Securing Sexuality is the podcast and conference promoting sex positive, science based, and secure interpersonal relationships. We give people tips for safer sex in a digital age. We help sextech innovators and toy designers produce safer products. And we educate mental health and medical professionals on these topics so they can better advise their clients. Securing Sexuality provides sex therapists with continuing education (CEs) for AASECT, SSTAR, and SASH around cyber sexuality and social media, and more.
Links from this week’s episode:
Comprehensive Sex Education for Children of All Ages
Sex education is a critical aspect of the education system and for the overall well-being of individuals. It is essential to teach children about sex and sexuality from an early age. Comprehensive sex education helps children understand their bodies, sexual health, relationships, and consent. It also helps them to make informed decisions about their sexual lives and to stay safe. Here, we will discuss the importance of comprehensive sex education for children of all ages, with insights from Karen Rain and Jessica Smart of Un|hushed.
Comprehensive sex education helps children understand their bodies. Children need to learn about the anatomy of their bodies and how it works. This knowledge helps them to identify any changes that may occur in their bodies and to seek medical attention if necessary. It also helps them to understand the different parts of their bodies and how they function, which is crucial for their sexual health. Additionally, comprehensive sex education helps children understand sexual health. This includes learning about contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and how to prevent them.
Children need to know how to protect themselves from STIs and unwanted pregnancies. They must also understand how to access healthcare services and communicate with providers about their sexual health. Comprehensive sex education also teaches children about relationships and communication. It is essential for children to learn how to communicate their needs and boundaries in relationships. They also need to learn how to respect the needs and boundaries of others. These skills are crucial for healthy relationships and for avoiding abusive relationships.
Furthermore, comprehensive sex education teaches children about consent. Children need to know what consent is and how to give and receive it. They need to learn that it is never okay to force someone to do something that they do not want to do. They also need to learn to recognize when someone else is not giving consent.
Karen Rayne and Jessica Smarr, founders of Un|hushed, believe that comprehensive sex education is essential for children of all ages. They have developed a comprehensive sex education curriculum that is inclusive, sex-positive, and age-appropriate. Their curriculum is designed to help children learn about sex and sexuality in a safe and supportive environment. Karen and Jessica believe that comprehensive sex education should start early.
They believe this knowledge will help children understand their bodies and sexuality as they grow older. Karen and Jessica also believe that comprehensive sex education should be inclusive. They believe that it is essential to teach children about different sexual orientations and gender identities. They also believe it is important to teach children about diversity and celebrate differences.
Comprehensive sex education helps children understand their bodies, sexual health, relationships, and consent. It also helps them to make informed decisions about their sexual lives and to stay safe. Karen Rayne and Jessica Smarr of Un|hushed have developed a comprehensive sex education curriculum that is inclusive, sex-positive, and age-appropriate. Their curriculum is designed to help children learn about sex and sexuality in a safe and supportive environment. It is time for comprehensive sex education to become a part of the education system and for all children to have access to this essential knowledge.
Stefani Goerlich: Hello and welcome to securing sexuality, the podcast where we discuss the intersection of intimacy-
Wolf Goerlich: -and information security. I'm Wolf Goerlich.
Stef: He's a hacker, and I'm Stefani Goerlich.
Wolf: She's a sex therapist. And together, we're going to discuss what safe sex looks like in a digital age.
Stef: Today we are joined by Dr Karen Rayne, executive director and co-founder of Un|Hushed, and Jessica Smarr, Un|Hushed curriculum writer and program facilitator. What is Un|Hushed you ask? It is a modular, medically accurate, up-to-date sexual health curriculum that gives you the information they need and that they want to succeed. Jessica, Karen, thank you so much for joining us.
Jessica Smarr: Thanks for having us.
Karen Rayne: Yeah, we're excited to be here.
Stef: So, Karen, you are the co-founder of Un|Hushed. What led to this project for you? What sort of inspired the creation of the program?
