a new book called, “Building Better Bridges; A Guide to Having Difficult Conversations that Can Save Our Children.”
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DR. AMY: Hi, smart moms and dads. Welcome to another episode of the Brainy Moms podcast brought to you today by LearningRx brain training centers. I’m your host, Dr. Amy Moore. I am joined by my cohost, Teri Miller, and we are coming to you today from Colorado Springs, Colorado. And joining us from Louisiana is our returning guest, Clint Davis. Clint is an army veteran, ordained minister, and licensed counselor trained in trauma and addiction. Clint runs an integrative wellness practice where he integrates psychology and faith to heal from the wounds of the past. We talked to Clint twice already in our last two seasons about the dangers of social media for kids. We’ve talked about pornography. We’ve talked about lots of really scary topics and conversations. And today we’re talking about sex. Clint’s gonna share insights from his brand-new book, “Building Better Bridges; A Guide to Having Difficult Conversations that Can Save Our Children.” And yes, talking about sex with our children is one of those difficult conversations. Welcome back, Clint.
CLINT: Glad to be here. Glad to be here. Talk about some difficult things.
TERI: Yeah. So yeah, as I said, right before we started recording, I said, “Yeah, Clint, I have an ulterior motive.” I always have, um, sort of things going on personally where I’m like, oh yeah, this is so great. We need to interview Clint because I need some help with this thing with my kids. So yeah, we’re going to dig into this talking about sex and how to talk to your kids about sex. But Clint, before we get into that, tell us why you wrote this book that’s leading, that’s talking about this topic. What led you to segue into this new area?
CLINT: Yeah. I mean, it’s kind of y’all’s fault, honestly. And Amy’s fault the most. You know, yeah, we got on the podcast with you guys and I had been doing these talks all over the place, you know, I’d written a couple of talks for churches and for schools. You know, looking at this idea of childhood sexual neglect and how we’re neglecting our children by not having difficult conversations. I know personally, that was my growing up years. And so like everybody I had a personal agenda. And I thought I was going to be like an expert on like marriage conferences and all these things and then all of a sudden like, all these sex addicts, all these people, and then just regular people are telling me, “Oh man, yeah, my parents never talked to me about sex or masturbation or pornography.” And then I have all these teen clients and young adult clients who are in the midst of addictions and they’re like, “Yeah, no one’s talking to us about this.” And especially not in the church, but not even in, you know, the culture. And if it is in the culture, then it’s “do whatever you want to, and everything’s free game and you should feel no shame about anything.” And so it’s like, “Man!” And so what I started realizing is that there’s a whole missing piece of literature in trauma therapy and recovery and addiction to talk about how to talk to our kids about just the basic fundamental things of sexuality. And so I started doing that and man, I was really nervous the first four years of kind of having these conversations, but every talk I would get emails after emails or professional after professional or pastor after pastor call me in a crisis, call me with a thing that they’re like, “Oh my gosh, this is me” or “This just happened to my kid. What do I do?” And I came on you guys, this podcast, whatever that was two years ago, and we talked about it and then Dr. Amy, you know, connected me with the TEDx people. And so did the TED talk on the topic and that went really great. You know, got some views and so then the TED people were talking to me and they’re like, “You need to, you know, write something on this. This is really good.” And several of my professional friends were like, “Hey, this is, there’s no journals on this. Like you need to get something in writing so that this is your thing.” And I was like, that’s weird. You know, like. Out of all the stuff. And so I started Googling and I’m like, “Okay, there’s stuff on consent for kids. There’s stuff on good pictures, bad pictures, but there’s no like kind of holistic thing that takes us from zero to 18.”
CLINT: And so I started, I was like, “All right, you know, 50-page book and put it out as an ebook.” And then I started writing and it was just like, you know, I’m kind of embarrassed to say, but it took me about eight weeks to write the book, which was very quick. And then it took about a year, about a year to edit it and move the chapters and add a robust kind of clinical perspective. You know, keep my voice and keep it conversational. And the goal of the book was like, the way I wrote the book was in the way that I want people to understand the content. So I wrote it in a way to build a bridge between me and the reader that I knew was going to be triggered and dysregulated and upset and surprised and like, “Oh my gosh,” like shameful. And, and so I tried to write it in a way where every chapter, there’s discussion, reflection, so you have that time to kind of regulate and ask some questions and then move into the next session, section. And yeah, it came out two weeks ago now and, or a week, let’s see, yeah, a week and a half ago Monday before last, and it’s going really well. It’s a new release, top new release in four sections on Amazon right now, psychology, toddlers and parenting, healthy sexuality, and spirituality or something. So, I’m happy with it and I’ll be even more happy when people read it and use the information.
DR. AMY: It actually sounds like you’re talking to, like, I could hear your voice as I read it. It was super conversational, sounded like you, you know, with your humor and kind of your stream of consciousness that you add, right? Like you’ll be talking about a topic and, you know, kind of narrating your own thoughts while you’re, you know, talking. Yeah, it was fun to read.
CLINT: Yeah, I had a friend text me last night. He does jujitsu with me as a fireman and ex special forces guy. And he’s real rough and tumble, you know, and he texted me last night. He’s like, “Man, I’m about halfway through your book.” He was like, “It literally sounds like I’m talking to you, but it’s also so sharp. And so you like, so it’s explaining everything and it’s, it didn’t lose the like clinical educational piece.” He’s like, “But I can read it.” He’s like, “Of course, I got to go back and read a couple of things. Cause I don’t know about all this neurology stuff,” but he was like, “You know, it’s, it’s empowering me to understand why I need to have them, but also it’s not shaming me or making me feel weird about how I haven’t or what I need to do.” And I was like, “That’s exactly what the tone”—and that’s what took so long.” It was, you know, you get an editor and then they change a lot to make it super sharp. And then it was, it was going, “Oh, wait, like, this is great, but I need my voice to be in there.” Because I want it to sound a certain way and so that’s what really took a long time was like making it sharp and and read well where a writer and author or professional would read it and go, “Oh, this is quality writing” while at the same time keeping that kind of tone. So I hope I hope we nailed it. But you know, nothing’s perfect. We did the best we could.
TERI: Well, the way you’re describing it, I’m wondering, the way you talk about their sections and then you can, you know, have questions, discussion. I’m wondering if it would be a great book for, I’m thinking back in the day when I was a young mom and I was in like women’s ministries, women’s Bible studies.
DR. AMY: Book clubs.
TERI: Yeah. Book clubs. Like a mops group, like a MOPs small group, mothers of preschoolers. And then it sounds like it’d be a great thing for a group of women, you know, five or six friends get together.
DR. AMY: Or dads.
TERI: Exactly. Or dads. But you know, sorry, brainy moms, you know, whatever.
CLINT: Well, there aren’t too many book clubs to read through a parenting book, unfortunately.
I mean, they should, but you know, that’s just the reality that we live in. Yeah.
DR. AMY: They’d rather read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which is also about sex. So speaking of sex, let’s talk to us about how we should talk to our kids about sex.
