How Can We Help Kids Define Healthy Sexuality?


ColorLines blogger Akiba Solomon challenges adults to do more to help children develop healthy attitudes toward sex at a time when the media are inundated with exploitative images of girls, and manhood is identified with promiscuity and sexual aggression. 


I had one of my first major lessons about gender and power dynamics in third grade playing Catch a Girl, Freak a Girl during recess at Henry C. Lea School in West Philadelphia. In our version of the game, which is known in other regions as Hide and Go Get It and—alarmingly—Rape, the boys would chase girls around tag-style. If a girl got caught, her captor would dry-hump her on the spot or march her off to a less visible crevice of the schoolyard for dramatic effect.

Now, as a precocious child hopped up on the late ’70s sex positivity of “Where Did I Come From?: The Facts of Life Without Any Nonsense and Illustrations,” I found Catch a Girl, Freak a Girl irritating. If a boy wanted to freak, wouldn’t it be more efficient and pleasurable for both parties if he simply asked?

I tested out this theory one day when a kid known as Bad-Ass Edward targeted me for Catch a Girl, Freak a Girl. While I routinely met his hellos with the requisite eye-rolling and called him all kinds of ashy, ugly and stupid when he teased me about my African name, I had a thing for this towering butterball of hyperactivity. So that recess when Edward chased me, I slowed down to a trot, pivoted to face him—and stood still. Horrified by my breach of protocol, poor Edward darted away. Sadly, I spent the last few minutes of that recess chasing him up and down the schoolyard, hoping to express my consent and submit to the much ballyhooed act of freaking. I never did catch him. 

Read Akiba Solomon's entire blog entry at ColorLines.