Sunday, May 28, 2006

"And then Mommy puts her finger in Daddy's..."

A little while back, Steff at the Cunting Linguist wrote an interesting post about kids and sex education, related to how schools tend to focus strictly on the biological facts of sex rather than also include education on all the important emotional issues and other relationship skills that surround sexuality.

She certainly has a good point—maybe if we stopped teaching kids that sex was just about insertion, pregnancy (avoidance of), and STDs, and taught them how to actually have healthy relationships with people, there would actually BE less inappropriate insertion, pregnancy, STDs, and who knows—even fewer bad marriages/relationships and/or divorces later on.

But the point of this post is not about that, actually. Steff also stressed that these relationship skills also don’t get taught outside of school; and often, in fact, even the biological stuff doesn’t get touched by most family members and other responsible adults in kids’ life.

Right around the time she wrote this, I ended up in a group discussion where people were all sharing their childhood models of intimacy and their parents’ attitudes about sexuality when they were growing up. It's not the first time I've been in such a scenario, and it’s always weird for me. I sit there, and everyone talks about how they rarely ever saw their parents kiss or hug or tell each other they loved each other. They talk about how their parents never told them anything about sex, or one of their parents told them sex was terrible and at best just something to be endured until it was over. They talk about how they never even WANTED to see their parents as sexual beings, that it was too weird. They talk about the funny (but on another level, sad) myths they learned through friends or other faulty sources. They talk about some of the damaging mistakes they made because no one gave them any information.

And then it comes around to me and I have to share my experience. And I tell them how my parents taught me about sex before I’d entered kindergarten. How they’d read me this very comforting and age-appropriate book called “How Babies are Made” that showed how flowers, and chickens, and doggies, and humans have sex and reproduce (with images of paper cut-out art—hard to describe, but this allowed for the depiction of nudity without too much in-your-face detail). I explain how at every stage of my childhood, my parents were open to questions about sexuality and had reading material prepared and at the ready for when I would ask those questions. About how they didn’t make nudity a big deal or anything to feel ashamed about, and so I actually sometimes saw my parents naked when I was a kid. How saying "I love you" was standard at my house. How my dad used to grab my mom and kiss her in the middle of cleaning up after dinner. How as a teenager, when we were on vacations, my parents would ask me to watch my younger sister so they could go back to the hotel room and “have some privacy together” (“...And if you come back, don't knock or come in unless you see the shades are back up”). How when I was getting older, my mom told me that she thought I shouldn’t have sex until I was married, but if I ever decided I was going to, I should come to her so she could help me get good birth control. How I knew what kind of birth control my parents used, and that my dad actually showed me what my mom’s diaphragm looked like when I asked to see it. That my mom bought my dad a subscription to Playboy for a birthday gift--and they let us kids look at the magazines if we wanted to, because “the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.” How my parents insisted I take a full semester of sex education as an elective in high school.

All this is true. And when I tell this story, I usually get one of two reactions:
  1. Horror (“You saw your parents NAKED? You knew when your parents were having SEX? Your mom bought your dad a subscription to PLAYBOY?”) -OR-

  2. Envy (“I wish my parents had been able to be so straightforward about sexuality—that sounds so healthy.”)
In either case, before these verbal responses, it usually results in people staring at me like I’m a freak. Which shows me my experience is pretty damn rare.

I was always comfortable and proud of my parent’s age-appropriate openness about sexuality. I feel in many ways it saved me from a number of sex-related mistakes many of my friends made growing up.

Of course, in other ways, it’s created other problems. Being someone raised with healthy sexual/relationship models in a world of people raised with dysfunctional ones still creates clashes for me. People don’t have my experience, so they can’t relate to me on that level.

But anyway, more to the point: In reading Steff’s post, I got to thinking. My parents certainly did better than most, if my discussions with others on the topic have been any guideline. I’m happy about that, and I give them real kudos for this. Most especialy, I give them kudos for letting me know I could ask them about anything and actually meaning it. They never made me feel ashamed or embarassed when I did ask them something.

From them, I learned about intercourse and love and menstruation and reproduction and birth control and shame-free desire. And for this, I truly thank them.