CLINT: Well, the first thing you need to understand is that there’s a difference between, and this is a big point of the book, is there’s a difference between eroticism and sexuality, right, sexual development, normal sexual things. And if we don’t have a healthy, robust view of our own sexual health and our own eroticism and understand where that comes from, then we’re going to get really triggered and dysregulated when we talk to our kids. Because we’re gonna be afraid that we’re overdoing it and oversexualizing them and moving them too quickly, which we should not do. And that’s the other side of the culture, right, is bringing kids into sexual content, erotic content, right? You know, erotically dressed people, erotically, erotic dances, erotic videos, erotic movies. That is something we do not want kids to be exposed to and to be seen. What we’re talking about is just sexual health, which is what every single one of them is going to be experiencing. So if we, you know, in the book I talk about, I have two boys and so we have the penis rules. So it starts with explaining to your child why they get an erection and what that’s called, right? You build as they grow from three to four to five to six. So by the time you get to, let’s say, how do you talk to your kid about sex? Well, they’re probably 10 or 11. Right? If we, okay, so if we, if they haven’t been exposed to anything or there hasn’t had, you know, something to happen, because here’s the thing, sometimes life doesn’t give us the choice to wait until there’s an age-appropriate thing. Maybe they see something online. So we’ll talk about those two options. We’ll start with the ideal. The ideal is they don’t see porn. They’re not exposed to anything. You don’t expose them to erotic content, their friends don’t expose them to that, and you get to do it on your terms. Which is, in these days, very rare, but it can happen if you do what I’m asking you in the book, for the most part. So, I would say that the sexual conversation, the how are babies made, how do penis and vaginas work, how has God, in my opinion, God wired us to be, right? So if you don’t believe in God or you have a different religion, you have to figure out, um, what your belief is.
TERI/DR. AMY: Oh no! Technical glitch. We lost you. Uh, he’ll be back. Um, yeah. I was getting curious about what he was going to say. If you don’t believe in God, you have to come up with, and I know! Yeah, it’s a cliffhanger! It’s a Clint hanger! We’re like, you left us with a cliffhanger! She says, it’s a Clint hanger! CLINT: I hit the wrong button. Um, so let’s go back because you want to cut it.
CLINT: So if you don’t believe in God, you know, you’re going to have to explain morally your perspective on sexuality. So my job in the book is not to tell you what morally should think about sex. It’s that you have to teach your kids what your morality around those things are. So let’s say that up front, but from my perspective, right there.
DR. AMY: So that means as parents, you need to decide what your family values are about sex before you can even open your mouths to your children.
CLIENT: Absolutely. And I think that’s it. Yeah, I think that’s a huge problem in our culture is that we haven’t done any work around our own sexuality, right? If we go, the book is kind of two parts. It’s, it’s recovery and prevention. It’s how do I recover from my own sexual trauma, my own, you know, background so that I can have these conversations with my kids. Because if we live in a country that 95 percent of parents have been neglected, and let’s say, you know, 10 percent of them have done any work around that, then that’s why this thing is so difficult for us to do. And unfortunately, because of phones and devices and the billboards in the world around us, we don’t have the choice anymore. You know, we can’t delay those conversations. They’re going to be had by kids at school, the internet, social media. And so if we don’t teach them, they’re going to learn from other people and other people’s morality and other people’s belief systems about those things. And they’re going to learn it way earlier than you want them to, where it’s very confusing and very overwhelming. So I believe that in any conversation, what I’m seeing and what the research is showing is that we should be having conversations with our kids three to six months before they’re moving into that developmental stage. So if it is that, you know, you need to have a sex conversation, how are babies made, right? How does this happen? Then it needs to be somewhere right before puberty, right? Before let’s say a boy is having nocturnal emissions or before a girl is having her first period. Because they need to understand what’s happening to their body and why that’s purpose in your opinion as a parent.
What is, what is this thing for? Why is my penis doing this? Why is my vagina doing this? Well, you’re starting to become a teenager and biologically your body is moving into what’s called puberty. And these are some things that are going to happen over the next six months to a year. And these things are so that you can create babies in a loving relationship with another person.
That’s why these things are happening to your body. And that’s a very, I mean, that’s a very simple version. I can go into more detail if you’d like me to, but that, that’s the beginning of the conversation. And then as they go, “Okay, well, that’s weird. But man, Mom and Dad have talked to me about this for nine years so far, it’s not unusual for my parents to talk about things that are about my body and about my development.” Right? The problem comes in when we didn’t talk to them about their body. We didn’t use proper private-part terms. We haven’t talked about any of these things ever. And then at 13 or 14, we’re like, “Okay, let’s talk about how you’re, how to have sex.” And the kid’s like, “Yeah, this is weird. This is not what we do. What’s going on? Why is this all of a sudden important? Right? Then all these, all this shame and fear and anxiety starts coming into the conversation. So we have to remember that there’s all this literature and all these movies and all these things that, that talk about how awkward the sex talk is with your parents. But that’s not because it’s gone well. It’s because it’s not gone the way it needs to go. That makes sense?
DR. AMY: So I’m almost embarrassed to say this. I have never made the connection between talking to pre-adolescence or early adolescence about their periods and nocturnal emissions with a future-oriented perspective. Right? Like I’ve thought about it as, “This is the stage of your life where this happens. So it’s going to happen to you because that’s how old you are.” As opposed to, “It’s happening to you because it’s preparing your body for having babies later.
CLIENT: And this amazing thing. Yeah, right. Like, and that’s the other lens. It’s not weird. It’s not gross. It’s not bad. It’s so amazing that this is happening to you. And we’ve got to be very careful and protective of this amazing thing.
TERI: It was for us. For me, I felt like it was easier with my older kids because I was having babies. Cause I mean, I mean, seven kids by birth. I mean, the older ones, the first time we talked about it, it was when my fourth was born and there had been a big gap. They were old enough that they were like, “What is going on?” You know, what’s like, there was one point where one of my kids said something like, is the baby in there and kind of poked my body. Like the side of my hip and I’m like, “Yeah, that’s not wide too. But no, the baby doesn’t grow there for a different reason, grow there. Let’s talk about where the baby does grow.” But now with my kids at the younger end, it’s this awkward thing. It’s just like you’re talking about. It’s like it comes out of nowhere. All of a sudden, we’re talking about these things like you might have your period, you know, these things are coming up. And so what if you haven’t done any of that preparation? What if it hasn’t sort of come naturally? And then all of a sudden, your kiddos, 11, 12, 13, yikes, what do we do? Because honestly, I think most of our listeners, we’re in that book.
CLINT: That’s the case. And that’s what the book is about too. It’s being gentle with us as parents and saying, “Hey, you don’t know this because no one taught you.” You know, no one had these conversations with you, so you’re not a bad parent. You’re not a bad mom. You’re not a bad dad. Like, get that shame off. That’s the point. It’s what do we do. Same thing with smartphones. You know, people might hear our podcast and go, “Oh my gosh, you know, like I totally, you know, messed this up!” Well, what you do is you go to your kid and you say, “Hey, listen, I’m learning with you. This is the first time I’ve been a mommy or a daddy, and I’ve learned some new things, and, you know, it would have been nice, (right, not should, but it would have been nice) had I known this earlier.” I say that because should is a negative, shameful language. It puts you in right or wrong, black or white, right? I say, “Don’t should your pants.” You know, “Don’t should all over yourself.” You know, “It would be nice if I would have known this and somebody taught me, but I didn’t know. And so I want to have some conversations with you slowly that might feel a little weird, but that’ll set the pace for the rest of our time together as your mom and your dad, where you can come to us and we can have these difficult conversations. And it’s gonna be a little awkward at first, but I just want you to trust me and know that I love you and I’m doing this for your safety and that you can come to me because I want to be that person that can provide that for you.” So I think an apology and just being authentic and being real with your kids is so powerful because they love you so much and they want to attach to you and attune to you and they want you to be their safe person so badly and they have for however long that you haven’t been. And so, you know, if you provide that safety, like you can repair that bridge and put heavy things on it very quickly.
DR. AMY: All right. So then what did the actual sex conversation sound like?
TERI: Can we, can we make it practical? Can I be real upfront?
