SS 107: Parenting & Non-Monogamy: Sex Positive Parenting Continued with Guest Airial Clark


Many of us in the lifestyle are parents and can sometimes feel alone when addressing issues regarding child development and age-appropriate ways of discussing sexuality. Airial Clark wowed us so much the last time she was on, we asked her to come back!

Today, Dylan stumbles over trying to figure out how not to repeat the “find your father's pornos” way of discovering sexuality, Shira appreciates the depth of knowledge Airial has on non-monogamous households and the benefits and extra issues that come with it, while Cooper just cracks a few jokes and laughs about breeders.

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Check out Airial Clark's site, The Sex-Positive Parent and follow her on Twitter @airialclark.

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A podcast about swinging, polyamory, open relationships, and "the lifestyle" from the trenches. A diverse group tackles many issues involved with non-monogamy and what it means to be a swinger or polyamorous from the point of view of educating and illuminating what, for many, is a confusing journey to start on. Subscribe on iTunes Subscribe on Stitcher Subscribe via RSS


  1. Dylan and Shira.. just a fellow breeder here to tell you that honestly no matter WHAT you do or say, something will end up not going the way you want, and many others will go better than you dream, so just do the best you can. Seriously. I have 3 sons, ages 24, 17, and 11. I like to beleive Ive done a decent job thus far, but know Ive probably scarred each of them for life SOMEHOW, and Ive always been the open, “cool” mom, talking to them about everything, at their level, whenever the opportunity arose. So how have I scarred them?

    My oldest – well he’s the oldest, so even though I took every opportunity to share wisdom, AND even though Im bisexual, and grew up with my parents each having a favored cousin who was an openly gale male, I still managed to have a complete freak out on him when I discovered he was printing pics of naked guys off my printer when he was like 14. Now mind *I* was freaking about him #1 using my computer, #2 surfing PORN on my computer, and then #3 that the porn was sooo off my radar of what I was expecting. However Im sure he took the entire freakout to be about his, what I perceived then was, homosexuality, but he has since said is bisexuality.

    This poor child I also dragged with me to the March for Women’s Lives in DC, a pro-choice rally, the largest peaceful demonstration in human history with something like 1.5 million people when he was 16, the same year he was my plant in the audience to scream the word “cunt” during my organization’s rendition of “The Vagina Monologues”. LOL. Though he DID tell ME the day he first had sex with a girl, and when he was older, did confess to ME he had entered the BDSM arena.

    Unlike the sneaky 17 year old. I thought we were doing better with him since we had gone through the “crash test dummy” phase with his poor brother. We started talking sooner, asking questions sooner, sticking the condoms in the drawer sooner, because this one in 3rd grade got suspended for PDA (holding hands) then again 7th grade for getting to 1st base behind the school. Alas he did not admit to me he was having sex until last year, when he TEXTED to me to tell me he and his GF “forgot the condom”. I launch into a barage of questions about why he didnt have a condom, and why didnt he just wait until he did, and why she isnt on the pill. Then finally just said, she had to tell her mother so she could get a Morning After script. Then the fun began, because her crazy ass mother decided no she wasnt going to the pharmacy, she would wait 3 days to see her GYN, who at that point then said it was too late for Plan B, they could use the copper IUD or just wait. And her mother, AN RN for god sake, made them wait the 2 weeks.

    Here is where being a parent of a boy SUCKS, you have NO say on whether or not a child comes into this world. My son didnt want a baby, his GF didnt want a baby, they are both on the track for military, but her mom…. her mom flat out said if she was pg she was having it, end of story. REALLY?

    Thank god that wasnt the case, but that two weeks I know I gave him hell about consequences, and making damned sure he never ever left it up to the female for birth control, because this was the crazy that could happen. And as it turned our, not just that crazy, last summer, the GF ended up threatening herself with a knife from my kitchen after he had broken up with her for the 3rd time. He left her there, went to my neighbor and called the police on her. Who then gave him hell about dating drama queens who would get him thrown in jail “next time” since he was about to then turn 17. The poor child hadnt had another GF since her until today.. prom is coming and all. Yet, he IS the white knight of his friends. The one the girls trust to call when they are having probs with their significant ohers, or at home. He is part of his GLSEN chapter, doing the anti-bullying campaigns at school, and even worked at my city’s Gay Pride this year and rode on my orgs float during the parade.

