Sunday, September 19, 2010


For today, pretend you are the estranged parent of an 11-year old child. This child is of the same sex as you, but lives with your former partner (who is of the opposite sex [sorry for the heteronormativity, but it's required for the exercise to work]). Distance prevents you from seeing the child regularly, but the relationship is generally warm, though not without its awkwardness.

The distance has the somewhat paradoxical effect of leading the child to trust you with the questions he/she has with regards to sexuality. Specifically, the child has recently been hearing about masturbation on the school bus from an untrustworthy source. Wikipedia explains the act clinically, but the child needs to hear from a parent what kind of social and moral implications this thing has. The child feels embarrassed broaching the subject with their opposite-sex parent, and, lacking mentors or helpful relatives, reaches out to you for guidance.

Basically, write your child a heartfelt letter in which you tell them what they need to know about this crucial experience.

Send the letter to:

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