Karen: Well, I've been working in sex ed for a long time, about two decades now, and I had worked with a lot of curricula and a lot of programs and then a lot of curriculum development for organizations across the US and around the world. And I felt like we as a community as a field, broadly, didn't have anybody in the field whose goal was to push boundaries. We had a lot of folks who were targeting things at, like federal finance-level curricula and a lot of folks who are working with sex education that could be used in places where people didn't want sex education very much. But we didn't have anybody who was like, You know what? Let's push boundaries on what sex education could be. And so I kind of founded Un|Hushed with that goal in mind.
Wolf: So what anyone listening cannot see is a minute ago you said, “no one was pushing boundaries, so we stepped in”. I was grinning because I'm, like, absolutely needed. Can you give some examples of, like, where you've extended the discussion or expanded, uh, people's view on this area?
Karen: Yeah, for sure. You know, I would say, like one example of this, actually I think, is very timely for our conversation today, which is that, uh, gosh, maybe five years ago, I, I think Jessica, I called you and I was like, Jessica, I want you to write two hours of middle school curriculum on how to prevent in cells of the future from being created. Um, you know, And so Jessica sat down and wrote these amazing two hours of content, uh, for the the middle school level on how to prevent incels of the future. And it's things like that where we have a lot of freedom to just kind of create whatever we want to in response to things we see happening, Uh, in the kind of the socio-cultural milieu of, um, you know, young people developing and the Internet and that intersect-intersection there.
Jessica: Yeah. So it's one of my favorites because it has to choose your own adventure in it. Um, because basically, when I'm writing curriculum, I think of Oh, this is a fun thing for me. It'll probably be fun for Children. So we just throw all the there's. There's a reason there's, especially in the elementary school curriculum. There's a lot of playdoh. There's a lot of like places where if you wanted to include glitter, you could, uh, in the end. It's like the incel lesson we actually call heartbreaker, because what it's really focused on is acknowledging like sometimes you like somebody and they don't like you back. And that sucks. Like that's hard, especially the first couple of times you're dealing with that and like you have all these new emotions and then somebody rejects you and that feels terrible and you don't know what to do. And so really acknowledging like, Hey, that is difficult. We're not gonna tell you that like, Oh, it gets better. Oh, you'll be fine. There's more fish in the sea because that doesn't make anyone feel better. And then, after acknowledging that talking about OK, what do we do with those feelings? How do we address those internally? And how do we act around people externally? So, like, that's where our choose your own adventure game comes in is we have two characters that there's a guy who he thinks that this girl is just the bee's knees. He wants that. He asks her out on a date, and she just likes him as a friend. And so, ideally, you can get to the end by everybody is still remaining friends. We know that our guy got his heart, his little heart broken, but everybody is respectful of one another and can communicate that adequately. And really, we want to get in and have that conversation with these kids, ideally, before they have their first you know, major heartbreak. It's not always gonna happen. But before they get into that space where they're experiencing those feelings and looking for resources and they go and talk to, you know, a parent or a trusted adult, and the parent is like, Oh, well, sweetie, like you're so lovable, it'll be somebody will like Somebody will want to date you in the future. It's OK. And these kids are feeling lost and alone, and then they hop online and they find a community that will absolutely affirm their feelings and their experiences, which is great. But that also comes with a like a heaping side of misogyny and sometimes violence, which is, uh, not great.
Stef: I love the fact that you guys, you two, are including the emotional component in this, because so often, when we think about sex ed, we think about anatomy, procreation, maybe if they're super lucky, preventing procreation and that's it. And I think one of the most radical things that you two are doing is simply talking about the relational piece of this, and not just in terms of the typical sort of abstinence-Only sex is a deeply emotional connective experience, and the minute your genitals touch, you're practically married in your hearts forever. But the much more mundane it sucks to have an unreciprocated crush, and it hurts to like somebody who doesn't like you back. And having those conversations at a very age-appropriate level isn't happening anywhere else. And and I really admire you for going down that road.
