Let's talk about sex, Mom
When I was in grade four, the brother of a girl in my class brought a condom to school. The news spread like wildfire – by recess, a large group of kids had surrounded his locker, hoping for a glimpse. Having no idea what a condom was, let alone what one looked like, my curiosity had been sufficiently piqued. When I got home from school that afternoon, I broached the subject with my mother.
After her coughing fit had subsided, she fished a piece of paper from a pile on the dining room table and drew her best dome. I’d learned in sex-ed class (led by my hairy-chested and very oversexed Phys-Ed teacher) that a condom was used during sexual intercourse – I just didn’t know why, or what one looked like. Thanks to my mother’s illustration, I thought for years that condoms were made of hard plastic, with finely pointed tips.
That drawing, those sex-ed classes and what was scrawled in the stalls of my school’s second-floor bathroom sums up the extent of my sexual education as a child. I entered my teen years armed with more knowledge about the dangers of sex than its pleasures; when it came to the act of lovemaking itself, I was fairly clueless. It’s not the experience I want for my own children, and when it comes to The Talk, I have no qualms about having an open, honest discussion with them, when the time is right.
And when that time comes along I’m pretty sure that this half of the parental unit will be leading the conversation, as my husband still blushes when I use anatomically correct terms with our kids and shuts down altogether at the thought of them becoming sexually active.
“You can take care of that stuff,” he once told me, which, according to this article, is a popular consensus among fathers. It seems that, along with making meals, scheduling appointments, cutting crusts off of sandwiches and, well, everything else, initiating The Talk winds up on many mothers’ To Do lists as well.
According to the article, a third of kids in the U.S. aged 15-17 have had sex. Among teens aged 15-19, 13 per cent of females and 15 per cent of males had sex before they’d turned 15. A Toronto-based survey revealed that among teens aged 13 to 18, one-third were sexually active. It’s not surprising, really – sex is everywhere these days, and kids aren’t stupid.
I was fifteen when I lost my virginity – way, way too young. I probably would have gone ahead with it whether or not my mother and I had The Talk, but in hindsight, I wish I’d been more informed, not to mention a lot older. I wish I could have talked more openly about sex with my mum, but I picked up on her discomfort that afternoon as she struggled to explain to me why men wore condoms, and I never brought it up again. And because my relationship with my father was of the weekend variety, approaching him simply wasn’t an option for me.
That’s not how I want it to be for my kids. I want them to feel comfortable about talking to both of their parents about sex (which, judging from the talk my first grader brings home, might be sooner than we think), because when it comes to approaching things in life, I’m a forewarned is forearmed kind of girl – a mindset I plan on passing on to my kids as well.
::This is an original post for Canada Moms Blog. Mamatulip blogs her life at Where am I going...and why am I in this handbasket? and keeps it green over at The Green Mom Review::
Photo used with thanks to trec_lit