But after reading Steff's post, I thought about it some more. And after thinking about it, I realize that despite all of the above, there was still a lot of stuff they left out, or never said specifically, which I had to absorb for myself. For instance, they never told me specifically that:
  1. People had sex for other reasons than having babies. As the title of the book they read to me at five pretty much implies, they taught me sex was something that “mommies and daddies” do when they “are in love with each other” and want to create a baby. This made sense at the time they read it to me--my mother was pregnant, and they wanted me to understand what was going on with her. They did make me understand that they had sex together as an expression of their love for each other. But there was never any clear discussion of the fact that people had sex all the time, whether they wanted babies or not. This became clear as I got older, and there was the implication my parents had sex and enjoyed it a lot despite being past wanting more kids, but it was never “taught” to me as a truism early on that sex was, well...just plain fun.

  2. People had sex when they weren’t married. My parents didn’t believe in sex before marriage. I’m fairly certain based on things I’ve heard them say that they were both virgins themselves when they got married. Of course, through media I absorbed fairly quickly that people did it even when they weren’t married, but my parents always explained this to me as being a “not-the-best-choice” scenario. I could tell they thought the people who did that were devaluing what they saw as the sacredness of loving sex. And there was some sense they gave off, though they never said it out loud exactly, that people who chose to engage in pre-marital sex were stupid, misguided, and asking for trouble—and that the sex was meaningless and probably not as good.

  3. There were sensations involved with sex besides feeling love for each other. I had no idea that the word “orgasm” existed was until I was a pre-teen and read the phrase “I came, and then he came” in a book (Judy Blume’s Forever) and asked about it. To my mom’s credit, when I asked her what that meant, she told me immediately. But I remember how surprised I was that she hadn’t told me this kind of thing before. And I also remember asking her to describe to me what an orgasm felt like (poor Mom, what an impossible question to answer!) and her floundering around for a few minutes without words, and then just blurting out “Good!” in this frustrated, I-can’t-do-better-than-that way. Heh.

  4. People had other kinds of sex other than coitus. I can’t even remember when I discovered people had oral, anal, etc. sex, but it wasn’t via my parents. I can’t remember asking them about it, either, once I knew.

  5. People you knew could possibly attempt to sexually assault you, and how to recognize the signs of that, and what to do when faced with such a situaton. Obviously, given some of my previous posts, this would have been a good thing to be educated on.

  6. That homosexuality existed. Sex was presented to me as a straight hetero thing. And at some point growing up, after I discovered homosexuality existed and then asked my mother about it, I remember her telling me it was a psychological condition, and implying “those people” were confused and messed up. It was a fairly common belief at the time, and even presented as "fact" in contemporary adult sex books back then, so I guess it’s not surprising she said this, though it’s disappointing. Nowadays, she swears up and down she NEVER said that, but I remember it very clearly. And in truth, even now, though they try their best to be open and nonjudgmental about the topic these days, my parents are at least to some degree closet homophobes.

  7. Adults masturbated, and how. It’s funny. I remember learning fairly early on (before grade school was out) about boys having "wet dreams." But when teaching me about that, no one actually told me that boys could induce the same effect when NOT dreaming. My parents never denied the existence of masturbation, and as I got older I’m fairly sure they acknowledged its existence to me and never implied it was unhealthy, but they never taught me anything specific about it, either. Learning to masturbate was a self-taught thing for me, and I remember being concerned as a kid that I might not be doing it the “right way,” because I didn’t know what the “right way” was, and I was too embarrassed to ask anyone to check.
So there were a few things left off the plate when I was getting taught the facts of life.

Honestly, none of this ever occurred to me before, because in comparison to everyone I knew, I’d always had the most information about sexuality, and my family had always been the most open. I guess I felt I couldn’t expect more if my parents’ level of openness already put me in the “freaky” category in a lot of people’s eyes. But looking at this list…well, yeah, even they could have done an even better job.

The one thing I will say is that they were always open for discussion of these things, which was great. But their way of judging age-appropriateness in many situations was to wait until the child had questions, and then be well prepared to answer them responsibly. It was a good method, but not foolproof, because some things you don’t know to ask until someone else tells you. And if no one tells you…well…

Most of the topics listed above I eventually got information on in that high school sex ed class my parents made me take. The teacher of that course was great and very open, and in retrospect I have to give her a lot of credit for what a terrific job she did. But even she didn't answer everything.

