It's no coincidence that the topics of rape culture and being bossy are trending at the same time. How do you tear a bossy woman down a few notches? Threaten rape.
As a society, we're on the verge of a breakthrough on these topics. I believe we're going through the process of shedding false belief that don't serve us anymore, and these collective breakthroughs will improve our lives.
What are we breaking through?
Last year, sex therapist and radio personality Sue McGarvie gave a presentation to a group of 30 mothers on "Talking to Your Kids About Sex."
A conversation started up about knowing when you are ready to have sex. Sue's opinion was that boys and girls are ready when they can get completely naked in front of the other person with the lights on, allowing ample time for inspection of each other as a final check against any obvious signs of sexually transmitted diseases.
Of course the audience laughed, and groaned.
One mom spoke up. "I just think it's better for my daughter to wait. All boys just want sex, and they'll use her."
Sue jumped in "The girls want sex too - just as much. But they won't admit that to a parent who is telling them to wait."
Another woman chimed in. "My son is 15 and is completely ready for sex. If girls are to wait, who is there for him to have sex with?"
Great point. Through a mix of biology and exaltation, we have bestowed specific powers on men and women. Men have the gift of physical power. Women have the gift of sexual power.
We worship men's physicality at the altar of sport and aggressive action at work. If this power is taken from a man, it is competition. At worst, he is an emasculated wimp.
The full expression of the power of physical strength is pursuing your interests in all areas of physical opportunity. The responsibility of this gift is to share it, allowing women to fully express themselves physically as well.
Women have the power of sex. Entire industries are based on it (beauty, fashion porn) or attempts are made to cover it completely (some Muslim and Jewish ultra-orthodox societies, etc). Men want it bad, women bestow it on the deserving. Let's face it. The only way for a man to have complete control over when and where he has sex is to pay for it. If this power is taken from a woman, it is rape. At worst, she is a killed for dishonoring her family.
The joy in the gift of female sexuality is pursuing your interests in all areas of sexual opportunity. The responsibility of this power is to share it, allowing men to fully express themselves sexually as well.
And now, we are breaking through limiting beliefs that have perverted this power.
Women should be demure, in matters of sex and work to be liked. Women can be overtly sexual, but should apologize for offending anyone.
So I tell my three young daughters, while keeping my friends' sons in mind:
You have the power of sexuality. Step into it and embrace it fully. It is yours. You get to choose to have as much sex as you want, with as many partners as you want. You have complete control over your body and it is your responsibility to keep your body safe and healthy. You are under no obligation to have sex with anyone, ever.
With the power of sexuality comes responsibility. Be aware that we live in a culture where men are taught that they want sex more than women, and that may be true sometimes. Share their lust and enthusiasm with them, even though you may not choose to have sex with them at that moment. You can say "no" or "no thank-you" in ways that are firm and kind.
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