…let’s talk about the birds and bees…
Got your attention, didn’t I?
If you have kids over a certain age, chances are that at some point you did have THE TALK. My daughter is fourteen, so yes we had that talk a while ago. She asked rather clinical questions quite a bit earlier than my son.
A few days a go my son was amusedly and somewhat thoughtfully watching our Airedale terrier frantically copulating with a large pillow. ‘Mom’, he said, ‘humping must be very hard work, Archie is panting really hard.’ Cue : me falling of the bed laughing.
A few days later while watching Archie going through his night time routine of frantically violating the rights of the aforementioned pillow, my son asked ‘Mom, why is Archie doing that?’
Perfect, I thought. Here is an opportunity. But first I had to find out how much he actually already knew.
‘He is having sex, honey, do you know what that is?’
My son first appeared embarrassed at my bluntness and then he regained his nine year old bravado and said, ‘yea, sure!’
‘OK, tell me what you know.’ And upon that request he freely admitted that he didn’t know after all.
He already knew about sexual reproduction, and I further explained that after puberty sexually reproducing life forms are basically cued to want to reproduce, aka have sex. I explained that Archie was doing something that felt good and right to him. I explained that sex hormones were released in Archie’s testicles since he wasn’t neutered, and made him want to hump and that was normal. I didn’t go into the concept of masturbation, etc, although I did mention that even neutered dogs may hump.
He was content with that. We haven’t talked about penises, erections, nighttime ejaculations, vaginas etc. That comes later when he wants to know more.
The point I am making here is this: Talk with your kids about sex. It doesn’t need to be done all at once. Take your cue from your kid. My bear didn’t want to know more than I told him that day. My daughter knew all about the mechanics around age seven to eight years. She wanted to know and asked pointed questions until SHE was satisfied. My son, was satisfied with what he found out that evening and when he is ready will come ask me for more. Because he knows mom will explain and answer his questions without cutsey euphemisms or embarrassment.
My husband grew up in a very orthodox and restrictive household and NEVER ONCE learned anything about sex and sexuality from his parents. My mother on the other hand was open about it and we talked. Years ago my husband openly told me he wasn’t comfortable talking to his son about sex and he would let him discover it through school buddies like he did.
HELL NO!!!! This is a terrible disservice to our children.
I am not about to let my children learn about sexuality from their equally poorly informed classmates and buddies or even worse from Internet porn sites.
So, when the time comes I will talk to my son about sex, about sexuality. I will tell him eventually about events that will lead him to learn about the mysterious workings of the washing machine. We will discuss underage sex, it’s dangers and pitfalls. We will cover health topics that go with this information. We will discuss consent and cues and what true masculinity entails. And there will be plenty of talk about effective birth control and safe sex. And with all this I am sure there will be awkward moments for both of us.
But he is worth it. My children are worth it.