And Steff is right; though I had a fairly good model of a working relationship in my parents, no one at school OR at home gave me specific instruction on what makes for a healthy relationship. And that’s important information.

So now…what did your parents teach you? What did they leave out? Do you think parents should talk to kids, or is that just too uncomfortable a situation for kids, to be discussing sex with a parent? Did anyone have any good instruction beyond the biological aspects on things like how to build healthy relationships and handle the emotional aspects of sexuality? What do you think should be discussed with children when it comes to sex and relationships? At what age? Should you bring it up, or should they? How much information is too much? Too little?

And if you have kids, what do they think about/want from you in this arena? Have you ever asked?

Share and share alike.


Anonymous Darkhawk said...

I think my parents were deeply uncomfortable with the whole concept of sex and sexuality, at least in the "talking about it" sense. When I hit the edges of puberty, they handed me a copy of What's Happening to My Body Book for Girls and told me to come to them if I had any questions. At one point I asked for one of the author's other books, and it was provided to me. (I still have them stashed somewhere.)

I'm honestly not sure where I came by a lot of my knowledge. The "sex education" that was available to me in schools was pretty damn terrible. I read a great deal, mostly fiction at that age, which means that I had a fair sense of the range of relationship stuff out there.

My parents, I thought, modelled a pretty good stable partnership up until the point that they drastically stopped doing so. I knew they fought sometimes, and I learned that people could fight and it not be the end of the world. They were generally affectionate with each other for most of my childhood.

I do tend to think that the emotional education for supporting relationships is worse than the physical education for it, and I'm not really impressed with that. (I'm of the belief that knowledge about sex should be broadly available, not histrionic, and balanced so that people have the knowledge to make responsible choices. Further, I think that this should be started well before hormone carbonation sets in so that it might possibly have set in enough to make a difference.)

One thing I'm glad I didn't learn from my parents: body-shame and false modesty. I have memories of showering with my mother and of sitting on the seat of the toilet to talk with my father when he was taking a bath; both of these stopped by the time I was old enough to be embarassed by it, but it gave me a base sense of, "People have bodies. This is normal" to work with.

I did a lot of work on figuring out my sexuality on my own, really. I was aware fairly young that I liked boys -- or at least a couple of specific boys -- in a way that I was pretty sure was tangled up in adult stuff that I didn't quite get yet. I was aware of a couple of my kinks before I menstruated. I found a few books with scenes that turned me on and I studied them -- intensely -- trying to figure out what that was all about.

My husband probably operated similarly, but he worked in a library between the ages of fourteen and sixteen, and cheerfully read the entire science fiction section and all the sex manuals while there. (I've been teasing him about this for over ten years, why stop now?)

I watched soap operas with my mother when I was little. (She got addicted to the things when she was pregnant with my brother, because she wasn't moving around much and so wanted to aim herself at something.) What I feel I got out of that was this sense that people could fuck up relationships -- that the myth of "when you're in love it all magically works out" wasn't actually true. I also figure that this is part of my context for, I think, never having had any belief that all people were going to be monogamous -- all the people in soap operas who try monogamy are so bad at it!

I don't think, looking back on it as an adult, that my parents were well-equipped to teach me about how to deal with relationships; neither of them is really good at it. I think, though, that my father's relationship with me was a good founding for dealing with relationships with people in general, and I've seen myself replicating it with others, particularly in the level of support and investment that I put into partnerships and expect from my partners.

I do think in many ways I'm better off not dealing with my parents for sexual advice; I keep coming back to the memory of the time I asked, in a fit of something or other, if my mother had ever wondered why my first boyfriend -- the one who assaulted me -- had stopped calling, and she sort of shrugged and said, "I figured he'd forced himself on you." As if this was a matter of no account. (And I'm pretty sure this is her coping method for dealing with her own past, this treating it like it doesn't matter, but ... I still wind up feeling shaken by it whenever I think of it.)

The bit of the 'What's happening to my body?' book that I read over and over was the chapter about relationships, romantic love, and the like. I think there's still a piece of clean dental floss stuck in my copy in that chapter, something to make it easy to locate. I wanted more; more wasn't there to find.

Okay, that was sort of rambly and incoherent, but so are my memories of the subject, so I suppose that's appropriate ....

5/28/2006 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Buck said...