Karen: Gosh, it's just so important, You know, we actually now have a fifth grade activity called When Crushes are crushing and we start talking about crushes, actually in third grade, about like what even is a crush? How would you know if you have one? How would you know if somebody else has one on you? And how do you navigate that space, which also begins some of that conversation around unreciprocated crushes and feelings. But yeah, sex is there is an emotional landscape when it comes to attraction, Um, and kids flourish when they are provided with explicit information around all things, but including the emotional landscape as opposed to people kind of assuming that they're gonna pick it up along the way, which is, I think, how a lot of people think young people come to a place of understanding, sex and sexuality and romance. But really, assuming that Children are going to pick it up along the way does just leave them open to things like the incel community and people like Andrew Tate who can come in and provide them with inaccurate, harmful information instead.
Stef: I think back to middle school and the note passing, you know, Do you like me check yes or no? And I almost wish that as adults, so we could regain that clarity. And I think that one of the most complicated things is that at some point between middle school and high school graduations, we lose the confidence to just have those conversations right. We lose the ability to just say I really like you, and I would like to be your friend or even more than your friend. How do you feel about that? Like the passing, A note in the hallway is almost like mini consent culture, and then somehow it turns over time into the game playing and the reading of cues, and the if she really likes me, I'll see her do A, B, and C, and that's how I'll know I can make my move. Or if he's really into me, I'll know because he will say XY and Z And then I can respond. It becomes very coded. It becomes very symbolic. And I think that's where things get really confusing for a lot of young people.
Karen: Yeah, across the age range, right? Like how many times do the younger Children in elementary school be told, especially girls? Oh, if he's being mean to you, that means he likes you. Oh, if he pulls your hair or he snaps your bra, that means that he likes you, right? And then we get into these middle school and one of the things one of the my favorite activities in the middle school curriculum is where the Children, the kids, um, we divide their names into two piles and we randomly draw names and one of the students asks the other student out on a date. And the student who is asked out has to reply with a yes, and they also have to reply with a no to teach about, you know, like different elements of consent. But it gives us this really beautiful opportunity to, like, push them to be clear in their communication. So often, their questions are things like, Hey, do you wanna go to the movies on Saturday night? And I'm like, Wait, is that a date or are you going as buddies? And then the no answer is so often Oh, no, like my family has a game night planned. And I'm like, Oh, so you want them to ask you another time? You know, And like we're able to really push them to get that sense of clarity. And I think, really, you know, important ways. There are some students again, particularly girls who in this session physically cannot say no and then stop talking like it is so ingrained in them to just keep going, even in role-play. Even when we are clear that this is not an actual interest at a date, just saying no and then closing their mouths is something they physically cannot do, and they like it strikes them as well. They're like, I don't know why I can't stop talking I don't know why I can't just say no, you know. But it's a real eye opening moment for them as well.
Jessica: Yeah, because that, like the first time that we facilitated a similar lesson, Karen and I, we were role-playing for the students, and I was supposed to try to break up with Karen and I couldn't do it. And I was like, I have been in this fake relationship for all of 10 seconds, and I am getting the mildest of pushback where Karen's like No, but that would make me sad. And I was like, Oh, I guess I'll just stick it out. I guess we'll just be in this relationship now. I'll just make it work. It'll be fine. It's good. And I was like, Why is this happening? Like, what am I doing? But it was really I was like, Oh, no, this is not good. And so I had to go home and do some self-reflection. Karen is lovely, but I'm not interested in dating her.
Wolf: Well, it These are real skills to practice. So I love that you guys are given that opportunity. You know, not, not when it is the heat of the moment. Not when you've got all this other pressure on top of the nerves and on top of everything else and a couple of things also, that you said there I, I thought was really important. That sort of like the the the, uh, perspective of If they like you, then they're mean to you or vice versa. Um, just sort of countering that narrative is so important. And on on the guy's side, How oftentimes you hear Oh, I've been friend Zoned friend zones are terrible. I always thought it was great having a deep and wide friend zone. Uh, my friends who were girls got me in a lot of trouble. So providing that context and that early information is is so needed. How do you get this material out there? What is what is the ways that this is delivered and shared?