CLINT: Yeah, let’s, let’s do it.
TERI: So I need help with this. So if you have listened to any of our previous interviews with Clint, you may recall, I think from our second interview, our first interview with Clint, we really talked about safety with smartphones, online devices, that kind of thing. And I was like, great. This is awesome. I’m learning. Unfortunately, the tragedy happened in my life and my youngest daughter got ahold of a phone. She has a lot of trauma response, trauma in her life. She joined our family when she was four. There’s a lot of background stuff that she’s, we’re helping her with. But she got ahold of a phone and was looking at porn. We found out for several nights in a row had been hiding the phone under her pillow. That was heartbreaking, devastating. We called Clint. I called Clint right away. I was like, “I know somebody who can help us.” You gave us good ideas how to talk her through it. You encouraged me that I did the right thing by loving on her when we found out that night instead of punishing her and just holding her as she cried. And so we went through that. Go back and listen to those episodes. If you want to, it’s good segue into what’s happening here. And so now she’s 11. I’ve talked with her a little bit about that. She’s going to be, you’re going to be starting your period, but I need to have that clear conversation with her about what is sex, what is coming next for her. How do I correlate that with what she saw?
TERI: Hard time.
CLINT: Yeah, I think, you know, you just talked to her about how that was the importance of trying to protect her from seeing those things because those things are not real. Those things are fake. Those things are created for adults to pretend and to do things that. You know, at 11, you can kind of use that language still to pretend to do things that aren’t real to entertain people, to trick people into thinking that’s what this thing is, that people watch those videos of you. People get paid to watch those videos. And so that’s about making money, just like any other thing. And you can use this analogy for, you know, anything that people do for entertainment. So that’s, that’s there. And then you, you go into what sex is really made for. And I guess you would, you would have to use your, you know, your family values, but it’s as simple as saying like, “This is the anatomy. These are what these things are for.” And, and you can get books. There are like, “It’s Not the Stork.” There’s several different books that show pictures, cartoon pictures of the body and how sex looks and how sex works and where the semen goes and how the baby’s made in the over, you know, the ovaries, you know, all these things, the egg, you know, all of the biological mechanisms for that and keep it pretty clinical and scientific. But then with your, with your morality and your emotions, you go, you know, you have to decide what sex is for. You know, is it just for pleasure? Is it for procreation? Is it a little bit for both? And keep it at 11, you know, pretty clinical, pretty light. You know, give them kind of a “we’ll talk about that more as you get older and as you have questions.” And then ask them, “Do you have any questions?” And they may say, “No, that was good. That’s as much as I need.” Right. Keep it simple and then check back in the next couple of weeks, you know, “Hey,” over dinner, “have you been thinking about anything? Have you thought through anything? Have you explored anything?” You know, for some parents, they may have to ask, “Have you googled anything? You know, because I want to be that source of information for you. And I want you to be able to ask me anything you want about it. And I’m going to give you the truth. And if you need me to get an encyclopedia or get a book, we will find that. We’ll go to the library. We’ll find that information, but please don’t look that up on your own. Please don’t search for that with peers. They don’t know. They don’t have, you know, they don’t understand our values. And so I really, really want you to trust me and give me the chance to teach you over time instead of, you know, going and looking online where you may find things that aren’t true and aren’t real. And you’re not old enough to know the difference.” And so that’s, that’s kind of the basic 11- to 12-year-old conversation. I think then they keep coming back and then you can have further conversations. There was a client this morning. Actually, she came in, she’s a social worker. She’s in her seventies, retired now. And she was asking me, “When do you have the conversation about like—” She’s obviously super, you know, pro feminism and women, and she was like, “How do you teach a young man how to pleasure a woman? Like, when do you teach that?” And I said, “You know, in most, most conversations, that would sound crazy, right?” Like to say that, because you’re like, oh God, you don’t need to be talking to your kids about that kind of stuff. That’s so weird. But here’s the deal. If the stats show that 80 percent of kids are having sex by 16, like it’s kind of like contraception and condoms and all these things. I think as they grow, we want to protect them so that we can have those conversations later appropriately. But unfortunately, if you find out that your kids, your son or daughter’s having sex, then it speeds up the conversation. You have to talk about consent and safety and what hurts and what doesn’t and teach them to be sensitive and safe with the opposite sex. Because I think, I didn’t put this in the book. I don’t think I need to go back. Because there was one time when I was going to put this edit in after we were completely done. But man, I was watching a movie the other day and, and it said, the guy got arrested. It was like, I can’t remember what it was. I think it was like “The Godfather” or something. And the guy like grabbed me and he said, “Ah, you know, you popped your cherry!” was the comment that the guy made because he got arrested. And in the book, I was going to mention the hymen and there’s this kind of like, I think all, everybody that’s listened will have heard that phrase. And we’re so desensitized that that phrase should be heart-wrenching, you know, just, it should just punch you in the gut. But in our culture over the last 20 years, 30 years, that is just kind of this like, “Oh, you had sex for the first time. And so your hymen ruptured and you bled everywhere.” And like, that’s the biology that’s happening, which means some young girl had sex for the first time. And that’s what happened. And that’s just heartbreaking for me that no one would have told her that that’s going to happen or to the boy that was going to be having sex with her and the shame and the fear and the things that come out of that, like, you know, it just … That’s why I know this is hard conversations for people, but that’s why I want to have them and wrote the book is because I mean the amount of lifelong trauma that that can call someone that we can, we can stop from just a simple conversation is so important.
TERI” Right. Just being knowledgeable, just information. Can I ask real quick for some specifics, you mentioned one book, “It’s Not the Stork.” Are there any other books that you would recommend? I’m going to ask for two recommendations. First of all, for that, you know, 10 to 12 range where it’s that, that preteen and young teen. So it’s, it’s stepping into what their body, what’s going to be happening with their bodies. And then what is sex? What would you recommend?
CLINT: Yeah. At the back of the book, like I put an entire like resource list together of all the books that I would recommend for everybody. And I’m also creating a Patreon page where I’m going to go over some of those things together. Let me look in the back, what I have, what I put in here. “Let’s Talk About Body Boundaries, Consent & Respect” by Jayneen Sanders is great.
“It’s Not the Stork,” was one I mentioned. “Who Has What” (Robie H. Harris). “What’s in There? All About Before You Were Born.” “What Makes a Baby.” “An Exceptional Children’s Guide to Touch.” “Amazing You!: Getting Smart About Private Parts.” So those are some of the ones I listed in the book, but I can email you so you can put them in the footnotes or whatever some of the other options.
TERI: Yeah, maybe, maybe like a favorite, a top, what would you recommend? What would be your top?