I'm trying something new and responding before I have time to think.

My first reaction upon reading this: you ask for way too much.

I'm still questioning that, but here's another thought: no one's ever going to tell you everything you need to know when it comes to sex. One of the most important skills you can teach, maybe, is self reliance.

Bias: my parents were lacking in a lot of parenting skills. I'm not just talking sex here. But as for sex, they told me nothing, and any other interaction we had on the subject was negative. On the other hand, they were always extremely passionate about, and obviously in love with, each other. So that's a mixed bag.

The only other authority I might have recieved sex ed from would have been the very traditional catholic schools I attended. You can guess how that went.

I was about to say that it's intrusive to give kids information unsolicited, but then it hit me that my fondest memory of childhood is an impromptu math lesson delivered by my father. However there's still the issue of breaching the "personal" barrier.

I think you've got to show understanding and tact, and there isn't one straight answer - it depends on your kid. They should get their sex ed. from their parents, but how they get it (and how much) can't be decided by a formula.

Sex ed by neccessity includes relationship ed. And self care ed, which includes boundaries.

So if my kids come to me with a question, I'll answer them. Sometimes, if it's appropriate, I'll add extra information that they might not have thought about. Or send them elsewhere for information. Or maybe something else entirely -- I don't know, it hasn't happened yet.

At the end of the day, it's really about attitude. It's about not underestimating your kids and giving them honest and respectful answers. Beyond that it's just details, because what they really take away is how you approach sex. And as long as you do it in a healthy way, so will they.

5/28/2006 3:22 PM  
Blogger scribe called steff said...

I really enjoyed reading your post, and think it's great that it's in response to my pushing a button or two for ya.

It's amazing how a "good job" of raising kids can still be so vastly improved upon. The person above me said that no one's ever going to teach you everything to know... and it's a shame that we're so resigned to believing that. It's unlikely anyone will ever teach us all we need to know, but wouldn't it be great if they DID? Is it really so wrong to hope that might happen?

Ah, well. It's sad, but it's true; it's not often we learn the things we ought to learn, and in the end, it really does impact our ability to become the kind of mature adults we ought to be, on the right kind of timeline.

5/28/2006 3:53 PM  
Anonymous Buck said...


"...The person above me said that no one's ever going to teach you everything to know... and it's a shame that we're so resigned to believing that. It's unlikely anyone will ever teach us all we need to know, but wouldn't it be great if they DID? Is it really so wrong to hope that might happen?..." --Steph

That was me. You can call me Buck, Steph. I read the lines above and had to jump back in because I like my imperfect world.

I don't think it's a shame at all. I don't feel resigned when I say that no one person will ever teach us all we need to know. I feel liberated. I'm grateful for it.

More than that, I think it's a very important thing to remember and value. Not getting everything from me means that my kids will find some wisdom that's completely their own, something that I don't give them. I think that will enrich us both, and I'll be proud of them when it happens. I'm honestly looking forward to it. I guess you could say that's my hope, but more than that it's my expectation.

It's gonna be fantastic.

5/28/2006 4:58 PM  
Blogger Cherrie said...

This a a great topic, and I can see offshoots from it continuing our discussion for days.

So I'll be brief: My parents--nada. Nothing. I learned what little I knew from books I sneaked into the house, till I started having sex myself. (And I've told you that story already.)

By the time I had kids, I was determined to prepare them better for life. So I talked to them about sex as they grew older and realized why grownup people did certain things. Like Darkhawk's parents, we were casual about nudity and my daughters knew what grownups looked like at an early age. The fact that my man and I had a on-and-off menage a trois with another woman during their formative years helped open their eyes in a non-threatening, this-is-OK way. I'm glad to say they've grown up happy and satisfied, though they kid us incessantly about our always-affectionate behavior toward each other and my trysts with my lovers.

The suggestion that parents tell kids about sex when they have questions is a good one, and I can only add that sex should be portrayed as a positive, constructive force in life if we want them to be responsible adults.

5/28/2006 5:49 PM  
Anonymous Darkhawk said...

Speaking of "casual about nudity", I have a vague memory of informing my mother (I was probably around five) that I refused to grow pubic hair because I thought it looked silly.

Her response was noncommittal amusement. :}

5/28/2006 8:16 PM  
Blogger Shon Richards said...