Karen: We have a K through 12 comprehensive sex education curricula at Un|Hushed. Uh, it comes in three sections, so you can get K through fifth grade or middle school, Uh, which is, like, kind of generally understood to be sixth through eighth grade, or we have a high school, which is ninth through 12th grades. Um, and we offer trainings on it, but also people can just go buy it. We don't require anybody to be trained. We update our material annually. And so you could- It's a subscription mode,l so you can buy it and download it and be done. Uh, it's only available online. We don't print on any of our materials ourselves because we update annually. We want there to be a more fluid like method of giving the material to facilitators. Um, and we offer trainings. We are offering some. We are in the middle of our elementary school training right now. It's on zoom next. Next week is middle school. We got to let us high school. All of these will be done by the time anybody is listening to this. So this is not something that you can come and join us with this year. Um, but we do trainings every summer. We travel around to do trainings at other places also, um, but really, it's a lot of word of mouth, you know, Un|Hushed is a pretty young organization. They've only been around for 5.5 years, and the cycle of implementing curricula in schools is usually a 3 to 5-year cycle because people review for a couple a year or two, and then they often sign contracts for 3 to 5 years with their curriculum of choice. So it's definitely been a slog. But, you know, we rely really very heavily on the Internet. We were the first people in the world to be talking about how to teach sex ed online in March of 2020. I think I was one of maybe a handful of people in the world who had ever done sex education online prior to March of 2020. I have a deep love of all things Internet-related and occasionally a deep loathing, Um, depending on the day and the topic. Um, but that is where most of our work is done is online, and then we. But we want facilitators to be doing it in person because, well, I know a lot about teaching sex ed online. One of the things I know is that in the K through 12 space, particularly, it's not nearly as effective as in-person sex education.
Stef: I have colleagues who are, um, primarily child and adolescent clinicians. And one of the ongoing struggles, especially during Covid, was holding the attention of young people when they're staring at a screen instead of having an actual group of humans or an adult human in the room to help keep that focus. And I am fascinated to hear that you were doing this before the rest of us were thrown into having to do this. And I'm curious what led you to offer this online really kind of ahead of everybody else ahead of the game. In that respect, uh, super randomly, I provided… I ran human sexuality classes for UMUC, which stands for the University of Maryland University College. I don't know why they're so in need of presenting themselves as a university college several times over again. But my students were all military and military dependents, and so they were stationed all over the world. And so the way that UMUC did their classes, they were all asynchronous and online. And so that's the context in which I had been teaching online for several years. So it wasn't the K through 12 space. Um, but I think that literally no one had done it in the K through 12 space prior to Covid.
Stef: Did you have specific challenges in having these conversations online? I asked because, um, I never intended to be a telehealth sex therapist. Uh, Wolf and I went on vacation, and I literally never went back to my office again because while we were on vacation, Covid hit the world lockdown. And after two years of telehealth, my clients were perfectly content to stay in telehealth. And what that meant was that there was this awkward learning curve, especially with my sex therapy clients talking about things online. Uh, there was a moment, probably six months or so where therapy felt a lot like Cam work for me at first, right? Because conversations that feel really easy and comfortable when you're face-to-face the the mediation of a screen changed that a little bit, and we all had to acclimate to what that feels like. And I'm curious if there was any sort of similar experience for you as sex educators.
Jessica: So I co-facilitated a middle school like a course on sex ed during covid, um, with kids throughout the United States. We ran through almost our full curriculum, which is how many hours Karen?
Karen: 38 it's now. It's now 42 but it was 38 at the time.
