Monday, April 13, 2009

How Soon Is Now?

The only sex talk I received came from a cousin-in-law, yes, someone not even related by blood, when I was about the age of eleven. At least I think I was eleven, I'm not sure. Subject matter rolled around girls getting periods, and choosing between tampons or pads. No mention of "hey, you can get pregnant now" or "women have a vagina and men have penises" (hey, just what is the plural of penis? Is it penises or peni?). Thinking back, I believe the closest I came to the sex talk happened when I was riding the merry-go-round and I shot the middle finger at Tony Leco. I got a spanking and was told that showing someone the middle finger was the same as wanting to touch someone's privates and I had better NEVER do that again.

Obviously, five children later, I have learned quite a bit about sex. As my daughters grew up, I knew I was going to be much more modern and cooler than my mom. I was going to be as upfront and open with them as the law allowed. And as I inwardly ranted, raved, and uproared the first time I caught my four year old exploring, outwardly, I calmly explained to her that it was okay to touch and figure out things with your body, but you need to do it in private. Yes, inwardly I cringed, but there was no way I was going to mentally scar my child from being a sexually, self confident woman when she grew up. You'd think that this would have been an easy thing for me to do, but growing up in a family that tarred and feathered children who were caught "exploring," made it more difficult than the simple textbook solution. Seriously, we were spanked, told that it was a sin, and if we did it again we were going to get a bigger spankin. So, telling my children that it was okay, and a natural thing to do, was a big personal battle won. Go me. I was a modern mom.

As my daughters evolved, talking about sex was initiated by them. They came to me, we talked. We covered subjects ranging from STDs, staying safe, making out, erections, oral sex, what the first time felt like, emotional connections, knowing when, and a slew of other things. I was really proud at the information I provided to my girls. Then my seventeen year old took me down a peg. She walks up to me and says,

"Hey mom, how come you never had the sex talk with me?"

Flabbergasted, I replied, "Huh? I've been talking about sex with you since the fifth grade!"

"Yes," returned seventeen year old, "but you never actually told me how."

"How? What do you mean, how." I said clearly puzzled.

"You know, what parts go where and how to use them."




"You mean...that talk,"

Clearly, I had missed something. Yes, I provided them with information, tolerance, and acceptance, but I missed something. Something big...something important. Something I took for granted. What parts go where and how to use them. So I found myself stumbling around words like penis and clitoris and orgasm (she already knew what that was...whew). We talked about hows and whys and whens (again, she thinks she's in love but they both want to wait...whew). EYE talked about knowing your body and what feels right for yourself. That it was important to know your limits, and that when you were ready to take step, only take that step if you are 100% sure.

It was a conversation that was just a bit out of my comfort zone, which is an odd place for me to be, especially concerning my girls. I was a single mom for the first 11 years of their lives. We fought cancer together, battled living with grandma together, found a new dad together. As cornball and lifetime movie network as it sounds, our battles and experiences drew us closer together than a normal mother-daughter relationship. So to feel weird while having an intimate conversation was a whole new ball park. Nevertheless, I am still kicking myself for leaving out a butt load of information. Important information that often leads one to go out and discover by experience if not provided.

So my question is, now that I have a new brood up and coming, how soon is now? I strongly feel that information provides the best defense. And I truly believe that informing is not the same as giving permission to go out and sleep with everything that walks by. Not only that, I have sons, and they are an entirely different kind of beast (no pun intended). What do you tell them? How do you open up that line of conversation? My oldest son is only two, so this gives me about two more years to get ready (Kidding!).

I'm still laughing at myself. How could I have missed that? Which parts go where and how do you use them.

Hmphf, this modern mom has been knocked flat on her modern ass.


  1. You're killing me.
    I'm recalling some seriously horrible moments thanks to your post.
    The highlight came when one of the Dolls asked, "Do you and Daddy do That?
    Me; "No Doll, er, well, yes, we DID, but we're sorry now [that you asked] and we'll never do It again [that you know of, because It Seems So Wrong to say it to a nine-year old's face]."

    Personally, I'm the Big Mouth Version of your Modern Mom who prefers the
    --keeping Dirty Secrets Secret,(and Dirty)
    --tarring and feathering for exploration
    --threats of mutations and blindness.
    Yup, I'm Thoroughly Modern.

  2. You mean, Molly ain't got nothin you you, Ms. Savant?

    I was fortunate enough to be the single mom at the time of our first talk and didn't have to answer the "you mean you and daddy do that?" question.

  3. Which. parts. go. where. and. how. to. use. them. Yep... I must say I've skimped on that part of the talk, too. It seems sort of self explanatory. Like a puzzle. I guess I didn't know we needed to go there...

    As for self-exploration, the 13 y/o and I just had a big long conversation about that, during which she was appalled to discover that my views were for rather than against...

    I have, I think, handled the talks pretty well (although - as you've pointed out - perhaps not as well as I'd thought...) but the reality still throws me for a loop. I think I might really just be okay with it theoretically.

