The latest movie by Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom, addresses the range of intense personal relationships from teen romance to adult romance to friendships, parenting, and more (click here to watch trailer).
While the scene where the 12-year-olds experiment with sexual intimacy would be much more appropriate at an older age, the conversation they displayed was healthier than the ones adults typically have.
The setup: the two preteens are in underwear because their clothes are drying out from swimming in the bay. They begin to hug as they kiss each other.
Female: “Its hard,” simply stated as a fact as she can feel his erection through the hug.
Male: “Hope that doesn’t offend you,” said in the most natural manner.
A few moments later:
Female: “You may touch my breast” at which point he puts his hand gently on her bra as if not to break anything.
The two characters were talking directly and respectfully. After the first kiss, the boys spits and then upon realizing his odd timing, he says, “I had sand in my mouth.” The awkwardness and the consideration of the moment were refreshing.
As I looked at my wife and sons (three are teenagers), I could see that all of us were captivated by the dialogue. It is tragically rare to hear a direct conversation of two people expressing themselves instead of assuming what was okay or not okay to do with each other.
If you are a parent, ask your children, “What did you think about how the teen couple talked to each other in the movie about their intimacy?” Your children’s answers will tell you a lot about how they view intimacy among teens. If they found the conversation refreshing, endorse the concept with them. If they found the moment to be funny because it was awkward, ask your teen what was awkward. In addition, you could ask, “Is it any more awkward than two people guessing with each other’s bodies, worried they could get rejected? or waiting forever for someone to touch them in a certain way?”
If you are a couple, try taking the approach these two preteens were willing to take with each other. Before becoming sexually active with each other, talk about where and how you want to be touched.
How do you wish “Hollywood” would change depictions of sexual intimacy between characters to represent more respect and while still being fun at the same time?