Rachel Resnick’s Advice on Sex Education
Rachel Resnick is the author of the Los Angeles Times bestseller Go West Young F*cked-Up Chick and Love Junkie. She has published articles, essays, and celebrity-profile cover stories in the Los Angeles Times, Women's Health, and BlackBook, The Time of My Life, Damage Control, The Dictionary of Failed Relationships, The Best American Erotica 2004, Women on the Edge, L.A. Shorts, and Absolute Disaster. She is also a contributing editor at Tin House magazine. Resnick is the founder and CEO of Writers on Fire, provider of luxury writing retreats both in the United States and abroad.
Question: Did you suffer from other addictions?
Rachel Resnick: No. That’s why I was so self-righteous for so many years. I was the kid who was running after my mother, controlling, drawing a little… I drew a caricature of my mother when I was a kid. She was like overweight, her hair is frizzed out, she got a bottle of beer in one hand and cigarettes on the other, and I drew this cartoon and hand it to her and said “Ma, shape up. You know, come one. Get your act together.” And she folded it into her wallet and took it with her everywhere and when she would take me to bars at night when she was hitting on guys, flirting whatever, hours will go by, we’ll do my homework there and stuff. She would sometimes take this caricature out and unfold it and put it on the bar and start crying and, you know, I felt horrible about it, but I had that impulse to fix and control and I thought it was her, it was my dad, it was all these other people, they were the ones. And then I repeated that in adulthood choosing these guys who seems like they’re the ones who are ex-cons.
Question: What lessons would you pass on to your daughter about sex and love?
Rachel Resnick: Well, to be open about it, first of all, and absolutely you [need to] have a dialog about it but also not to be exposed too early, it is extremely potent and it’s a wonderful thing, but I was exposed too young because my mother didn’t have certain boundaries. And I remember my mother, it was in ‘70s too, so there was a little bit of that hippy thing, people didn’t know, but I remember her gathering my friends around when we were preteens, hey, let’s read Playboy and she would point out, you know, and I got overly stimulated and overly sophisticated when I couldn’t handle the potency of those images and I was sexualized. That… I said I wasn’t molested and I feel very grateful for that, but I did experience something called covert incest which is where the parents are being inappropriate. They’re talking about the relationships, they’re having sex in their room and you hear them, you’re like, ay, ay, ay, you know, and kids are sexual, okay? But they’re needed to be more responsibility in her part and more dialogs about it. She wasn’t in any place where she wouldn’t be able to do that but that’s something I would want to do if given the opportunity is to be open about it but also be respectful of what kids can handle at what stage. So, and also not separating it out, so it’s just sex, but sex as something sacred, sex has something and how does it fit in to other ways of relating to people because it’s really about this whole culture and me as one example running scared completely from really interacting, connecting, and having intimacy with other people and compassion.
Recorded on: September 30, 2008.
Rachel Resnick says it is important to be respectful of a child's maturity level when informing her about sex.