My mom never gave me The Talk, as in one big birds-and-bees lecture. She talked with me from a very young age, answering questions as they came up, and providing books that were age appropriate.
When I was very small, I had a copy of A Child is Born, the book with awesome in utero pictures taken by Lennart Nilsson. That provided a lot of questions for me to ask. About a year before I was expected to hit puberty (I maybe had breast buds), she gave me What’s Happening To My Body?. Before I started menstruating, she bought me pads to have when I needed them (I’d already watched her put hers on and change them, just because she never shut the bathroom door, and I was the kind of kid to barge in and talk to her when she was using the toilet.) When I told her I was sexually active (which she was NOT happy about, as my partner was 21 and I was 17), she came home with a bag full from the drugstore: condoms, spermicide and Today sponges, and took me to the gynecologist’s for a PAP and the Pill.
I have issues with some of her parenting, especially when I was a preteen and teen, but my education in matters sexual was very very well done. The only thing I think she really missed was discussion on the social/emotional impact of sex, but frankly, my mom’s not the most sexually healthy person herself (she’s…well, she’s frigid, honestly; not asexual, but actively loathes sexual contact in a pretty disturbing way), so I don’t know that I *could *have learned much from her on that front.
My dad (different household) had a stack of Playboys literally four foot high in the bathroom off the master bedroom. He and my stepmom knew perfectly well why we kids each occasionally spent some “quality time” in that particular bathroom - the one completely out of the way of the rest of the house! No one ever said a word, but I got a whole different kind of education there!