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Parenting in a Sexualized World, with Dr. Tara

Mar 02, 2024

Empowering Parents to Address Sexuality and Sensation Seeking in Children

In a world inundated with sexualized content, parents find themselves facing daunting challenges when it comes to discussing sexuality with their children. Dr. Tara, a professor at Cal State University specializing in sex behavior and sexual communication, brings valuable insights to the table. In a recent episode of Close Quarter Dad, she offers practical advice and thoughtful perspectives on navigating the terrain of parenting in a hypersexualized world.

Understanding Sensation Seeking in Children

Dr. Tara emphasizes the natural aspect of sensation seeking in children, highlighting that it is a fundamental part of their personality. She sheds light on how high sensation seeking, for instance, in young boys from religious areas, might lead to excessive masturbation due to limited exposure to other stimuli. In contrast, boys in urban areas may turn to the internet and smartphones for diverse sensory experiences.

Redirecting Sensation Seeking Energy

One key takeaway is the importance of redirecting sensation seeking energy towards productive activities, such as sports, to satisfy the need for stimulation and socialization. Dr. Tara highlights the need for parents to encourage these kinds of activities to harness their children's natural inclination for sensation seeking in a positive direction.

Open Communication About Sexual Health

The conversation also delves into the necessity of open conversations about sexual health without approaching it with disapproval or approval. Dr. Tara stresses that penalizing children can lead to communication barriers, emphasizing the need for correct vocabulary for body parts and initiating dialogue with questions as key communication strategies in discussing sex-related topics with children.

Empowering Children to Communicate Boundaries

Dr. Tara shares a poignant anecdote about an 8-year-old girl being forced into a kiss by a boy, emphasizing the importance of empowering children to communicate their feelings and boundaries. The discussion touches on the importance of addressing boundary issues, and the potential for parents to discuss these issues with the parents of the other child involved.

Handling Exposure to Extreme Content

Another critical aspect of the conversation centers on addressing more extreme topics, such as bondage and fetishes, that children may come across in their search history. Dr. Tara highlights the need for responsible discussions in those situations and advises on approaching a teenager's curiosity about animal-related internet searches.

Role of Fathers in Sex Education

The episode also underscores the essential role of fathers in parenting, especially in conversations about sexuality and masculinity. Dr. Tara emphasizes the importance of continuous learning and references resources for men to become students of their own sexuality.

Educational Resources for Effective Communication

Dr. Tara recommends valuable resources for parents and single dads to navigate conversations about sexuality with their children, recognizing the need for ongoing support and guidance in these critical discussions.

Empowering Families through Open Communication

Overall, the episode effectively emphasizes the importance of open and empowering conversations about sexuality within families. It provides actionable insights and educational resources to equip parents with the tools needed to guide their children through the complexities of growing up in a sexualized world.

Dr. Tara's expert perspectives shed light on not just the challenges but also the opportunities for parents to connect with and guide their children in healthy and respectful ways. Her emphasis on open communication, sensation seeking redirection, and the crucial role of fathers sets the stage for empowering families to navigate the complexities of sexuality with confidence and empathy.


About Dr. Tara

Dr. Tara is a tenured professor of relational and sexual communication, and quantitative research at California State University Fullerton (recieved her tenure at the age of 33), an award-winning researcher, TV Sexpert on Celebs Go Dating, and the host of Luvbites by Dr. Tara Podcast that focuses on sexual wellness and sexploration. Her work has been featured in ABC News, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health Magazine, Insider, and other media outlets. 

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