Explaining sex to your kids (or how it was explained to you)

I started thinking about this subject because I was reading an article today about sexual activity among teens. The
information I got said that open discussion about sexuality was a major factor is reducing sexual activity, STD’s
and teen pregnancies. Many countries, including Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands were listed as having low
teen pregnancy rates because of the open discussion of sexuality in the media.

This confirms my beliefs. I have never shied away from the subject of sex with my kids. My youngest boy could draw a picture of the uterus by age four. I don’t consider it a dirty subject, or anything that my kids should be
ignorant on. I’ve received some criticism from other parents who claimed that I was taking my child’s innocence
away. I thought I was fighting ignorance. I also believe that it’s best to discuss it with them as the subject comes
up, and well before the teen hormones start working. My boys (ages 7 and 10) know all about periods and why women get them, how people get pregnant, and how I gave birth to them and their sisters. More important than the mechanics, I discussed why people have sex and both the good and bad reasons. I don’t obsess on sex, but I don’t shield them from the subject either. I truly believe that if more kids were better informed, and were encouraged to give it a lot of thought, sexual experimentation at earlier ages would be discouraged. I know of several girls who got pregnant before they ever received the sex talk. My sister found out about periods a mere week before actually getting hers. Somehow, that just seems WRONG!

So, my questions to the teeming millions is when did you, or do you plan to discuss sex with your own children?
How old were you when you found out about it? Were your parents open or embarrassed? Do you think it
influenced your teen sex life, or lack of? Are you happy with the results in your own life, and/or in your child’s

As the youngest of five kids, my parents must have figured I’d just pick it up somewhere. They sure didn’t explain anything to me. And not having that adult guidance in that particular area definitely had an impact. shakes head sadly When I think of how my life could have been different, it’s astounding. Primarily because I never thought it was okay to ask questions–they certainly never offered. And they are the sweetest, most giving, supportive parents in the world. I love them dearly. But, I think they failed me on this count.

So, as a parent, I made damned sure my kids know that both mom and dad are approachable on any subject. There are some aspects to sexuality that I don’t think little kids can really grasp, and when I’m approached about them, I explain the basic idea and that as they grow older, that subject will take on a new meaning. I mean, why explain masterbating to my five year old? It’s not a simple subject and he doesn’t really have a true need for the information at this age. I don’t make it sound bad or dirty or shameful. When my son was 11, he asked, “So, what’s the deal with masterbation?” (in the drive-thru to Taco Bell. Nice timing, huh?)
I explained it. In very basic terms. Then I asked him if he wanted to go right home and give it a try. He was appalled and said no. So I made my point about certain things having their own time. Right now, at 11, was not the right time for him. I think that can be as important as explaining about sexual issues. And it’s ALWAYS the right time to ask questions.
I have WAY too many stories about my son and his on-going quest to understand the adult world he’s growing into.

My dad wasn’t one for intensly personal discussion with his kids. To this day I refuse to belive that my parents have sex. They seem to be incredibly unsexual people. I am convinced that my siblings and myself were ordered over the internet or obtained by some means **other than ** sex. In light of this I never actually recieved “the talk”. The only time he attempted it was the first time he knew I had a girl staying over my place in college. He pulled me aside from the rest of the family, put his arm on my shoulder and said “you be careful”. This was by far the most uncomfortable moment I have EVER shared with my father. I had already had 2 partners before this and had ALWAYS been “safe” but my fathers words of caution were well meaning and good to hear.

Years pass and young pezpunk grows to be a sexual dynamo… wait that’s not right… deviant that’s it! Needless to say, all of the health class movies, and all of my teachers, and all of the public service announcements on TV affected my decision to practice safe sex as much as the talk with my father. God knows I didn’t want to have ANOTHER sex talk with him, so you better believe I practice safe sex! :slight_smile:

This of course was supposed to say NONE not ALL… last time I post while on the phone :slight_smile:

My mother was a nurse and felt more comfortable explaining the facts of life to me in clinical terms, so she took care of the basic details, far better than any textbook, I might add.

My father took care of the “lessons to be learned” with an astonishing array of false assumptions, anecdotal examples that didn’t fit any other situations and cracker-barrel philosophy that was given freely and worth about as much.

Mrs. Kunilou and I have followed somewhat the same model, letting the kids get factual information from accurate sources while trying to educate them of the consequences.

That said, Bill and Monica didn’t make our job any easier.

As a side note, Mrs. Kunilou drew the short straw and had to teach sex education to her adolescent class for several years running. She would come home every day astonished by the misinformation and claptrap those kids had picked up on the streets.

My mom was so cool about sex education. I remember her sitting with my brother and me at the kitchen table, showing us a book with pictures of all the “systems” of the body and answering all of our questions, patiently. I remember a neighbor came to visit and was horrified when I proudly told her that I had something my brother didn’t and showed her the picture of the uterus.

My children and I had our first discussion about sex when they were six and eight. We were discussing AIDS and the different ways one can be infected. When I listed sex, my eight year-old asked, “Mom, what exactly is sex?”, and we were off and running. I’ve been very frank with them since and don’t hesitate to bring up issues I feel need to be discussed. They are sixteen and eighteen now and ,even though they think they know most everything, they still ask about something, if they’re confused.

[sub]This may go over like a booger on a birthday cake, but …[/sub]

From the movie Outside Providence:
“Sex is like Chinese dinner. It ain’t over 'til you both get your cookies.”

My parents never really had any kind of talk with me. I grew up on a working farm so I knew the mechanical aspects of sex at a very early age (in fact, I can’t remember ever NOT knowing the basics), and understood birth control long before I had occassion to put it into practice, but for the emotional aspect I was left on my own.