CLINT: Yeah, the problem is, is that there … with every one of them I’ve read, like they’re all on my bookshelf over here. There’s things that would really trigger some people and things that wouldn’t and things that would be very much like, “Oh, that’s not in our family values. And that’s not.” So you just have to get, I would say you have to get two or three. “It’s Not the Storks” a good one. It’s picture detailed and all those kind of things. But again, there’s some things in there that morally are confusing or can be from my worldview that you just have to go, Well, I’m going to skip that part or I’m going to change that part around and I’m going to read that differently. There’s a lot of really good, good books now on period parties. You know, having a gathering with a few girls and teaching them about like, you know, what a tampon is, what a pad is, what panties are, what they can have so that they can feel super empowered and safe. That’s a thing that’s, that’s going on a lot. That’s super helpful. I kind of make the joke, it’s, it’s somewhat crass, but it’s like, you know, unfortunately for boys, you can’t, you don’t talk about a masturbation party. Like, you know, it’s like this weird transition of like menstruation is this very, you know, sacred right for girls and again, girls masturbate too and struggle with those things as well. But I think because there’s so much shame with men around that topic and around porn and the link to all of that, that, you know, we’re just kind of leaving them to their own devices, literally, and it’s causing so many issues. So. I want to find a robust way for men to just in general, talk to boys about that and girls, but especially men, because, you know. A little boy has a nocturnal omission or wet dream in the middle of the night, That’s kind of their first, if they’ve not been exposed to anything or not had any trauma, that’s kind of their first like, “Oh my gosh, my body’s changing. I’m 11 or 12. What is happening?” And because nobody prepares them, what happens is that that felt good. Right? They woke up feeling good about it. Now they got stuff all over them. They got to clean up. They got to keep it secret. They got to feel shame. And then the next night or the next week they go, “Ooh, what was that again? What made that happen? I’m going to, I’m going to try that out.” And then all of a sudden a habit starts to form completely. Disconnected from discipleship or parenting or teaching or education. And, you know, now you put a smartphone in their hand or a magazine or, you know, whatever. And now we’re linking things that should not be linked.
DR. AMY: So, let’s talk about, um, when we’re having the conversation with our teens, particularly around the ones, like, let’s say you haven’t established a family value that you’re going to save yourself for marriage or abstinences, you know, what, what our values are. Let’s say that, you know, we just make the assumption that our teens are going to be having sex. Talk a little bit about consent and showing respect. You know, I’m a Southerner, so, you know, I do have very traditional gender role ideas and I have three sons who, you know, our value is that you respect the girl, you, no matter what, that is the lens through which you make decisions with your girlfriend or someone you’re dating, you respect the girl. Well, there’s more to it than that. So let’s hear from you, Clint.
CLINT: I would, I would say we need to teach them first and foremost to respect themselves. And to really understand the consequences for themselves. So I had a doctor on my podcast a while back, and we were talking about the science behind men and women and sexuality. And he was explaining that when a male has sex, like what the neuroscience is and the biology, when a male has sex quickly with a female, that they don’t release vasopressin, which lowers their testosterone. And so when they have sex with a female quickly and they don’t get that release, they immediately feel shame, and they feel like, this person I don’t have a connection with, I don’t have a, I’m not able to bond with, and so they move on to the next thing, the next person. Where a female, because they have estrogen, when they have sex quickly, they’re automatically bonded. And so, you know, that does take rocket science to look at our culture and realize, like, “Oh, yeah, guys who get a girl quickly and they have sex really quickly, they think they want that, but then it ruins the relationship, because scientifically what they’re thinking is, this person is easy to get. She will cheat on me with other people, and I want her to be safe for my babies and for future things, and to stay alive in society. I don’t want my woman being all over the place.” Where a female, the estrogen, the biology goes, “I want to collect this guy, he needs to have my babies, he needs to keep me safe, he needs to protect me, he needs to hunt and gather.” Right? And this is obviously a long history of science. So that’s, that’s the biology behind it. And so I think teaching boys and girls, like, it’s not just if you’re a Christian or if you have values to wait, but it’s like, you’re wired to bond with people when you have sex one way or the other, and the longer term committed relationship you’re in before you bond with that person, the more likely is you’re going to stay with that person, stay safe with that person and be able to create a family with that person. When you have your first baby and a man holds their baby for the first time, it reduces their testosterone by like 67%. And so it’s like, you want to like, testosterone is a major issue. And there’s a lot of secular science behind like, you know, the problem with testosterone in our culture. But it’s like you as a male, you’re so driven by testosterone that the reduction helps you to stay committed and stay in the relationship because you’re not out fighting or partying or trying to build, you know, careers, you’re not beating people up. You’re not trying to dominate everything with all this testosterone. And so if you look at our culture and you look at violence and aggression and who does the most violence, it’s 18 -to 25-year-old males in our, in our world. And so it’s like, the science shows it’s better for those people to be in relationships and be committed and have families and reduce their testosterone so they’re not out, you know, waging war and tribalism and all the things that are doing. I know we’re talking about big, you know, kind of meta things, but I don’t think those, I think we have some pretty sharp 16-year-olds who, you know, maybe you don’t tell them all that, but you give them more than just, “Don’t have sex.” You know, you give them, you give them the science behind it and you go, “Hey, listen, think about it this way. You stay committed to someone and you learn to have safety and security in relationship because when you get married at 22 or 25, you’re going to be with that person, hopefully for 40 to 45 years, if you want to have 45 years of really great sex, don’t ruin it for four years, you know, trying out all these other things and having all this shame and all these, all these experiences that confuse you and are good and bad.” Now I’ll say there’s a whole worldview that would say like you wouldn’t drive a car without test driving it. But the science just doesn’t hold well with that.
TERI: Cause if you’re bonded, if there’s a connection, then the connection is going to be there anyway.
CLINT: You know, a hundred percent. And I would, I would argue people would say the pushback, I can already hear it and have heard it is, “Well, no, you can have casual sex and it’s not that traumatic and it’s not that big of a deal. People do it all the time.” And what I would say is if you look at the research of who these people are, they’re already so disassociated and traumatized and exposed to porn and neglected by their parents who are divorced and they don’t have a father figure in their life. Like that’s the average human being. And I think in the last chapter, I kind of try to lay all the research out to show like, what’s the average person in America actually going through? Because if we don’t, if we don’t look at that, then everything is just a hypothetical. Right? Everything is just like, “Well, I know this person who watched porn and they say it’s fine.” And it’s like, “Well, that maybe, but let’s look at what the research actually says about how it’s affecting the population. Oh, sure. You had casual sex and it’s fine, you know, but let’s look at what is happening to the majority of people when they do this and how it’s affecting our society.” So I think as parents, the goal of some of this book is to give you a robust understanding of why, so you can talk to your kid in a good way, where you’re giving them the science, you’re giving them the history, you’re giving them the long-term lens that, you know, they don’t have a prefrontal, they can’t think past next week. So we have to keep, you know, telling them about the lifelong positive, you know, outcomes of abstaining from having sex with a bunch of people.
DR. AMY: All right. So let’s say we don’t have those conversations. We didn’t have those conversations or they fall flat and your teens decide to have sex anyway. Consent.
CLINT: So consent. Yeah. Sorry. I got on the tangent. So consent. Right. So when we’re talking to them, I think first, we need to start consent from babies, right? Just teaching them like, “Hey, can Daddy pick you up right now? Can Mommy hug you?” And then as they’re toddlers, you know, we have a really big problem in the South, especially, right, Dr. Amy, where we go, “Your grandma’s here! Go give her a kiss.” And if the kid’s like, “No,” they’re like, “Don’t be shy, go give her a kiss.” And Grandma’s breath might stink or Grandpa’s breath might stink or, or God forbid, Grandpa’s been inappropriate, or been mean to them, or been cruel, or been a disciplinarian inappropriately, and now you’re saying, “No, it doesn’t matter how you feel in your body. It doesn’t matter if in your gut you feel a little strange. It doesn’t matter if you’re picking up on cues. You go get hugged and you sit on their lap and you give them attention.” Cause … it doesn’t matter what you think. It matters that they feel okay and that they feel loved and that they feel pleased and that they feel like the parent. And that’s a huge, I could do a whole podcast on that, you know, that child trauma of feeling responsible for the adult. You know, a grandparent picks a kid up or a parent and they hold your kid. And they’re like kind of pulling them away. And they’re like, you know, “Don’t be shy. Give me, you know—” and then they’re offended that the 3-year-old or 5-year-old or even 7-year-old isn’t giving them the attention they want. Consent starts there. Like a very basic thing. So you do that so that by the time you get to the sexual conversation, you know, they know “It’s important for me to ask permission to touch people. It’s important for me to ask permission and say, ‘Hey, what do you want? What do you like? What feels good to you? Can we have this discussion before making these decisions?’” And so, I mean, as you guys see in therapy, I’m sure there’s a lot of us, and I’ve had to learn this, right? And, you know, just to be clear, I’ve screwed all of this up, you know, as a person, and as a therapist, and a husband, and parent, I haven’t done any of this right, a hundred percent. So we’re all in this together in this screw up. But, you know, I’ve been married 14 years. Well, when you’re loving your wife and you’re passionate, you walk up behind her at the sink, you grab on her, you touch on her, you try to do that, even if you’re being very, very sensitive, as I feel like I am as a male on a spectrum. I’m pretty sensitive and pretty dating and I’m a two on the enneagram, but even that can be non-consensual. Even just walking up and slapping somebody on the butt or grabbing, I’m not saying all of that play is wrong. I’m saying, do you know, as a husband or wife, if they like that or not?