Jessica: It’s a lot. It's It's a lot of hours, and it was definitely the learning curve was very steep because there was a lot of facilitation skills like the first day I. I know I emailed everybody in like a panic. I was like, This is not working. What is gonna happen? What are we gonna do? Um, because it's definitely It's a lot different to hold space for the students whenever they're all individually in different places on their webcams. Um and you know, like one of the things we'll do in the classroom is understand that sometimes the kids need to disconnect. Like sometimes the topic we're talking about is gonna be too much. Um, it may trigger something in them, and we want them to be able to step away and disconnect. So I'm not ever gonna be like, Hey, you have to pay attention to me right now. Like look at this picture. Look at where this clitoris is. I need you to stare at it and make eye contact like I'm not gonna do that because that's rude and uncomfortable and so you know, But in that space, I can still kind of tell they're listening. They're involved, like maybe they're gonna zone out for a little bit. They'll come back. It's fine. It's not a big deal. When I'm teaching online, I have no idea, like because sometimes their cameras will be completely off, and sometimes they'll be like, messing with something, their microphones off. And I'm like, I'm pretty sure you're not paying attention, and I think it's because this is just not as like engaging naturally, but I can't do anything about it. So this is gonna be a problem to solve later, or someone smarter than me is gonna come up with a solution. Um, I don't know if anybody has yet, but hopefully someone will someday. It was really interesting, though, because there were definitely things that I was like, Oh, this is overall, uh, in person with middle school is 5000 times better. But there were pieces of the online facilitation experience that I was like, Oh, this is really interesting. Like one that I was so fascinated by was when we're in person, there's a lot of posturing and pretending like, Oh, I'm too cool for this Like I don't care. I don't need to learn about this when secretly they're like, OK, I actually do want to know these things, Um, or they're trying to show off in front of their friends. And there's a lot of this, like performative aspect of their presence in the classroom, and that was all stripped down when we went online. And they were so much more willing to ask questions, either like damning me in the chat or just like writing them in the chat or just asking them like, out loud, which was so fascinating to me that this whole performative aspect of like I'm too cool for this just went away. Um, and so I'm still thinking about ways that we can kind of capture that a little bit more of making them more comfortable and feel less like, Oh, I need to make sure that everybody else in this room thinks that I am, um, like a very cool 12 year old, Uh, which is hard to pull off, Um, and it takes a lot of work, and I don't want them to have to do that work.
Karen: I have to say from my college classes after even like my university, Well, first of all, I'm in Texas and my university was like Covid, It's August of 2020. There's no such thing. Go back in person And I was like, hard past friends, Um, but even once I was like OK, like I'm willing to go back in person now. I ended up keeping all of my classes hybrid because I found elements of teaching online at the college level that were just so cool online that I didn't want to lose them. And so I really loved having this greater opportunity to implement some of those learning strategies at the college level, again very different from middle schoolers. But you know, somewhere in there that shift happens where having half online and half in-person has given me a lot of opportunities to expand my pedagogy and my approach to teaching about sex education.
Wolf: You know, oftentimes, when things change, we innovate. We come up with new ideas and then things go back and we're like, Oh, that's fine. I guess those ideas didn't really matter. And so it's great to hear you're carrying those forward in the realm of innovation and back to something you said earlier about how long it takes for these programs to come out. I want to ask you about something. So maybe a decade ago, my daughter was going through some online safety classes, and I remember they were all talking about MySpace. At that point in time, everyone had Yeah, see, everyone had long moved to Twitter, and and I'm sure if people like take training today, it's like, Oh, here's how to be safe on Twitter when all the kids now are on tiktok right? How do you keep abreast of the technology environment that the kids find themselves in? Um, given the the relatively slower pace of curriculum development?
