“Dear Dr Eve

My daughter in law has recently left my son. I was so surprised as they appeared to be a happy couple, a couple that ticked the boxes – a house, 2 children, and both have good jobs.

It appears that my son was too rough with her sexually speaking, with no physical violence, or any other kind of abuse, just sexually rough.

Apparently, my son did go for therapy but nothing changed. so she has now left him.

I am heartbroken and want to understand what “rough sex“ means.

I blame myself because as a single working mother my son was often left alone and I know he watched a lot of porn. I never spoke to him about this porn watching and in fact, never spoke with him about sex ever. I hoped the school would give him sex education.

I feel so bad now. Please help me.



Dear Anonymous,

Set aside your blame and shame. Instead, I invite you to be kind to yourself and show yourself some compassion. After all, consider your own sexuality education. I am betting that it was absent and any messages that you received were not sex-positive, nor sexually accurate. How do expect you to educate your child about an area of life that is so taboo, so complex .. and yet so vital for the healthy development of a child emotionally, psychologically, relationally and sexually?

Let me explain why a comprehensive holistic sexuality education is so vital to the overall well being of every child.

Begin by seeing it as a preventive measure, an education that will prevent intimacy disruptions, as just has happened to your son. A child who received his sexuality education via pornography and thus believed that “rough” sex is what women enjoy as this is what much of porn portrays. which is a really skewed view of sexuality.

 And then perhaps you can join me and become an advocate for comprehensive sexuality education in all learning, religious and cultural institutions and of course, caregiver homes.

And in this way build a safer more inclusive society that allows youth to grow into healthy sexually satisfied adults.

Let’s begin with the WHO definition of “Holistic Sexuality Education” :

In the Standards for Sexuality Education in Europe the concept of “holistic sexuality education” is defined as follows:

“Learning about the cognitive, emotional, social, interactive and physical aspects of sexuality. Sexuality education starts early in childhood and progresses through adolescence and adulthood. For children and young people, it aims at supporting and protecting sexual development. It gradually equips and empowers children and young people with information, skills and positive values to understand and enjoy their sexuality, have safe and fulfilling relationships and take responsibility for their own and other people’s sexual health and well-being.”

Reasons why comprehensive Sexuality Education is so necessary for healthy childhood development into intimate adults:

  • Increased risk of STIs/HIV/AIDS
  • Unplanned/unwanted pregnancies minimized
  • Abortions that may cause trauma
  • Reproductive health offered
  • Contraception/condoms information provided
  • Vulnerable to harmful sexual behaviours
  • Consent /boundary setting is taught
  •  How to prevent physical and emotional violence in a relationship
  • Learn about gender and sexual identity
  • Information is given on the risks of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, and how to protect oneself
  • Crucial to prevent gender-based violence and discrimination against women: equality between all sexes
  • Prevention of online grooming, sexual extortion, cyberbullying, and other technological exploitations.
  • Non-violent conflict resolution
  • Self /body pride
  • Pornography education

Without this Comprehensive Sexuality Education, communication of sexual, emotional and physical desires between adult partners is difficult and often avoided. Language of sexual desire may be limited to porn or romantic talk which may not let the other feel uniquely seen. Intimacy disruption occurs without adults having the tools to manage the ebb and flow that naturally occurs in all relationships .. which places them at risk for emotional/sexual betrayal.

Without knowledge of sexual rights,  and the tools of a well developed and grounded self, consent is very difficult to effect and very challenging to each partner to know when and how to place and respect that NO boundary.  

Sexual pain is tolerated as that is what women are taught they can expect: silent pain with vaginal penetration. Forcing oneself to be sexual when there is no desire is another gem women absorb as they are told they need to “serve” their man as he will cheat or leave her if she does not “put out.”

Not knowing where her clitoris is, places women in a pre-orgasmic state, a vulnerable state that will get her to lose motivation to be sexual and slowly get her to withdraw from all intimacy. Without Comprehensive Sexuality Education, your children will continue to bear these and many other consequences as sexual, relational adults.