Jim’s Dad: Sex-Positive Parenting Done Right
With the new American Pie sequel coming out into theaters, I thought that it was high time I finally sat down and watched the current trilogy. Until this last weekend, I had never seen these movies before. I have never watched Dawson’s Creek, or (until recently) Friends, and Sex and the City. I also laughed at the end of Titanic, and I’ve never seen any of the movies in the Scream, I Know What You Did Last Summer, or Final Destination franchises either. I know, I know. I’m a terrible example of the Millennial generation.
I was, of course, thinking about Nice Girls as I watched the American Pie movies. There was one particular character that piqued my interest. While all of the main female characters in these movies are comfortable with expressing their sexuality (and I found that incredibly refreshing), it was Jim’s Dad that really got my attention.
There are innumerable coming-of-age movies where the main character is trying to date or have sex with their high school crush, and there is almost always some situation where the main character’s parents completely freak out or give callous and inappropriate advice. Jim’s Dad is the first parental character I’ve ever seen who doesn’t lecture or have some sort of an over-emotional tantrum when faced with their child’s burgeoning sexuality. In fact, throughout all of Jim’s improbable, embarrassing, and outright inane sexual antics, Jim’s Dad always reacts in a calm, supportive, and sex-positive fashion. Although Jim (and the viewer, by extension) is often embarrassed by the advice given, Jim’s Dad endeavors to understand and encourage his son through Jim’s frustrations and experiences as he gives unabashedly factual and blunt sexual information.
I can easily imagine Jim’s Dad (in the fictional American Pie universe, of course) explaining to two-year old Jim that touching himself is okay, but that it should be done in private. Or answering questions about sex with age-appropriate factual information. If he came out as gay, or bisexual, or felt that his biological gender did not match his identity, I am sure that Jim’s Dad would have been an incredibly supportive and loving resource as Jim engaged with those emotional struggles.
I am sure that although my generation found Jim’s Dad to be occasionally embarrassing and oblivious to his son’s discomfort, we found him to be a pretty cool dad (and I am sure that some of my generation even wished that our parents were just as cool about sex). This is the kind of parent and role-model I aspire to be, and I am reasonably confident that I have succeeded so far.
Have I missed any other examples of sex-positive parenting in movies or television? If you are a parent, or plan to be at some point in the future, will you also approach your child’s sexuality with a sex-positive mindset, factual advice, love, and support?