For college students, the first few months at school tend to be the most dangerous time for sexual assault — students are anxious, they may be drinking more and many may be struggling to navigate the sexualized “hookup culture” that can be found on many campuses.
It’s something author and sex educator Cindy Pierce says parents and students need to talk more about.
Pierce laughingly admits she never set out to be an expert on sex.
“I was late to the game in sex, that’s what’s so funny,” says Pierce. “I was the last person to have it, and the fact that I’ve written three books about it is absolutely hilarious to anyone who grew up with me.” Continue reading →
Interesting guests and odd experiences that occurred at Pierce’s Inn inspired me to start keeping a list starting when I was in third grade. During those early years, my parents were hesitant to acknowledge anything odd or interesting when I shared my observations about our lives as innkeepers. Because it was their new job and lifestyle, they were eager to make it all seem normal. Owners of inns, hotels and motels shared an unspoken rule: What happens under your roof stays under your roof. This was considered job security for my parents and a comic feast for me.
Bidding farewell to the guests on Sunday morning after a long weekend
The very parents and siblings who marinated me in storytelling and encouraged me to develop keen observation skills were suddenly asking me to put on blinders. I disobeyed and kept adding to the list. My older siblings understood that their college tuition depended on the success of Pierce’s Inn, so they wisely supported my parents’ respectful denial even when things went off the rails. Because I was unaware of the realities of making ends meet and trying to make sense of what unfolded on a daily basis right in my own house, I made it my business to pay attention. Continue reading →
Social Courage takes practice. Many people hope that Social Courage will suddenly land on them and allow them to avoid awkwardness. Developing Social Courage requires a willingness to be vulnerable by diving into awkward soup with some regularity. Social Courage improves communication, which in turn improves relationships.
A common assumption among high school and college students is that sexual knowledge, ease and comfort are acquired by hooking up with a lot of partners. Hookup culture promises that drama will be avoided while sexual experience will be gained. Years of discussions with young people about sexual norms confirms that hooking up actually leads to a lot of below average sex and drama. No matter how hard people try to spin hookup sex as no big deal, they privately admit that they become consumed by wondering about how sex could be better, the imbalance of interest, and the effort to mask any emotional interest.
It is amazing how sex leads to having kids, and having kids doesn’t lead to much sex. Sex drive can be elusive and require a conscious effort to keep it on the radar, especially with kids. Bruce and I often assume vacation will be a great sex opportunity, until we find ourselves in a house with thin walls, creaky floors and squeaky twin beds with our extended family. These factors are not obstacles for Bruce. He tolerates my stealth Navy Seal hand signals along with the shushing and pauses. It turns out that Ninja vacation sex is not that randy.
Many women complain that the biggest obstacle to enjoying sex is getting focused enough to start the engine. Aside from the legitimate stressors and busyness, many women fail to notice the random opportunities to help shift the mindset. Fantasy is not only healthy and normal, but it can veer your mind away from to-do lists and stress opportunities. Action follows thought. For me, catching an interview with Tom Brady jumpstarts a morsel of a sexual thought on which I can capitalize. I always send Brady back to the locker room once I have decided to have sex. As my mother told me, “Once you decide to have sex, you never regret it.” Continue reading →
I used to anticipate “family joy” with giddiness as we embarked on a hike, outing, vacation, or dinner out together as a five-pack. It wasn’t too far into our parenting journey that I learned how my expectations, hopes and agendas could turn special time together into a slog.
We had been waiting to have full family day of skiing. As innkeepers, one of us would usually have to serve the guests at Pierce’s Inn while the other parent took the kids skiing. It was also rare for the NH weather and snow conditions to align enough to make a family day of skiing tolerable. Then there is the fact that the reality of taking little kids skiing isn’t as fun as it is in theory. One forgotten ski pole, glove or neck warmer is a recipe for a horrible day of negotiating unsatisfactory replacements patched together from our own ski bags and those of friends. Continue reading →
Cindy Pierce will be presenting her new book, Sex, College and Social Media: A Commonsense Guide to Navigating the Hookup Culture this Wednesday, January 18th at the Norwich Bookstore at 7:00 PM
In her new book. Sex, College, and Social Media: A Commonsense Guide to Navigating the Hookup Culture, raconteur Pierce weaves together expert opinions, personal anecdotes, and the real feedback of today’s college and high school students, to help make those difficult conversations a little less difficult for everyone.
Please make a reservation by phone (802-649-1114) or email (email@example.com)
This is a Dog House warning for the fellas. It is Christmas crunch time. You have probably seen the Beware of the Dog House video. Worth reviewing!
This is the time when you really need to lock in and stay focused on reality. Resist the temptation to buy the woman you love house cleaning gear and lingerie (this word is so foreign to me I had to look up how to spell it). I have personally witnessed some unfortunate Christmas Dog-House-inducing moments. One man’s crunch time purchase of a negligee and granny sweater for his wife of many years was a double jab that went over like a turd in the punchbowl. Despite his good intentions, his wife and all the females who witnessed the offering bossed him into going back into the retail madness to return the items. Continue reading →
American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales makes it resoundingly clear that the impact of social media is moving so quickly that even teenage consumers struggle to manage their social lives. Parents and educators feel left behind and therefore reluctant to face the complicated reality their kids are navigating. Some parents choose to avoid the conversation because they don’t feel equipped. Many parents cross their fingers and hope it works out for their kids, counting on their kids to apply the values they taught them to this social arena, unfamiliar to parents. The social lives of kids are played out through their phones on multiple platforms invisible to most adults. While our kids are scrambling to stay socially relevant on their screens, it can appear that everything is fine. Without clear evidence of an issue or incident, parents don’t see the need to step in and guide their kids. When the drama and complexity of a situation is forced out of the virtual world into full view, parents are often shocked when it is clear how entangled their kids have become in social media. Continue reading →
“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company; gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
—Socrates, 470/469–399 BC
Even a couple millennia ago, elders as revered as Socrates were worrying about the poor manners and morals of the young. Socrates, people! Adults’ observations of kids have not changed. The context in which kids grow up, however, changes radically with each generation. Parents and educators must give kids increasing independence and responsibilities while at the same time providing guidance and advice along the way. It’s a dicey balance. The parenting adventure is filled with conflict, delight, overstepping of bounds, recalibration, missed cues, getting off track, realignment, connection, miscommunication, and rebooting. The relationship between parent and child is ever changing, and requires an open heart and a willingness to invest in what matters. Continue reading →
Usually the most valuable conversations are the most difficult ones. When Cindy Pierce visited Proctor Academy’s campus Tuesday, an anticipation of discomfort and curiosity preceded her separate conversations with students and faculty, which meant we knew this meant it would be time well spent! As Pierce noted at the beginning of her conversation, “In order to get to the other side of awkward, you have to wade through awkward soup.”
A social sexuality expert and comic storyteller, Pierce masterfully entertained and educated our community on how we can better navigate cultural, media, and peer pressures students are facing. We each left Pierce’s presentation with our minds spinning around shocking statistics on adolescent use of pornography, the hookup culture, and how technology interweaves throughout these very real issues for adolescents. Underlying each of these topics is an incredibly important theme for us to hear: students need to practice social courage in order to exhibit it when it matters most. Continue reading →