    Soooo the 11yr old. Crossing my fingers on him. He’s seen everything with his brothers, heard the stories, and can tell me what he thinks went wrong and what he would do instead. He is more contemplative than the other two, and thankfully there is media for him to contemplate. My favorite fodder for conversations with him, the TV show Glee. There have been so many episodes on that show which have been amazing doors for me to have important convos with both him and the 17yr old, about teen pregnancy, bullying, being gay, being bisexual, being transgendered, and soooo many other topics I cant even begin to remember. He likes the songs and the dance sequences, my little hiphop king, but he’s willing to have those convos about the issues too. He also worked at Pride last year, and rode the float… but of course his best friend is the son of 2 lesbians, one of whom is in transition FtM. Its a very different world for 11yr olds than even my oldest lived just 13 yrs ago.

    Soooo whose to say… doing a good job?? Scarring them for life?? I’m a Pagan bisexual non-monogamous politically opinionated gutter-mouthed Yankee in the Bible Belt in North Carolina, so I likely scar them just by EXISTING 😉

    • I took some crap for the -in the moment- agreement with the “sex as loaded gun” metaphor, and… just for the record, I do disagree with that metaphor.

      Raven you pretty much described one of my nightmares, the “so you’ve momentarily lost your perspective and had sex unprotected, now you may have to pay for the rest of your life” scenarios. Mostly because we all screw up and we all should know better, but sex, whether through sti or pregnancy can alter a life permanently and leave you at someone else’s mercy. That your son, even with the benefit of your experience still made the mistake makes me really have to think harder about how I’m going to approach the coming talks about protection.

      But doing the best we can… it sounds like you’re doing a wonderful job and that really gives me a lot of hope for the future, any current scarring of my child by the mere fact that I exist not withstanding. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing your stories, it really helps to hear how each of your sons are handling life and processing the education you’re giving them.

  2. Cooper… okay okay, you win. Verbose, though is entirely my problem, LOL. I need editing.

    Dylan – thank you. I will say it seems we all teach what we wish we had growing up, and Im not different, but sometimes we need to look at what our parents did that “worked” too.

    My mom was an RN working in an abortion clinic in the 60s before I was born, so I knew her feminist mind loud and clear, but when I asked about sex she told me “Its not that big a deal”. Oh really, this from the woman whose bedroom bookshelf had “The Joy of Sex”, ‘Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex.. but were afraid to ask”, “The Sensuous Woman”, and “The Story of O” in it. So I learned about sex, literally.. I mean literally literally, LOL. From those books and Xaviera Hollander from my dads Playboys (which he actually “willed” to my husband when he died). Of course not alot of safer sex in those books and so beleive me I had my share of problems that could have been avoided had someone actually talked to me, but my first boyfriend never did beleive that he was the first person I gave a blowjob too. Butterfly flick from “The Sensous Woman”, it apparently was awesomeness. LOL

    So the one thing I have repeated is keeping my sex, kink, and relationship style books on shelves in my room where they are easily accessible. I have never noticed any missing, but Im sure theyve been in them. Hubby also started giving my now 17yr old his old the swimsuit edition Sports Illustrated and Maxim magazines when he was done with them, somewhere around age 13 or 14. Just casual like, not really saying what he might do with them, just like “oh Im done with this, you want to take a look”. The last time I rearranged his room for company (his becomes the guest room), he still had a little cache of those in a bottom drawer in fact, LOL. And when they each got their own log on on the computer they use, I put Scarlet Teen as a favorite place on it, so at least there was ONE online reference point I felt comfortable with, if they were going to find their way to other stuff eventually anyway. And they WILL find it eventually anyway 😉

  3. Hey lovely Swingset people,

    An interesting article popped onto my twitter stream earlier this week and I immediately thought about this podcast because I remember Dylan and Shira struggling with the nuances of sex-positive parenting. The article is entitled, “The Healthy Sex Talk: Teaching Kids Consent, Ages 1-21”.

    I am not usually a big fan of The Good Men Project (I find their writings often veiled in misogyny and that broils my feminist identity), but this article actually has some excellent pragmatic advice so I wanted to share. Subsequently, cultivating a global culture of consent is one of my fantasies; so I believe teaching consent early and often to kids is a great habit so that they may enjoy healthy, joyful, and engaging sex lives of their own (one day).

    Keep being awesome,
    Alex 🙂

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