Karen: Well, first I wanna give a shout out to Dana Boyd, who wrote, um, the book. It's complicated. The networked lives of Teenagers, maybe is the subtitle, but Dana Boyd's book It's Complicated, is brilliant and was absolutely written doing pulling research from MySpace and Facebook and nothing on tiktok. Nothing on instagram. Nothing on Twitter, Um, and she does a really brilliant job of talking about digital media and talking about it in a way that is really outside of the realm of the specific platforms. In fact, we do not need to be platform-specific, and being platform a specific helps us in a lot of ways so we can talk about text-based media. We can talk about photo-based media. We can talk about video-based media. We can talk about media that is primarily, uh, a consumer media where you're just watching and you can talk about interactive media where you're a high, it's highly interactive, and you can talk about mixed media that has some elements of both, and it depends on how you use it. And then you can talk about like these four elements that Dana talks about, which is that all digital media is, um, permanent, searchable, viewable and shareable. And so these are the four elements that I talk about when I'm doing media-based education and all digital media is that. There's no need to be, you know, specific to your platform. Now that being said, we are, we do offer some platform-specific dialogue and language on occasion, but because we update annually, we are able to keep up with that trend for people who are not able to update annually when they are doing curriculum development or when somebody brings me in. Like you know, I've done a fair amount of work in Eastern and Southern Africa, and the curriculum that I write there tends to be just published, and then it's used for 20 years. So for when I'm doing something like along those kinds of lines, I will say, You know, let's have you and your participants together should create some scenarios and so that allows whatever the participants are using to be the platforms that they are then discussing. So there's lots of little tools and tricks of the trade that I wish that more, you know, develop curriculum development folks thought about that life span of the curriculum as they're writing it. Um, I think far too often they think that they're too excited by knowing the current thing. Do you know what I mean? And so they want to show off their knowledge of knowing that current thing.
Stef: Everybody wants to be hip and edgy and trendy. I think Wolf and I have built our entire dynamic around Which of us knows the next cool thing?
Wolf: And by our entire dynamic. It's usually you and I'm usually the one going, huh? We work well together that way.
Karen: See, I tell facilitators that I'm training on this topic, that they should absolutely not know the most current thing. They should absolutely in no way try to know the most current thing because it doesn't actually provide any benefit to anyone. What they should be doing is asking for their participants to share the current and most interesting thing that they are doing because yeah, there are still some teenagers whose primary social media is Facebook, you know, is Snapchat, you know, And then there are others who are like all over TikTok. And then there are others who, like their primary social media platform, is some mango platform that you've never heard of and nor have I, you know, and so we don't actually need to be keeping track and trying to be abreast of everything. Instead, we need to be connecting with our participants where they are and being like, OK, share with me what you know, like same thing with all of the things that move quickly. I would say identity is another big thing that moves quickly. And a lot of facilitators are like, Oh, I'm gonna be on the cutting edge of, like, the new ways that the young people are describing their sexual orientations and gender identities. And I'm like, I mean, you can And for somebody who is, you know, primarily a school nurse. That is not what they spend their days doing. And so staying on top of that is not really necessary. And instead, what they should be doing is connecting with their young people who they are actually working with. And when someone says like, Oh, here's a term He's like, Oh, tell me more about what that means to you because we don't actually know. And even with terms that we think we know saying, Oh, tell me what that means for you often brings us around in a much more useful way.
Wolf: Yeah, there's there's two things out of that I I find really resonating right now. And first off is this idea of first principles, right? People are people, regardless of the technology, and, uh, I didn't catch all four of what you said—the permanent, searchable, shareable…What was the fourth?
Wolf: Viewable? Ok, you know, bringing it back to those four core or any way we can, you know? Look out, zoom out and look at the big picture. I think it is really helpful in finding those first principles and things that are common and true across generations. Uh, but also, the other thing And one thing that is common and true across all generations at least that I've ever seen is listening gets you a long way when you're a teacher. When you start by listening I, I don't know about you guys, but I find that, uh, really makes shared knowledge go a lot further. I would ask you this question, Jessica, like in a-ha moment. Have you had an aha moment building this curriculum that you're like, Oh, I. I see all these pieces that are starting to go together or I'm starting to see you know, this broader horizon?
Jessica: Yeah, So I mean, I learned almost everything I know about curriculum writing from Karen. She's also a curriculum writer, but she does so much more that that's like number six on her job description list.
Wolf: Long list. Long list.
