Monday, June 9, 2014

It's not the birds and the's sex

Take a moment and recall the sex talk you had (or didn't have) with your parents. I got mine from my Mother after an episode of the Wonder Years in which the main character gets the sex talk from his father. (Belated: Thanks, Mom!)

Actually, that story is not really fair to my Mom. She had lots of talks with me about sexuality and puberty before then, but that talk was the first time the word "penetration" was used. Mom did a good job and it was more informative then the information that I eventually received from Catholic school (ummm...thanks, nuns.)

But when I was young, my Mom didn't have to worry about the Internet.

Like a lot of parents, I watch my child become influenced by media and his friends around him. He learns a lot of information from the limited TV he is exposed to and comes home with crazy stories from his friends at school.

That's fine for information on pirates or superheroes, but there is one topic I want to make sure to introduce to him first: Sex. And, I'm not alone. Eighty percent of parents are blaming access to the Internet as the reason why they are having conversations about sexuality with their children earlier. That study by AVG Technologies has found that the average age parents are having the sex conversation with their children is now 10.

But, I want to point out a flaw in the study: Sex is not a one-and-done conversation. It is an ongoing conversation. And it starts early. Here are some ways we are moving toward the big talk:
  • Label body parts correctly. At first I fell into the parent trap of calling his private parts by a nick name. But now we call everything by their anatomical names, like saying babies grow in Mommy's womb instead of her "tummy."
  • Introduce the Internet correctly. Baby steps. He is allowed to play some games, but they are always monitored.
  • Close the bathroom door. It's a great way to start the conversation about privacy. Of course, we have this conversation all the time, but eventually, the message will sink in. (Right? Please someone tell me that one day I'll be alone in the bathroom again.)
  • Let your child know it is OK to ask questions. My son has asked me about my breasts, other body parts, the way I kiss Daddy and lots of other things. He always gets answers.
  • Ask questions about what they watch/see. I ask my son lots of questions about the movies we watch together or about what happened in school. I thank him for having these conversations with me and for answering my questions.
  • Listen. It's hard. But, we can do it.
Hopefully, this will help as we lead up to the big conversation - whether we have it at age 10 or earlier, I want to make sure my son knows he can get answers to his questions at home.

What was your sex talk like with your parents? What do you plan on doing different? Let me know in the comments.


  1. We've 7 children from 20 down to 4, and we've never had to actually discuss penetration with any of them - they've worked that bit out! I've explained periods, tampons, sanitary towels, babies growing inside a ladies tummy in her womb and all kinds of stuff, but the actual act I've never had to tell.
    I agree with always answering questions or they just guess and make something up! - But don't fall into the trap of telling them any more than they ask each time or you end up stumbling and confusing them :)

  2. Thanks for this article. I've never had the sex talk with my parents because in traditional Indian homes it's a different scenario. Parents were only concerned about how their children were doing in studies those days. Sex was a taboo thing so is the reason why we are still facing a lot of sexual challenges and difficulties. I have gone through very tough times managing my sexual needs (when you know you need to deal with it in private within yourself). I have a daughter. We need to plan our talk and mothers can handle it more intelligently. Me and my wife differ in our views on this subject. Your suggestions are appreciated.

  3. Actually its not an easy matter to talk with children about sex as a parent. Not only human but also every living creature know how to sex naturally. But its not only about sex but also about health, to proceed someone can discuss about decease.