human, being

Sex Talk
April 18, 2009, 2:00 pm
Filed under: Parenting & Co-Parenting | Tags: , ,

Lauren: What I really wonder about, Momma, is how ferrets mate.

Me:  Really. You wonder about that?

Lauren: YES! I wonder how they mate. You don’t know do you?

Me: Well, of course honey. They mate like all mammals mate, like whales and dogs and cats and even people. I can tell you about that, but then, I’d be telling you about sex. Is that what you want to know about?

Lauren: blush. look at the ceiling. look anywhere but at me. Ummm…

Me: Well, if you have any questions, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just ask me.

Lauren: So, what’s for breakfast?

She’s almost 8, and I figure that when she’s in 4th grade I’ll start talking to her about the ins and outs of sex (ha!). My main goal: remove any shame she might feel about her own body and her own pleasure. I’ve always said I’d be that weird mom who buys her teenage daughter a vibrator and some smutty romance novels. I’d rather Lauren be able to get herself off than make that a boy’s job.Pleasure is something that is your own responsibility. Pleasure is not shameful, it’s part of what makes life worth living. I didn’t learn that until after I was divorced.

When I do talk to her about sex, when she’s a little older, I will tell her that sex feels good. That’s one of the reasons why boys want it so badly. And why, once she does it, she will also want it badly. That’s normal, not shameful. But following those desires will have consequences, all of the things we know to talk to kids about — STDs, pregnancy — as well as those we don’t.

Such as emotional consequences, which girls feel much more than boys do. Boys think of a long-term relationship as a year. Girls think of it as forever. Going back through my high school diary, there must have been a half-dozen boys I dated who I was sure I would marry, only to have the relationship fizzle after two months. I spent most of my teens and 20s confusing sex with love. I thought that if I gave boys my body (even if I got nothing out of it, because I was too ashamed to feel pleasure) they’d love me, which is what I really craved.  I don’t plan to give her details, because the details of my sex life aren’t her business. But I do plan to give her enough information to understand that if you have sex with a boy and regret it, you wind up hating yourself. And sometimes you think you can make it better by sleeping with another boy, but eventually you just get numb. And you hate yourself even more.

I don’t believe that sex is a sacred thing, in that you should only have sex with someone you’re ritually tied to. I believe that sex is a natural thing, and that teenagers  — unfortunately younger and younger now — are going to do it. I won’t be encouraging her to have sex when she’s a teenager. But I will be giving her the information she needs to make good decisions, including how sex will feel physically and emotionally. To me, that’s the most important part of the sex talk.


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