My parents taught me nothing. They thought I wasn't old enough to have any sex and so I shouldn't knw anything. They were mad as hell about sex ed in school but also looked at it like they got to skip having do themselves.

I have often discussed with my wife the desire to be 100% open with our future kids. I found your history interesting because I can clearly see the spots they miss and how importantthat can be.

5/28/2006 10:46 PM  
Blogger spcknght said...

My parents taught, like so many others, apparently, taught me nothing about sex and sexuality. My main source was in books that I happened across in my hours of parusing Waldenbooks in our local mall (the store pretty much doubled as teen daycare for my mom, who seemed to welcome the break to be alone and shop)--The Joy of Sex and Joys of Fantasy were my guides, and just to confuse matters, The Joy of Gay Sex and The Joy of Lesbian Sex were also parused on the bookshelf right alongside with them.

My only "lesson" with sexuality from my parents was being severely punished when I was caught mastrubating at the early age of 5, and teaching the neighborhood kids on how to do it as well. To this day I think that's why I have an aversion to spanking.

And, of course, growing up in the Bible belt, sex ed was virtually non-existent in school. Thank goodness for ONE biology teacher in High School, who, at great risk to her job, taught the different methods of birth control over several classes. Had she been turned in by one of my fellow classmates, she would have pretty much been blacklisted from teaching anywhere in SE Virginia.

My relational exposure to sex was severly limited as I was painfully shy around girls, even through my college years. My family was never really intimate, and I know this hampered my first marriage to the point of where certain events (invitation to swinging events, etc) eventually contributed to the ending of said marriage, but were learning lessons in human behavior.

5/29/2006 12:42 AM  
Blogger scribe called steff said...

sorry, buck, i'd meant to check for your name and had that in as a reminder to myself, but my phone rang, i typed in the rest, and split to chat with my guy for a few before i jetted out the door. busy, busy!

i think it being a process of discovery is great, too, but i really think there are very important foundations that are NOT being laid by most parents, and more of that needs to happen, by far.

5/29/2006 2:22 AM  
Blogger Roberta said...

I don't know if I can straightforwardly answer this question; there are so many complications in trying to determine how I learned what, and why. The 'why' means, I know that from a very young age I was shut down and unwilling to hear about anything sexual from any version of a parent (I had bunches of parents). My parents, who seem, as characters, to be open and educational, all forgot to tell me anything, (and I get really jealous when I hear about these books! My family; we were all so smart and liberal and I think there was this assumption that I already knew everything; and if anyone did check in with me (Roberta, if you have any questions...), I think I would have assumed that role -- as the precocious girl who already knew everything -- rather than risk the embarrassment of an actual conversation. I learned bits and pieces from Judy Blume, and I did go to my sister for some technical questions… When I was, 12-ish? Older? I got my hands on the Hite Report. (God I only just this second remembered that.) But I always retained that perfect child’s ability to not take in what I did not understand. I didn’t understand pleasure at all. Even reading that material, I never related to desire or pleasure; my body felt it but I was SO cut off from it.
Is this coming off as confusing? I’m confused writing it, which doesn’t touch how confused I must have been then.
My mom and stepfather kissed and loved, but I never knew about anything more.
My dad’s house was a hippie, sexually inappropriate no-boundaries world. There was too much sexuality for me to understand it all.
Somehow these two worlds left me sexually curled up in a ball.
I think also it’s important to consider that the personality of a child, (of a person), will affect how the information is processed. How parents, or the world, present it to one kid will not necessarily be absorbed the same. (Each of my siblings processed all of this completely differently.) And this world that we live in is overloaded, especially these days. with messages about sex; we have not managed to demystify it yet, so I think it will remain a rarity for a child to just process it cleanly and clearly, despite all our best efforts.
Okay, there’s mechanics, pleasure, and relationship.
No one ever, not ever, spoke to me about how the latter two affect the first.
There’s a wonderful Rosanne episode (I looked for the telescript and couldn’t find it, but it’s Season 3, Episode 3), where Rosanne needs to speak to her daughter Becky about birth control because she thinks she’s going to have sex, and Rosanne’s sister Jackie questions Rosanne… That’s it? Just birth control? What about the rest of it? What about the feelings? (this is me from memory; the conversation was likely probably completely different.)
I watched that show, as an adult, and was moved by it. It was the first time it occurred to me that yeah, someone might have warned me.
No one in my family ever told me not to have sex, but I had plenty of girlfriends who were told not to. Except no one ever told any of us why we might even want to. No one told us about the drowsy, languid feelings that come with a boy (or girl) touching you just right, whispering things to you, or about how overwhelming that could be.
Or about how having sex with someone is about writhing and sweating naked with someone and how weird that might feel afterwards and THAT’S why you might want to wait.
Me, I’m a whole lot less shut down these days, but I’m still working it all out.