CLINT: That’s the point. If they’ve said, “I love when you play with me like that, I mean, I don’t always like it, but like, it’s okay, it feels safe.” Then you continue. And if they say, “Hey, not right now,” you don’t get offended and, you know, act hurt. So I think modeling it as parents is very, very important to teach teens. Like if they’ve seen you be consensual in your relationships. If you, if you guys, a husband walk up and say, “Hey, babe, can I, can I, you know, put my arms around you? Can I touch you? Can I give you a hug right now? You know, can I cuddle with you? They hear that language. Can I give you a kiss?” You know, either way, male or female, because both people, some people, there are men who don’t want to touch or kiss or do anything. And women who do, you know, vice versa, that’s a pattern. But I think specifically teaching boys, especially because they’re testosterone-driven, that they need to be a hundred percent sure that the girl that they’re with wants to do and is asking for what it is that they’re wanting to do. And if not, it’s not consensual. So teaching them that if the girl is not saying, please have sex with me, that anything outside of that is a risk to consent all the way to is rape or abuse or sexual assault. And that brings the bar way up. But for me, there, I work with so many females and so many college students and so many women who I’ve said, “Well, it’s my fault. I should have said no, or I should have gotten up and left, or I should have not drank, or I should have not flirted.” And I have to say, “No, that’s absolutely wrong. You should have never been in that position. He should have been asking you, ‘Are you sure? Are you a hundred percent? Do you want to have sex? Do you want to do this thing?’ And then as you go, he should have said, ‘Do you like this? Is this okay? And then afterwards he should have said, do you feel safe? Are you okay? Is there anything we need to talk about?’” And so for me with teens, I say all the time, like if you don’t want to talk about sex before, during and after, and you’re not that mature, you shouldn’t be having it in the first place. And so for me, it’s like, how many teens actually are, you know, it’s like, “uh,” and then if you, if you put that on us as adults in our own marriages, you know, it’s like, do we have that relationship with our spouses where we go, “Hey, what do you want to do tonight? Hey, do you like this? Is this okay? Hey, how was that for you?” And if you guys are listening, I don’t mean like, “How was that?” You know, like, I mean like, you know, a genuine, like, “Did you feel safe in that? Was there anything that was painful? Was there anything that was, you know, difficult?” So, that answer it?
DR. AMY: Yeah. All right. So you mentioned it. We were having a conversation before we started recording about how when girls send nude photos, unsolicited nude photos to boys, that that’s not consensual. Talk about that.
CLINT: Yeah. Absolutely. So when I did these talks, even six years ago, you know, that would be kind of the thing is you, you kind of get on the men about, you know, sending nude pictures and sending, you know, what we, penis pics, I won’t call it what people call it, but you know, they send these pictures because boys are very visual men are very visual for the most part. If most women, on a large spectrum, send their husband or a girl sends a boy a nude picture or lingerie picture or whatever, there’s going to be a biological response. There’s going to be a, you know, testosterone kicks in, they get aroused, and they want to either have sex with their spouse or go meet them somewhere, kiss them, touch them, or themselves one way or the other. But if we’re honest, right, if men send a nude picture to their, their spouse or God forbid lingerie picture to their spouse, it doesn’t have that same biological response. Women aren’t like, “Oh, please come home. You sent me a nude picture.” That’s just the difference in biology in men and women. But what we’re seeing, because of the increase in pornography use by females and teenagers, especially, is that now because of airdrop and text messages and Snapchat, there’s a huge number of teenagers who are sending nude pictures back and forth without permission. You know, they’re not like, “Hey, do you want a picture of me?” They just Snapchat him a picture because they know it’s going to delete and they send it to their phone. Well, that’s non-consensual. Now, you know, unless the boy’s asking for that picture, now he has, he’s seen something in you that’s private that he didn’t ask for permission for. And what he does with that is he’s responsible for, obviously, if they screenshot it, or share it, or do any of those kind of things. But, you know, the, the stimulating of that, or the sending of it, either way, male to female, or female to male, or male to male, or female to female, is, is non-consensual. You, you don’t have the right to do that. I would even say, the other thing I talk about in the book is, another great way to teach consent to teenagers is about social media. That just because a person posted something, it didn’t give you consent to share it. Now that’s a big topic because we all share things all the time, right? I do posts on Clint Davis counseling pages and people share them and you know, that’s great. I, as a professional, have given consent to do that because I ask people to share those pictures. But sometimes people might post a picture of their family or a vacation. You do not have a right to screenshot and save that picture and put it on your phone, right? But that’s that happens all the time that some boy or some girl will see something they think is cute or attractive or something or they want to make fun of or something they want to talk about and they’ll screenshot and save that picture and now they own it. It’s on their device. They have that family photo that they did not get consent to get and so I think it’s an easy way to go, “Hey, listen, just because you have the right to do something doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.”
DR. AMY: I love that language.
TERI: Yeah, that’s a good phrase.
DR. AMY: So how do we talk to girls? How do we talk to our daughters about this issue?
CLINT: Oh, you are gonna have to help me out because I’ll stick my foot all in it as a male talking about women and what they should and shouldn’t do, but I’ll try. Yeah, I think. I mean, rightly so, you know, we grew up in the ‘80s and ‘90s where boys could have their shirts off, but girls couldn’t wear spaghetti straps to school, right? And so we have to go, well, why is that? What about that is wrong? What about this? There’s got to be a long dialogue about body safety and consent and the biology of males versus females. And I think we’re just really confused right now on all of that, on what’s empowering and what’s not. You know, you can have songs like WAP be the number one, you know, song in America and be played on the VMAs. And it’s empowering to talk about sexuality and sex, like eroticism in such an extreme graphic way. And so I think it starts with us teaching the kids to honor themselves, love themselves, value themselves, and not to use their bodies as a way of fishing or catching attention from other people. That they can love their bodies, and they can respect their bodies, and they can, it’s just like fitness. You want to be in shape because you feel good about yourself, but you don’t want to be so fit that you’re trying to use that fitness to, you know, because guess what? That’s going to change. You can’t maintain that level of fitness or that level of shape or that level of youth forever. So if you’re only starting out putting your worth and value into the, you know, the intensity or the level of, you know, looks that you have right now or your body shape right now, then that’s going to be a problem long term. And so I think we have to teach them to value themselves. I know with my kids, as they get older, one of the things I really want to work with, with my boys is if someone is dressed in what I would think is inappropriate, or provocative, you know, I’m going to teach them to like, “Hey guys. You know, I see you looking, she is very beautiful and you can notice that a woman’s beautiful, but we’re not going to stare and we’re going to respect her, even if she’s not respecting herself. So we’re going to, you know, look away and not ogle and not stare because that’s somebody’s mom, that’s somebody’s sister. And that’s, in my opinion, a child of God that we need to learn how to respect and buddies, as we’ve talked about with online stuff and pictures. And as we’ve talked about habits, your brain at 13 and 15, it’s, it’s forming habits. And the more you take that glance and the longer you look, the more dopamine you’re getting to your brain. And the more, the more you’re going to get in habits of looking and glancing. And it’s not a good habit to get into. You can notice that someone’s pretty just like you notice a painting, but we don’t want to obsess. And the more practiced we are at being healthy, right, the more practiced we’re going to be long term. And, and guess what? That’s going to work out really good when you find somebody you love and you’re in a relationship with. And you’re able to focus on her and give her all the attention without being distracted by all the things in the world that are going to draw you to that. So if you want a successful long term marriage and relationship with a beautiful woman, it’s best not to, you know, practice things that you, that you’re not going to be able to do for the next 40 years.” So it’s kind of the same thing in sex. It’s, it’s helping them understand that what you do in these— it’s really insane. If you really think about it, sorry, it’s just hitting me right now. It’s like, you know, so from 15 to let’s say 23, right, you just do whatever you want to and set up all of these neuro pathways and all of these habits and all of these addictions, and then you get married, let’s say at the average, you know, 25, 26. And if you do any of that for the next 40 years, it’s bad for your marriage.
