I usually try to write a blog post every week or two. This time I have gone a whole month. Part of this is we are having winter again this year. Last year we had winter weather but for at least two years before that we had very little winter type storms and in fact we were in a drought. I tend to like to do a human version of hibernation during winter weather. I like to read, watch movies and old TV series, and now watch YouTube videos about places to visit once winter has let up or history videos.

Since I haven’t spent as much time on Twitter and other social media I’ve only seen a small amount of what has been on them, usually only what the algorithms have placed in my notifications or what happened to be at the top of my timeline. Both Twitter and Reddit have had some mention of family. Some from a religious point of view and some from a sex-positive point of view. Some that have come to my attention, that bother me, seem to feel if you have different sexual choices or religious choices than the person making the post, then you must be a pedophile.

I remember when people speaking against homosexual attraction and activity equated it to pedophilia. I have no problem with people being sexually attracted to and acting on that attraction with the same sex. I have no problem with people being attracted to and acting on those attractions with people of the other sex. I have no problem with people being attracted to and acting on those attractions with people of both sexes. Basically I think people should be enjoying sex as long as it is in an ethical manner. As I have stated in other posts, to me ethical means everyone involved in giving informed consent to the actions about to take place and those actions are being done safely.

Some very old people may be able to say the words that give consent but, they don’t understand, so it isn’t informed consent. Young people have the same situation, they may not understand what they are consenting to do. Also I think there should be some kind of relationship for ethical sexual activity to occur.

I know many swingers who want to be able to go to a gathering, whether a club, a house party, of a couples date, just to have no strings attached sex. If everyone understands and consents, then this is a no strings attached relationship, but is still a relationship. I can think of three kinds of relationships young people can have. There is their family, their friends, and perhaps their enemies. Some are lucky enough to not have made enemies yet.

It is that family relationship I want to discuss. Though this next little bit may seem off the subject, bear with me. Many years ago I attended a workshop for teachers that mentioned the activities in a class need to be relevant to the goals of the lesson, or unit, or course. Some teachers said they were doing activities that the students learned a great deal, the teacher and students enjoyed the activities, but they weren’t helping the students prepare for what was on the state tests. The teacher mentioned the activities were related to the subject but not relevant as long as high scores on the tests was the goal.

Some of those attending were confused by the difference so he told a story about a heterosexual couple getting married. After the wedding the couple was to board a plane to fly to another country for their honeymoon. So as the couple is at the airport about to go through security to find the gate for the flight the bride’s father is standing there seeing them off. Should the bride take the related man or the relevant man through security with her?

I think family can be based on relation but also needs to be relevant. So at that point her family changes to the relevant person from the related person.

Another example, I recently received an email saying a website I have a membership with to find some information on my ancestors notified me a hint as to a relative had been found. When I visited the site it turns out they had a record about a marriage of a descendant of my great-great-grandfather and his second wife. My line goes through his first wife who died shortly after my great-grandfather was born. I’m not an expert at this but as I understand the way family relationships are named the person they wanted me to know about was my half-cousin four or five times removed. I’m not sure I would consider that person to be related to me much less relevant to my life. The cousin twice removed that lived down the block from me a few years ago doesn’t even count as related, or relevant any more since she moved away. Prior to the move I felt she was relevant as a neighbor, not a family member.

So why call the post “Family?”

I have a nephew through my wife who recently married his boyfriend. This nephew is about 50 years old. He tried to not be gay as his religious leaders told him to do. He married, they had children, he gave up fighting being gay, they divorced, and now he has a new husband. The pictures he posted online didn’t include his parents. We haven’t heard of any health issue through the family grapevine so I have to wonder why his parents weren’t there. His siblings were all present. He also is president of an organization that tries to help LGBT+ people deal with going from a religious point of view that they are evil to accepting what they are and living the best life they can. A few weeks after his wedding he referred to the people of that organization as his family. I think he has moved on from the related family to the relevant family.

I think those who have a related family that is relevant throughout their lives are the luckiest people there are. If you are a parent wondering how to stay relevant to your children, especially as being sex-positive can go, then you have to keep a good line of communication. As I pointed out, I don’t think pedophilia is an ethical choice so I’m not advocating sex within a family, but communicating about it is what I’m advocating. Parents who teach good communication and practice good communication with their children about sex are great. Part of that communication has to deal with feelings and relationships. I’ve only heard of one sex ed program, it is in a European nation, that teaches communication along with the biological facts. No one seems to teach about relationships. A few posts ago I mentioned the young man who realized he wasn’t ready for the relationships and responsibilities involved with engaging in intercourse but did participate in what he called outercourse to learn about his partners and develop some relationship skills along the way. The one relationship skill that I think needs to be developed in relevant families is the feeling that the family is a safe place, a comfortable place, and a loving place. If the parents can create that kind of place for their kids, then they can teach and model good communication and relationship skills that will help the descendants be sex-positive, body-positive, or maybe better stated, just good positive members of society.

This is not easy. There are few places to find roll models. I know if the kids are already old enough they may resist communication about sex, relationships, and accepting others. Parents need to be accepting of their children making their own choices in age appropriate activities so when it comes time to make choices about sex they already are used to making choices and knowing family will accept those choices that are safe and consensual. Even before they are making choices about sex, help them understand the relationships they will be forming in life. I hope more and more people are able to keep their families not just related, but can help more and more people find, create, and keep relevant families.

©2018 Michael Yocom 

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