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147 Sex 101 for Parents with Mal Harrison and Ekem Merchant

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Hi, I’m Alex!

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Would you like to learn how to talk about sex with your kids? And would you like to be able to have the conversation in a calm, open and educational tone?  This is something that a lot of parents really struggle with, even though they may be educated and open about sex in general. Today’s show is a special edition, after the very first live event of Her Rules Radio, where Alex recorded an incredible panel discussion, in Brooklyn, New York City, titled Sex 101 For Parents. The two Sex Experts and Educators on the panel were Mal Harrison and Ekem Merchant. Listen in and find out how to talk to your kids in a way that will prepare them and let them know that sex does matter, but without putting too much judgment on it.

Mal Harrison is the founder of The Centre For Erotic Intelligence. She’s a Clinical Sexologist and Coach, who has an amazing Ted Talk and she’s also spoken around the world. She creates programs all over the country to help people to get right with sexuality and to be able to talk about it.

Ekem has been working in Public Health for twenty years, with a focus on Adolescent and Women’s Health and Community Health Centre training directly in schools- even at Alex’s son’s school. People tend to swarm to her with questions when they find out what she does, but she loves talking about it, so it’s great!

Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest provider of sex education, reaching a million and a half people per year! They and the schools rely on the parents to be the backup at home and to help the kids to integrate what they are supposedly learning in schools. However, not all kids are getting the same education and this results in people learning so many different aspects and information about sex.

A few days ago, after the Bill Cosby trial had been dismissed, one of the jurors said that because one woman went to his house wearing a top which revealed her bare midriff, it implied consent. Alex nearly lost her mind when she heard that, as she sees that as rape culture at its worst! Rape culture blames the victim for enticing their rapist! This is why parents really need to learn to talk with their children about sex right now! Parents need to teach them that no matter what someone is wearing, you are not allowed to touch them without their consent and that you also need to listen to them during sexual or intimate activities. They need to know that no one has the right to cross your boundaries, abuse you or rape you because you’re wearing revealing clothing.  This is why this topic is really so important. Alex points out that when you allow your children to believe that women are to blame for their rape, it leads to people becoming jury members later on, who uphold this sexual culture that makes either women or men who are the victims, blameworthy. Listen in now, to hear the panel discussion and to get some much-needed support around this really important issue.



Music Credit: My good friend Lindsay Katt –

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Show Notes:

  • Mal talks about the educational programs that she’s creating for young people.
  • Ekem talks about what she sees, when she’s out there in the world, teaching.
  • How parents, who had no sex education at school, are to find the necessary information for their children.
  • What Mal, who works more with college-age adults, sees as the range of sex education, once they get to university.
  • Agency, which is about owning your body and your pleasure, is one of the most important things that parents need to teach their kids.
  • Mal teaches children that they’re ready for sex when they know that their partner respects them and they respect themselves, so that there’s a foundation of respect, no matter what happens.
  • How to begin teaching your child, say a ten-year-old, about pleasure.
  • That getting a context of where your kids are coming from when they ask you a question, is really important.
  • Validating the questions that your kids ask…”That’s a great question!”
  • The most common questions and assumptions that Mal hears from young adults.
  • What makes Mal wonder, about the fifty percent of marriages that are actually succeeding…
  • The top questions that elementary school age kids (around age ten) are asking Ekem.
  • Why Ekem believes in talking to boys and girls together.
  • That most kids tend to wonder if they’re normal.
  • The kinds of relationships that kids who don’t believe in marriage, are looking for.
  • The only problem that Mal sees with dating apps- not being able to pick up on body language and cues.
  • How to talk about transgender, or simply gender with your kids (Giving them The Genderbread Person).
  • How to deal with your kids listening to songs with misogynistic lyrics.
  • Separating gender identity from gender behavior, when talking to your kids.
  • Navigating generational conflict when looking at gender issues.
  • The amount of misinformation that exists- even with educated adults!
  • Empowering your kids, through creating a safe space.
  • Talking to your kids about inappropriate behavior in movies.
  • Talking to your kids about porn.



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