Jessica: Yes, yeah, but I think it's like over and over. We come back to the same core, not issues. But like, Oh, everybody wants to feel validated and seen. We all at some point are gonna have issues communicating with one another and could definitely use some tools to help with that. Um, it's, you know, one of the things that we have coming up is our training about talking to kids in school environments about the manosphere. And that's just sexism. That's had, like, uh, about 30 different rebrands since the term manosphere was created. And it's but it's it's all the same thing. It's just sexism. It's just misogyny that's got a new aesthetic. And so it's like, OK, this thing is unfortunately sticking around, like when it comes to things like -isms. How do we talk to kids in this developmentally appropriate way, meeting them where they're at about problems that exist in the world and that they're going to encounter? And we want them to be able to encounter it with compassion and empathy and an eye towards justice and not be like, Oh, turns out things are actually like, really bad out here. What is going on? Did you guys know about this like there's there's all this homophobia happening and it is bananas, like we want them to have tools before that. They get to that point where they're like, Oh, this is a little surprising to me or oh, it's not that bad. We want them to be able to say, Oh, that is a problem and even if it's one I don't experience personally like I am, I care about it. And I want things to be better for the people in the world around me. And so I really think it like a lot of it comes back to, you know, developing self-compassion and compassion for others, finding ways to communicate and the aesthetics of it are gonna change. The particulars are gonna change, but a lot of it's stays the same.
Stef: So as we head towards you know, the end of our conversation, a lot of what stays the same in the conversations that I have with people are about the basics right? They're trying to figure out how to fill the gaps in the in the mechanical sex ed that their kids get in schools and they're not necessarily very equipped for those relational pieces that that you two in your curriculum are speaking to so beautifully so And you know, as as we're as we're drawing to a close, what guidance would you give to parents who are struggling to have those culture conversations who are struggling to respond to the latest coolest, um, role model in air quotes on the Internet? Or changes in gender relations in the schoolyard? Because we like to think that kids are kids and our experience as Children is the same as our kids. But that's not necessarily true. How would you encourage what are one or two things parents can do to help address those relational changes? Because the mechanics aren't changing.
Jessica: Karen has a book.
Karen: I do actually have a book. 10 Rules for Talking With Teenagers about Sex breaking, Breaking the Hush Factor, 10 rules for talking with teenagers about sex. Um, and actually, the second edition is coming out this year. I have finished writing it, y'all. The second edition has been translated into Greek which I'm very excited about. And it's currently being translated into Spanish. I don't know about y'all, but when the work that I've written is translated into languages with a different alphabet, I always just get very like excited. It's like the most fun. Um, so yeah, like, I feel like that's a whole other kind of conversation that we can easily spend an hour on, just like how to have the specific conversations. You know, we are gonna be talking about this a fair bit in our training, Um, our training on “TikToxic masculinity” that's coming up. Um, it's on our website on hush dot org and we'll be talking about specifically around that element of, you know, how do we talk about these issues of, um, toxic masculinity? You know, whether they are online and whether they're because of Andrew Tate or whether they're because of, you know, the basic background noise. I think that if I had to give, if I had to boil it down to one thing, I would say, Don't be scared of hard conversations.
Stef: And there are so many opportunities to have difficult, scary, nuanced conversations with our young humans as we help guide them towards adulthood.
Jessica: Meet your kids where they're at and engage in the media and activities that they are engaging in. Like if they're super into Pokemon, like figure out the names of all the Pokemon. It's like, you know, there may not be big, deep conversations that are coming from, this is what Paul Baso evolves into. This is the extent of my Pokemon knowledge. Um, but I don't I don't have any kids, much less ones that are into Pokemon, So I don't need to know yet or ever. Um, but you know how like and build those relationships where you're talking about these things And when something comes up in media that they are, you know, consuming or engaging with that does touch on bigger topics. Use that as a jumping-off point. Have a conversation. OK, what's happening here? Like, what do you think about this? Um, have you seen anybody else experience this and really like know what they're getting into and build a relationship where you can have conversations about those things.
Wolf: So meet people where they're at, have those hard conversations and start practicing those hard conversations and listening way back in middle school, I think. Great advice for raising kids and great advice, frankly, for any relationship, I wanna thank you both for joining us today. It's been a great conversation.
Jessica: I had fun. Thank you.
Karen: Thank you so much for having us.
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