TERI: Right. But it’s supposed to be this free for all when you’re in your twenties. Like, go experiment. Yeah. And it just somehow it doesn’t work out.
CLINT: Well, we would never say that about anything else though. That’s what’s crazy. Like we would all admit that you shouldn’t drink and drug and binge and eat and Netflix your brain to death in your twenties. You should take care of your body and you should work out and you should prepare it. Business, you shouldn’t go spend all this money. You should invest and hold your money. Like any professional worth their weight would tell you in those early twenties, do the most you can to protect everything for the long game, right? Because the neurology shows it, the math shows it, like the science shows it. And yet when it comes to sexual health, it’s like you’re a prude or you’re religious or you’re hyper religious or you’re sex negative if you say any of these things. And it’s like, but the research shows it. I’m not saying the Bible says this, although it does. I’m saying that, you know, these things, the science shows that these things are better for you if you delay that gratification and that reward.
DR. AMY: Yeah. And I think, you know, we’ve been talking a lot about how to talk to teens about things like nutrition. Right? And by giving them the science of the connection between the gut and the brain, then maybe they’ll be more willing to listen then you just saying, “Hey, that junk food’s bad for you.” Right? So when you were talking about the difference between what happens when people have sex too soon, right, and how the woman is going to bond immediately to the man because she’s estrogen driven, but the opposite is happening with the man, like girls need to know that, right? Like girls, every single girl before she makes, that is part of an informed decision, right? That is absolutely part of it.
CLINT: You’re giving them, you’re giving them the opportunity to choose consent because you’re giving them all the information. You’re not saying, you know, “Do the old school, like never do it. You’re a terrible person if you do.” You’re saying, “Here’s all the information and you’re going to have to make a decision. I prefer that you don’t, I believe God wants what’s best for you, if you’re a Christian, for example, or Allah or whatever.” But like, I believe that here’s all the information you can have as a 16-year-old, right, not as a 12-year-old. That’s the other difference, is you’re being age appropriate. You’re not getting into all these deep, philosophical, scientific conversations with an 11-year-old. You’re just teaching them the mechanics. But if, if you teach them that in an appropriate way, in a safe way, then you can later have those conversations with your teenager that are gonna flow and make sense. And if you’re modeling it, let’s just be completely honest. You know, that’s probably the number one thing you could do as a parent, a dad or a mom is, is model that, live it out and show them through your relationship with your spouse or significant other that it is safe, that it is good, that it’s something worthy of having, you know, that, that you want to look, you want your kids to look to your marriage and go, “Well, I want that. You know, I don’t want, I don’t need to go online and try to find something that I want. I want that, what Mom and Dad have.” But if what you, we have is something that they’re like, “That looks unhealthy and I don’t, definitely don’t want that,” then they go off to try to find whatever, you know, whatever narrative it is that tells them that, you know, they’ll find love or happiness or peace or whatever.
DR. AMY: Yeah. Well, and even in, in divorced families, right, where you’re, you’ve got a teenage girl who might not even have a father present and so they’re looking for that bond. They’re looking for that connection being, “Okay, I will be loved if I, you know, have sex with this boy.” Right? And you’re saying neurologically and biologically, that is the exact opposite.
TERI: Yeah, that it doesn’t work.
DR. AMY: So then they’re sitting in our offices 10 years later saying, “Why didn’t they love me? I slept with this boy and this boy and this boy and this boy thinking if I slept with them, they would love me.” And the exact opposite happens because of that testosterone response.
CLINT: Yeah, and the lie is that they’re, it’s about them, right? That they’re not worthy, and they’re not valuable, and they’re not pretty enough, and they didn’t do what they wanted, and they didn’t act like a porn star, and they didn’t, you know, do these things, when the opposite is true. It has everything to do with, it’s not supposed to work that way. You know? And yeah, you know, somebody might be listening to this and they’re like, “Nope, it worked that way for me and I’m fine.” Well, great. You’re in like the 3%.
DR. AMY: Right.
CLINT: Right? And I’m not being sarcastic. I mean, I am being sarcastic.
DR. AMY: There are going to be exceptions.
CLINT: Yeah, there’s outliers, there’s exceptions on everything, but the exception doesn’t make the rule. And until we get the rule under control and the trauma that’s coming from it, then, you know, we can’t prescribe the fringe. As clinicians, as people, as humans, and until we realize that the root cause of most of these symptomatic things happening in high school and in young 20s that we would all say is atrocious and killing our culture, the root cause is the lack of bridges built between parents and children around these conversations. Like that’s the concept of the building better bridges is like you build this bridge over the course of your childhood with your child and then when you put that heavy conversation like sex or puberty or gender or, you know, or whatever on it, then it holds the frame is like, “Okay, my parents can tolerate this relationship, can tolerate this and it can tolerate disagreement.” Right? It’s not like our kids are going to go, “Okay, because you’ve been safe for me and because you’ve been great, I’m going to listen to everything you say, agree with everything you say, and not make any mistakes.” That’s the other thing, is that all that—I’m asking us to do is not going to solve the heart issue problems of people. Our kids are going to choose to not listen to us, even if we give them, you know, a whiteboard, science project, daily reminder that it’s a problem, because we don’t listen. You know, we know as professionals all the right things. And some days we just do the wrong thing because we want to. And so the bridge is about how do I create a relationship with my kid that is so safe that they can be imperfect, they can make mistakes, but I’m the person that they come to. I’m the person that they seek after when they want the right information, when what they thought was right, what they thought they could practice and do, what they thought they could, you know, act falls apart, which it will. That they’ll come back to us and they’ll see that we’re there with warmth and love and compassion and we’re not like, “Well, I told you so for 10 years.” We’re like, “Yeah, I get it. You tried. You did your best. And now you’re in pain. And now we need to repair some of these things and it’s going to be okay.”