It worked out OK, I’m not dysfunctional or anything, but if/when I have kids of my own there will definitely be more discussion on this topic!

I have also already explained how babies are made and what intercourse is to my 7 year old son - because he was asking questions. His reaction when he heard exactly what one does (the intercourse part) was “ew…that’s disgusting.” I explained that it was natural to feel that way now, and one day he would feel differently.

I think it’s really important to give kids straightforward information about sex and I applaud all those doing so.

People forget that it’s the curiosity that leads to the problems, not the knowledge.

I guess I learned the ‘mechanics’ of it from the worthless day long class the public schools made us sit through about 4th or 5th grade, well that and general dirty minded boys talking…

as for the importance of good sex skills, that came from the late Sam Kinison. He had a set about the importance of being able to orally pleasure women. (note: that’s more than a little cleaned up from Sam’s diction). I personally feel that being able to pleasure your partner is almost as important and knowing what not to do.

just my two cents.

I’ve never gotten “the talk” though my mother did tell me a couple of things when I was a teenager. I don’t think I asked any questions though. hmmm… almost 28 been married for 5 years, maybe I should go and try and have the talk now! :smiley: wonder what they’d think THEN. Hey dad, what’s sex?

My mom was also a nurse and very frank about explaining terms to me when I asked. I have little or no reticense about the subject, so I asked frequently. I did miss out on a large aspect of sex education, though. While my mom made sure that I knew all the vocabulary and the medical information in excrutiating detail, she never talked about the emotional side of things and the personal decisions I would have to make. I know that she was (and still is) very modest about that part of who she is, but I really would have liked some guidance while I was still growing up. As it is, I’ve made some doozies of decisions and am convinced that I will do my best to draw the whole picture for my kids (when and if).

Una: “Zookeeper! That monkey is killing that other monkey!”
Zookeeper: (whispers to me)
Una: “He’s doing WHAT???”


mother gave me this 4 volume set of books. i think it was called the life cycle library. she said, “here read this.”

nothing from father.

ah well, there are always friends, co workers, books, and above all the sdmb.

I apologize in advance for not reading through the entire thread before replying.

My father was a junior high school science teacher who also taught sex education and submitted a sex-ed textbook to the California Board of Education.

Guess what? Never any serious questions about my life in general, (some haphazard and ill phrased inquiries but nothing more). Neither of my university educated parents ever asked a single important question about my love life or choice of mates.

Does this explain why I haven’t talked to my parents in years?

My parents, very much to their credit, were always quite frank about sex with me. (And, I suppose, with my elder brother.) I don’t specifically remember the “where babies come from” conversation, but I was quite young. My mom was very good about the whole menustration conversation. I remember I got these pamphlets about sex and menustration that were geared towards young children.

Possibly one of the biggest wrenches I ever threw at my father was the, “Daddy, what’s a boner?” conversation. I think I was eight.

What? Parents are supposed to talk about sex with their kids?!!?!?!?!!

My father took me aside on the day of my first date, and basically said to use a rubber, if it comes (sorry, no pun intended) to that. That was the ONLY sexual talk I ever had with my parents.

Sex talk in my house.

Age 2. Son: Mommy, Ebs’s penis is broken! (no cutsie names in my house)
Me: She doesn’t have a penis. She’s a girl. She has a vagina.
Son: Oh.
Age 7. Daughter (watching PBS special called, I think, The Miracle of Life) Ugh! You stick the penis in the vagina? Ugh!
Me:Most people really enjoy it.
Son: Yeah, people like “doin it”. Mommy and Daddy do it. Right?
Me:And we really enjoy it.
Age 9 Daughter: How can that be? Her parents aren’t married.
Me:(a little shocked that my daughter had this, ahem, misconception) You don’t have to be married to have a baby. All you need is a sperm and an egg.
Daughter:Don’t you need to have sex for the sperm and the egg to meet?
Me: That’s the usual way. But you don’t have to be married to have sex.

My point? There was never any “let’s sit down and have a talk” in my house. There is, what I hope, open communication. There is no need to go through a clinical explanation of the sexual act when a 5 year old asks “What’s a blowjob?” I think that sometimes parents get flustered when talking about sex to young children. The secret is to answer the question asked as frankly as you can with consideration for the child’s age. (My answer was “When someone kisses your penis.”)

My kids are 14 now and the hormones are starting to kick in. You can’t stop your children from having sex. They all do it eventually. But you can give them the information they need to make informed choices.

My parents told me about sex when i was young, so young infact i can’t remember, but they always made sure i knew what it was. But My first sexual experience did not go so smoothly, i knew what we were supposed to be doing but he hit my belly button, I laughed, and that moment was over, Mom and Dad never the emotional side aside of that if felt good. they also never explained that a guy could lose his umph if you laugh :open_mouth: But thanks to that experience with my boyfriend it left me a virgin till met the man i married so i guess Mom and dad got their way after all

I actually got 2 sex talks from my dad.

Talk #1, at age 14 (after I’d been sexually active for just under a year.)

“Um, er, son, you’re getting to the age where you’re, uh, going to have some, er uh, questions about girls and, um, that kind of thing. If you do, just ask.”

Talk #2, age 17, as we’re packing the car for me to leave for college:

“Got your coffee pot?”
Me: “Yeah.”
“Got all your pens and your typewriter and stuff?”
Me: “Uh huh”
“Got your rubbers?”
Me (somewhat surprised): “Yeah.”
“Well, for gods’ sakes use them if you’re going to be doing any of that kind of stuff.”