5/29/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Kochanie said...

Miss Syl and readers:

An excellent post and commentary, thank you.

Your parents should be commended for the sexual education they provided, especially in view of the fact that they were probably virgins when they married. Think of what their sex education was like, if it existed at all, and for them to provide you with such a healthy open environment is, IMO, quite an achievement. In fact, I am so impressed, I want to send them a box of Godiva Chocolates, A VERY BIG BOX. Since I respect their privacy and yours, Miss Syl, you will have to do it on my behalf. ;)

I was as much an autodidact when it came to sex, as I was with many other areas of essential wisdom. My mother was so reluctant to discuss anything about sex, that my older sister figured it out for herself. Our older cousin was in medical school at the time, and my sister and I spent a lot of time looking at his textbooks. Believe me, the anatomy texts were far more enjoyable than the pathology texts. While I was aware of the difference between male and female sex organs, I hadn't really figured out how they fit together, until my sister gave me the crucial piece of information.

I was about 8 at the time, and I do remember my first reaction: "Whoever thought of this is a genius!" (God must have felt so flattered, that He/She/They gave me the gift of insatiable curiosity which I have to this day.)

Considering all the repressed feelings my mother had about sex, it was so much better to learn this on my own, which is why I agree with Buck's statement:
One of the most important skills you can teach, maybe, is self reliance.

This post about the openness of your parents when discussing sex with you brought to mind another post of yours, Miss Syl: When Talking Dirty Turns Ugly: Where's Your Line in the Sand? Many people believe that their feelings of embarassment or even shame concerning sex were the dubious legacy of their parents. Your childhood experience was certainly one of the most positive that I have ever read about. And yet, you still felt ashamed when a lover made a rather dumb statement to you while the two of you were making love. I had a very similar experience with a lover, and my reaction is very much like yours:

But even after all this time, thinking of that comment still makes me feel angry and mortified on some level. And for some reason, I'm hugely embarrassed to admit even now, despite knowing how stupid a thing it was to say (which the guy in question immediately realized and apologized profusely for afterwards).

My reason in pointing this out is not to cause you further embarassment, but to point out that the toxic messages that we can pick up from our peers and our culture can be just as damaging as those we acquire from our parents and siblings.

While sex education and relationship education in schools may seem somewhat lame, for some children that is going to be the only game in town, or at least, the only sex positive message they will receive. So no matter how inept we may think that public programs may be, they are truly better than nothing.

5/29/2006 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Tory said...

My mom taught sex was enjoyable and people did it. She has always been open about it and too open about her experiences now that she is single. The only thing I can remember my Pops telling me is "keep your dick in your pants." Which was a wierd situation because I was 9 years old asking him if he could take me and my girlfriend to the skating rink friday night.

Parents have to talk to their kids about sex. It might be uncomfortable and difficult but it is your job as a parent to prepare your kid to be an adult. If your child doesnt know about the sex then they will be ill prepared to enter adulthood. Sex is a crucial aspect to life. What I say and when I talk to my son will dependent on him. I might not tell him everything I know but I will surely go beyond the basics. Hopefully I wont let my idealogy give a bias interpertation of what sex is, how, when and between which 2 people should perform it.

I never got information on the emotional aspect of sex or relationships. To say that my parents were dysfunctional is an understatement. I never saw my parents all lovely dovey. My mom was a drug addict who was extra affectionate because her parents werent at all. My father came from an alcoholic father and a schizophrenic mother. I dont think he ever learned to show how he felt. I just dont think he had those tools to do that. I have only seen my father cry 3 times. Twice at funerals and when he re-married. He seems a lot better with emotions now with my step-sister but still lacks.

5/30/2006 5:16 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<<Back to Sexeteria home