TERI: I think repair is, I mean, it seems sad to say it, but I honestly feel like for most of our listeners, we’re in a place of repair. I know that our listeners are a lot of moms that have, you know, older kids. They’re not in the MOPs groups anymore with babies. And that’s just, it’s a really hard place. What you talked about consent, I’m kind of like, “Oh my gosh, my mind is blown thinking about how we model or don’t model consent in our homes and with movies and media.” Because I feel like what is modeled is, yeah, the husband coming in and grabbing the wife’s butt. And she’s like, “Stop. Stop that.” And he’s like, “What? You’re beautiful.” And he grabs her anyway. And then if she’s really annoyed and “Do not touch me in front of the kids,” then she’s the bad guy. Then he’s like, “Whatever, you’re so sensitive!” Right? Like you get this dynamic and that plays out, I believe in homes all over the place. That plays out in movies. We’re seeing that everywhere that a guy has the right to grab her and it can go the other way. It’s just that we often see it as guy to girl. That he has the right to kind of grab or fondle the beautiful woman and that she is a jerk, a prude, rude, if she doesn’t give into it and enjoy it.
CLINT: Oh yeah. Enjoy it is the, is the hard part, right? Like so you have this other swing, and maybe I’ll step on some toes with this, but I think, I think men, myself included, because of being exposed to porn and sex and culture and men and women, our instinct, and because we’re driven by testosterone, our instinct is to do those types of things. Those things can be very dominating and abusive and they also can be a total normal healthy way to desire a wife and love your wife and cherish your wife and think she’s beautiful. Our job is to figure out when is it that and when is it the other. The alternative is true though in our culture that I believe that because of that, because of the neglect and because of the abuse and the trauma that men and women in the culture have put on women, that we do have a very disconnected, out of our bodies, “we don’t enjoy sex,” “I never orgasm,” “this is just for the husband,” “this connection piece or touch or instant, you know, instigating sexual contact is only him and only when he wants it. And I’ll do it, you know, after a couple weeks when I know that he’s stressed out and I’ve, you know, I’m like, I’m sorry, it’s been a while.” So there’s that side too that I think is they’re both playing against each other and I think we need to, in the next decade, redeem sexuality for all of us that, you know. We need to get rid of the movie idea that sex is all about eroticism and pleasure and these things. That’s a byproduct of intimacy. And so on both sides, I think there’s a again. You can switch these in spectrums. There are men and women who are on the other side. But for the large majority of my clients and the clients that my therapists see and the people that I talk to in the research says, men need to chill out and learn to be consensual with their wife, learn how to date them, learn what they like and what they don’t like, and not be, not see that as prudish or negative that they don’t think and like the same things we like. And be respectful and learn how to get back in a relationship where you build safety and consent again so that a wife, a woman, can feel safe in her body enough to enjoy it. Because if a woman never feels safe in her body, if every day she feels like, “Well, I know what’s going to happen. He’s going to touch me. I’m going to reject him. He’s going to get mad. And the cycle continues.” Then she never even gets the opportunity to find out if she wants to hug him or kiss him or touch him or not. Because she’s so checked out from her body since she was 14, right, and had her first experience sexually where she didn’t have permission and didn’t have consent that that what to him is a very gentle. “I love you. I’m being soft with you. I’m just trying to hug you. Yeah. I’m going to graze your breasts or I’m going to grab your butt, but I’m being playful and loving” to her is triggering, “I don’t have the right to say No.” And I think that’s extremely common. And I think the work of three to six months or a year of repairing that in marriages is so important. The opposite in this true where I think women have to stop and go, “I don’t care about sex or think about it ever. And I never initiate and I never check in and I never talk about it. And my husband’s very, very kind and very compassionate and sweet. And he, he waits and he’s patient, but that’s just not my thing.” It’s like, “Okay, well, you’re in a marriage, and so we need to figure out why we’re so disconnected and disassociated from those that normal biological marker.” It’s never going to be what your husband, you know, it’s never going to be what the partner, whether man and woman, you know, their drive. But we’ve got to find this middle ground because those things are extremely healthy. And I just feel like because again, because what I’m saying in the book, like all that’s a byproduct of all these things we’ve been talking about. Does that make sense? Sorry, I was kind of externalize it all.
DR. AMY: Yeah. And I, I just love how, again, you have this future-oriented view, right? You’re not just talking about, “Okay, at this stage, this is what you need to say. And here’s, you know, what’s happening.” You, you’re saying, “Hey, when you’re 11, this is what’s happening to your body and here’s why it’s happening. And by the way, if we don’t take care of this along the way, if we don’t have these conversations along the way, then we’re going to see this play out in conflict and contention in marriages.”
CLINT: Yeah. And we have so much stuff going on online. So many great people educating on marriage and educating on sex and educating on all these things. But I feel like so many people are just treating symptoms. Yeah, you know, we’re, we’re telling people what to do differently instead of why, and instead of repairing the damage that happened early on in their life. And it makes me sad. And I, you know, I’ve experienced it. We worked through these things in our marriage and therapy and, and our own traumas and, you know, and with clients and it’s just, it’s hard work. It’s a very deep personal work. But man, it’s so valuable because so much of our lives are connecting with our spouses and connecting with other humans. And when that stuff is messed up, you know, you miss out on all the good stuff. And again, that’s not about sex. It’s not about just striving for pleasure, you know. And I think, man, that’s the other side of it is that we just taught all of these kids that sex is literally about, you know, chasing the best orgasm possible. That it’s how can I find the most pleasure in this moment with this person for me? Instead of, “Okay, this is about us being intimate and connecting and that orgasm or that, you know, you know, pleasure is the byproduct of a very safe, intimate relationship with someone else.”
TERI: Yeah. There’s so much in the media that is so polar opposite to what you’re talking about and what true, like appropriate communication for our kids, you know, should be, I don’t want to “should” on myself, but you know, it would be nice. It would be nice if we weren’t always working against media, social media, movies, culture, because yeah, I mean, even things, just movies, movies that aren’t like rated R things have gotten so much more sexualized and eroticized in movies that we’ve got PG-13 movies where they’re not actually showing skin, but they show a couple having sex under the covers or on a table or whatever. And one of the false things that that is presented is that like women orgasm in like 30 seconds. And I’m like, how do we help our kids understand that what they’re seeing is not real. And then they’re going to be stressed for that.
CLINT: Well, pause. You’ve got to not expose them to that stuff. Like, that’s the real, I mean, that’s the really hard thing. There’s a difference between being exposed to something and being immersed in something. If they happen to see a scene where there’s some sexual things going on, and they’re like, “Oh, what’s that?” There might not need to be some big conversation, but if you live a life where they’re seeing that multiple times a week, they’re seeing that multiple times a month, and then you’re not talking to them about it, that’s the major problem, right? So there’s a big—I want people to understand, our kids are going to get exposed to stuff. They might come across something and your 11-year-old or 12-year-old or 8-year-old, for God’s sakes, gets exposed to something, you go, “Oh, well, that wasn’t for you. Let’s talk about that. Let’s be safe.” You know, you don’t dive into this deep, you know, sexual conversation. But if it’s happening multiple times, now you’re immersing them in a worldview and in an idea that you definitely have to talk about. And so I think that’s part of the problem with society is that when we grew up, there was no immersing anybody in anything.
CLINT: And so, and, and look, this is the scary part. Look at all the problems that have come out of just, just a little bit of exposure to HBO and Cinemax.
TERI: Ugh, yeah.
CLINT: You know, look at where we stand right now in 2023, what’s been created by the human beings that saw that. What’s going to be created in 10 years, in 15 years, in 20 years by these teenagers whose sex education is Pornhub and what they’re seeing and what they’re, you know, masturbating to and connecting to is violence and aggression and, you know, it’s a scary, scary place to be, which, you know, I’m trying to, I’m trying to give a lot of hope in you can prevent it. Like it’s a reality, but at the same time, like the bridges that you build are really easy. The solutions are not that complicated. You know, these, they’re just conversations are awkward because of the reasons we’ve talked about today.