    But we're doing better than our parents did, and that's something. Right? Right? Anyone? Bueller?

  4. Right! I agree with Tammy, we're doing better than our parents.

    And as for how to talk to your boys about this, I still think the best policy is to answer their questions, as they come up, honestly and to the level of understanding for their age. Honesty is still the best policy, in all areas. But, I do believe in parents' privacy!

  5. I think that's great that you are so open with your kids. You can tell you are a good mom when your kids come to you to talk about hard issues. And I totally remember being that age and thinking "which hole does it go in?" Hahahahaha!

  6. From the time I was a very little girl, I remember my mom being very honest about sex and the whole "where do babies come from" thing. She would be giving us three girls a bath (all at the same time) and telling us the stories of our births. We always asked - we loved those stories.

    So I always thought I would be as cool as my mom on the whole subject when the time came. But I panicked!! I had boys - and I agree with Pam - with boys it's best to wait for the questions and then answer them honestly. The early questions were pretty simple to answer. Then when he was about 7 they got kind of harder to answer without going into detail. I mean, I looked into those little innocent eyes and couldn't do it. I copped out. I bought a book that we read together. He still makes fun of me for that silly book (and he's 31 years old now!).

    My two stepdaughters were so much easier. Girls I can relate to!

    Whew - what a long comment. I think you've got your head on straight on this subject and it sure sounds like you're doing a great job!

  7. LOLing at Housewife Savant's comment!

    It's hard to remember to get all the details right, isn't it? ;)

  8. Ms. Tammy and Ms. Pam, I'd like to think we are doing a bit better, although Ms. Savant makes me think twice. Thanks for the advice on boys. Hopefully I'll be able to manage w/o screwing up their psyche.

    Ms. Yaya, thank you, and I can't wait until you have you children because you are going to be a great mom.

    Ms. Belly, my girls always laugh at me, but in a kind (yeah, sure) and loving manner, I am sure. Thank you for stopping by. It's been a while.

    Ms. Tropic, It's hard not to LOL at Ms. Savant, she's just so flippin witty. I always eagerly await her words of wisdom. And as for details, if I get it almost right, then it's going to be ok. Thanks for stopping by.

  9. I on the other hand I had Hippie Hip Mom and she talked at-nausium (talk about a spelling lesson!).. about sex. Heck I think I was the only 10 year old (yes I started THAT early) who knew the difference between being a girl and a woman (not to mention between kissing and "petting")... pause for that eeewww moment. So when it came time for THIS talk, I tried to temper things between TMI and no I. Still I have to admit it is great to see my 15 year old son cringe when I bring up the subject. THANK God the next one in line (a 10 year old girl) isn't quite there yet.

    FYI.. stopping by (on a puke break) to tell ya I had set today aside to ship your loot but as spew is the word of the day around here I'll have to put it off a day or two.. BUT I'll make it up to ya with more goodies (for MOM! not just the kiddies).

  10. Thanks for stopping by Ms. DiP. Sometimes I think I border on the TMI, but I haul back just in time and let them take the lead. Ms. Seph wants loads of info, while Ms. Cay would rather find out on her own.

    As for the goodies, I'm still excited, just don't drop any dried puke in it.

  11. Hi, stopping by on a recommendation from Pam's Perspective, and now i know what she means. This is a great post. I have 2 15 year olds, twins...gasp! I feel like I too have been sex talking for years, and when Cait had a boyfriend for 18 months I talked longer and faster! My girls haven't asked me nearly enough, so I just keeping putting it out there. Because we just seem to be more relaxed, my 11 year old son seems to be picking up some stuff. He is a curious little bugger, gotta love it. I look forward to looking around more. I'm a SITS gal too!

  12. Ms Anita, I know! When my daughter started dating I felt like I was in sex talk overdrive. I was like, hmm, did I cover this? What about that? I hope she knows that part already. Why can't we be catholic and she take rites into nunnery?

  13. The only sex talk I ever got was in school, so mom got to skip the whole thing.

    Your kids are lucky they can talk to you.

  14. I don't think my mom told me the mechanics of it either, now that I think about it....

    I say as soon as they are curious.. you tell them. When they ask, be honest.

  15. Hey Alex - as you now I have boys ! YAY me . I really found it very easy to talk to my oldest (13) .I started when he started having night time accidents . I explained why and what was to come . We even bought condoms and showed him what they looked like . My mother was very honest with me .I was 9 when I started my period -that is the day I learned everything . Till this day there is nothing we have not discussed .So I think that made everything better.Easier.I also signed for him to have sex ed classes at school.
    I am a firm believer in talking to your kids. My youngest son is nine - soon he will get the details . So boys are not that diffrent - just diffrent parts .They like to look good ,smell good, have friends -just like girls .It is only that their mistakes if made ...can last a life time !! So let it all out . Tell it all .I believe that .