We need to help create a new generation of young people who are able to respect boundaries, honor an individual's wishes and know the difference between consensual sexual activity and rape.

"Too many victims are afraid to admit (even to themselves) what happened to them. Too many rapists – and their circle of friends/family – refuse to recognize force, coercion and manipulation (with alcohol, guilt, threatss or other means) as wrong. By blinding ourselves to what’s happening, we protect our rapists and influence new ones."



Teachable Moment to Talk About Periods- Thanks to Fu!

Photo by ssuaphoto/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by ssuaphoto/iStock / Getty Images

For many young girls from America to Armenia, the subject of menstruation still remains taboo. Social media went crazy when a brave Chinese swimmer spoke up this week about being on her period. Girls, teens and women deserve honest and accurate information about their menstrual cycles but above all else, messages and conversations should be of normalizing and di-mystyfying this natural part of women's reproductive health.

Speaking with your daughter's about Fu Yuanhui's interview with the press is a fantastic teachable moment about why it is perfectly okay to discuss being on your period. The more young girls hear these messages, the farther we will have come in removing stigma, shame and embarrassment around this normal and important part of the female experience. 

Read the article below to get the full story and why this swimmer is receiving praise for talking about her period.


Be more than just a spectator...use the Olympics as TEACHABLE MOMENTS!

Photo by amanalang/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by amanalang/iStock / Getty Images

Below is a terrfic article from Common Sense Media on how to create teachable moments when viewing the Olympics with your family. 

I would like to add one other topic, that they did not include in their list,  and that is using the Olympics to discuss positive body image. Olympic athletes from all corners of our world come in many shapes and sizes. They're acknowledged for the beauty of their strength, how they use their bodies to achieve tremendous success, and overcome arduous obstacles whether or not they get to stand on the podium and receive a medal. As parents who want to foster healthy body images for our children, we can take the time of watching the Olympics with our family to notice physical attributes which aren't usually seen in a positive light like the the large, muscular strong shoulders of the female swimmer and the powerful thighs of the female gymnasts. We can use these media moments to provide girls with an alternative way to look at the all too pervasive and unhealthy standard of beauty which depicts stick, thin women with often undernourished bodies, "thigh gaps" and surgically enhanced boobs and butts as the only standard for a physically beautiful woman.  The Olympics can not only bring our nation and the world together in positive ways, but it can also be used to bring our families together, encourage our daughters to see how beauty comes in many shapes and sizes and champion them for all and everything they are. 

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Helping to avoid the summer time body image blues...

Photo by Jupiterimages/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Photo by Jupiterimages/Stockbyte / Getty Images

Our children are growing up in a world where images of "perfect" bodies bombard them at every turn. Characters from their favorite movies, TV shows,  and video games all portray mostly unattainable body types. 

As the weather warms up and the swimsuits are ready for wearing, let's provide them with some characters protraying healthy, normal and attainable body images. The following is a list of books from common sense media that was created to help with just this.


Sexting and Cell Phones. Have You Had The Conversation?

What kind of pictures are your preteens taking and receiving? Ask them to show you. Are you talking with them about what's appropriate and what isn't when it comes to sharing images and videos?

Explain the dangers of sexting and let them know if they do send something they later regret sending, they need to let a trusted adult help them make the situation right. The important thing is that they know they're not alone.

‪#‎healthyteens‬ ‪#‎sexeducation‬ ‪#‎safeteens‬  ‪#‎talkearlytalkoften‬ ‪#‎familiesaretalking‬

Why 2015 was the year of the period—and we don't mean punctuation

Tampon or pad? That's all you get when you stroll through the feminine care aisle of any big supermarket chain.

But times are a changin'.

This year has been epic for menstruation, with news and social media catapulting the once hush-hush topic into the open.

There's the woman who ran the London marathon without using feminine hygiene products, and the #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult hashtag that erupted after presidential candidate Donald Trump referred to GOP debate moderator Megyn Kelly as having had "blood coming out of her wherever."

Researchers say all the hullabaloo may help give women better and eventually more eco-friendly options in menstrual care.

"For people like me who have been studying menstruation for decades, we've never enjoyed this kind of attention before," says Chris Bobel, associate professor of women's and gender studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston and president of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research. "I wrote a book on menstrual activism five years ago that got no attention. But now it is."

Is it? Even though Cosmopolitan magazine says it's "the year the period went public," we were skeptical. But social media's been awash with the p-word, and when we checked the number of times the word "menstruation" was mentioned in five national news outlets, it more than tripled from 2010 to 2015, from 47 to 167.

One big moment came in April, when Kiran Gandhi, a Los Angeles-based musician and feminist, ran the London Marathon while on her period, without using any hygiene products. She wanted to let her blood flow freely to encourage women not to feel embarrassed about their periods.

"The fact that we've been able to talk about periods openly is the biggest step in the revolution," says Gandhi, who finished the race with a blot of blood on the crotch of her neon orange leggings. "So many people are weighing in about the problems they currently face with their periods. It makes people empowered to speak about their own bodies."

Then came the hashtag #PeriodsAreNotAnInsult.

"That was a huge watershed moment for me," says Bobel of the online reaction to Trump's comment after the GOP candidates' debate in August. "Women were refusing to take the bait that menstruation is a put-down or a silencer."

Indeed, when we looked on Twitter the other day, we found that women are still toying with Trump with statements like: "It's normal and natural. Let's change the conversation. Let's break the taboo."

So maybe in an odd way this controversial candidate will help improve the options we women have for absorbing our periods.

"In America we have a new iPhone every year, but in the past two centuries there have only been three innovations in menstrual care. It's baffling," says Gandhi.

She's talking about the disposable sanitary pad, which was first marketed in 1888; the tampon, which became commercially available in the 1930s; and the menstrual cup, which has been around for decades but didn't become popular until softer versions were developed in the 1980s. (The adhesive pad was introduced in the 1970s.)

About two-thirds of American women use pads, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, while one-third use tampons. Those proportions include women who use both. And while most women use conventional products, entrepreneurs are busy creating new options.

"The interest in alternatives is greater than ever before," says Cynthia Pearson, executive director of the National Women's Health Network. "The number of questions we get about it — it seems like there's a new surge in interest. More folks are questioning whether to use tampons or push for getting more info about what's in them."

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., has been trying to find that out for almost 20 years. In April, she reintroduced legislation — for the ninth time since 1997 — that would require manufacturers to label the fabrics, colorants, dyes and preservatives used in pads and tampons. Some women have expressed concern that trace amounts of the toxic chemical dioxin could be in tampons as a byproduct of rayon processing.

Read the rest of the article.

One Way To Make Future Sex Health Ed Talks Easier

Spending quality time with your kids when they are young—well before middle school and before any discussions about the birds and the bees—is one of the best things you can do to prepare for the more mature themes you have to broach with them in the future. The more they trust you, value your opinion, and know you care about them, the more they will truly listen to you later in life. Spending quality time, which really means putting them first (yes, before your emails, texts, and work stress), proves to them how much you care.

These photos are of my daughters and me goofing around on St. Patrick's Day. It made my day. I'd love to hear your favorite ways to spend quality time with your kids.

Turning Sexual Images In The Media Into Teachable Moments

Last week, a friend posted this question on Facebook: “Help! How should I handle my 8-year-old questioning me about the ‘Sex Tape’ billboards around town?” Her post received comments with suggestions that ranged from outright lying to deceit, denial, deafness and the favorite of many moms, “Ask your dad.” Rather than run away from the question, though, I think we need to make the Sex Tape billboard into a teachable moment.

To read my suggestions, please see the post I wrote for LA Parent.