TERI: Yeah. All right. We need to take a break.
DR. AMY: Yeah, we are way like way over time, but I need to read a word from our sponsor. And then I have one last question for you.
TERI: I’ve got it. I’ve got it up here if you want me to.
DR. AMY: Okay, go ahead. Yeah. Okay.
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DR. AMY: All right, so one last question. And I’m sure most parents can relate to this. What do you do if your kids walk in on you having sex?
CLINT: That’s a good one. That’s a good one. You know, I remember walking in on my parents. I was, we were, we live in a trailer, so I was definitely, you know, probably 12, younger than 12. And they were just sitting on the bed talking, you know, obviously it was either before or after.
And my mom like flew off the bed and my dad like turned around and saw me and I ran and got in the, got in my bed. And I remember my dad coming in laughing. And I don’t remember what happened after that or what our conversation was. One, lock, get a lock for your door and make sure you lock your door. But I mean, two, you know, if they’re really little, I mean, if you’re under the covers and over the covers, another different conversation depends on what they see what they’re exposed to. And only, you know, that. But I think if they’re if they’re little, you have a general conversation, like we’ve talked about age appropriately, you kind of move them past it.
Ask them if they have any questions and typically they’re going to move on to whatever. If they’re around puberty and around their own bodies changing or past puberty, then that’s the point of having all of this dialogue is to teach them that those things are healthy. It’s very important for mommy and daddy to connect. You know, a lot, a lot of kids will be like, “Well, wait, you don’t have four babies, you know, like you had sex four times.” Like we only have one because they think that every time you have sex, that baby that comes out of that. We all had sex twice because there’s two of us. And then they find out, wait, no, you don’t. So I think it is important to teach, like, it’s not just about, it’s about intimacy and connection. Look, I’m going to go, you know, on the Christian route for a second. One of the things I really been working with people on is like, if you have a faith and you feel like your sex life is unhealthy, you know, sex is an act of worship from a Christian perspective that it’s intimate and that God is present and that he’s using that to renew and restore Christ in the church and your marriage. And so I think teaching that to our teenagers is really important from a Christian perspective to go, “Hey, listen, you know, this is what we think it is.” And so whatever your faith view of that, insert that into that conversation. Like, “Here’s what, you know, our belief is around why we do this.” And if you think it’s just for pleasure and there’s no God and there’s no situation, teach them that. Use that opportunity as a teaching perspective, not to shame them or make it taboo or make it weird because. If you didn’t lock the door and they walked in, it’s too late now. You know, use it as an opportunity to go, “Hey, we’re not going to make this awkward. We’re not going to be mad at you. This is just what this is to some degree. And if you have questions, you know, but also you might want to knock next time.” You know, like it’s a good, it’s a good reference. If they don’t want to see it, they don’t need to be barging in.
DR. AMY: Absolutely. I can remember one time, one of my kids saying something like, “Mommy, you were making a bunch of noise last night.” And I immediately said something like, “Oh, Daddy was tickling me.” And that was good enough. Right? Like he was six, seven. But I just remember being so proud of myself for coming up with answers so fast.
CLINT: That’s so funny. Yeah, I mean, you wouldn’t again, we make it all weird. But it’s like if you’re arguing in the bedroom, right, and you’re yelling and somebody’s lost their temper, you don’t go out and say, “Well, daddy lost his temper. Mommy lost her temper. And that’s what we’re talking about.” You go, “Oh, we were just kind of frustrated. You know, we were just being loud. And we were talking about some things and we were being funny.” Like, you know, you don’t have to—you don’t want to overly expose people to questions. One of the things I’ll tell, say this at the end is there’s an appendix that talks about like, what do you do when they ask you these hard questions out of left field and the two quotes that I’ll use in there are, you know, if your kid’s in the backseat and they’re eight or nine years old and they say, “Hey, Mom, what’s lube?” or “Hey, Mom, what’s 69?” You know, and then you’re like, “Oh gosh.” Well, a lot of parents, right, talking about, “Hey, you need to talk to your kids.” They go, “Okay, well, Clint’s saying we should talk to our kids. So they asked me what lube is.” And so we started explaining it. And then the kid’s like, “No, I, I just saw the Jiffy Lube sign. And I was wondering what that means.” You know, like we have to ask them, like, “Well, what do you know about it? What are you asking me?” Like, so be careful in our conversations to like, be patient, not to panic. You know, and to really try to meet the kid with what they’re actually asking and what they’re actually needing and the age-appropriate way in which, you know, we can do it. Because so many times, right, the kids ask us something. We tell them something. They’re like, “That’s not what I was, I was not asking you that.” Yeah. So when they’re like, “You’re making noise, you don’t go out and say, well, that’s sex. And we were having sex. And when you have sex, you make noise,” you know. Like, no, you just go, “Yeah, we were, we were being silly and daddy was tickling me.”
DR. AMY: I’m sorry.
TERI: It’s so good. It’s just, it happens.
CLINT: You mean you have sex, Dr. Amy? And you, and you enjoy it? That’s not, that’s not what we’re talking about here. You’re supposed to be prude and, you know, you just, only silence, just silence, no noises.
DR. AMY: Exactly.
CLINT: But I mean, right, that’s the point right there is like, we all even get uncomfortable with kind of just being honest and real about what literally every human being, on some level, experiences. And I just want to reduce that shame in all of us to go, “Let’s get down to our heart and, you know, realize that it’s okay. We’re going to be okay. We can have these conversations, you know.” And the last thing I’ll say is community. Is that we have to have, like, I love that I’ve gotten to talk with you guys and we’ve become friends and we can have these conversations and you can call me off offline, not even on a podcast, not just to teach people. But we can have these relationships. And so you’ve got to, you’ve got to find people in your sphere who read this book, who read this information and you go, “How are we going to do this? You know, how are we going to do smartphones? How are you doing? How are you having the sex talks? How are we going to deal with our boys? Guys, like how are we going to parent them and raise them?
Do we need to take them on a little retreat and have some conversations over the course of years? Hey girls, can we, can we do a women’s retreat for the weekend and talk about how God wired us for these things? And we have to do this as a community. One of the major problems in all of this is the isolation and doing it alone. And so when we do it alone, we get attacked by feeling like we’re the only ones with these problems. We’re the only ones who would ever, you know, do any of these sexual things or think these sexual things and shame just lives there. But when we get in a community and you realize, “Oh man, this is just being a human.” Like, this is, this is what it means to be a human on some level, then you start to really be able to, you know, reduce that shame and, and feel confident in who you are.
DR. AMY: All right. This is the longest episode we’ve ever had.
CLINT: That’s awesome. I think people are gonna, I think people are gonna love it.
DR. AMY: I think so too.
TERI: My battery’s about to die on my computer.
DR. AMY: Yeah. All right. We’re, all right. We’re saying goodbye. Clint Davis.
CLINT: Go get this book.
DR. AMY: Oh, yeah. Yeah. So, um, we will put a link to buy Clint’s book, “Building Better Bridges; A Guide to Having Difficult Conversations That Can Save Our Children.” That will be in the show notes, along with his social media handles. Clint, thank you so much for coming back. This was a fantastic conversation. Listeners, if you like us, we would love it. If you would leave us a five-star rating and review on Apple podcasts, you can follow us on every social media channel at the Brainy Moms. If you would rather see our faces, you can follow us on our YouTube channel at The Brainy Moms. So that is all the smart stuff we have for you today, and we will talk to you next time. See ya!