Sex – It's Complicated

Here’s a little inside baseball for you. Or, to put it more plainly, inside Metro Parent. People often ask me what goes into the design of our covers. How do we pick the kids? How do we choose the cover concepts? The cover copy?

Well, the kids by and large are chosen from our annual CoverKids contest. And if you didn’t know that and were hoping to enter your child, you’ll have to wait. Our contest just ended and we are announcing the winners in this very issue. But you can check out these cuties and choose among our runners-up for our Readers Choice Winner.

As far as the concepts, that’s where this month gets interesting.

I’d planned a feature on sex-positive parenting and really wanted it to be our cover. It’s an important story. A tough one. And whenever I was talking to my friends about it, it drummed up a lot of feelings. About how their own parents addressed sex with them and the challenges they face in broaching the subject – or simply acknowledging its existence – to their own kids.

But how do you depict a topic so touchy, so taboo on the cover when you’re featuring a child? The last thing we want to do is sexualize a child. Ick! And as you’ll read in this month’s issue, sex-positive parenting isn’t about proselytizing promiscuity. Far from it. But it does mean being mindful that you don’t send the wrong message to your kids in your attempt to protect them and their virtue. Bottom line: Sex isn’t dirty, but it’s complicated. And our hope is to make it easier for you to walk – or rather, talk – that line with your kids, so they can grow up to have healthy feelings about sex.

Anyway, back to our cover. I suggested we have a girl with a flower crown. I thought maybe it was a subtle and not-too-suggestive nod to our story. But we got cold feet. We opted not to connect it to our sex-positive feature. Instead, we went with the cover image but connected it to spring events instead.

What can I say? Sex is complicated – whether it’s in how you talk about it with your kids or how you present the topic to your readers.


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