My son is 12, and my wife and I have always been very open with him about sex. Indeed, we’ve often told him a lot more than he wants to know.
The other day, I was driving him home from school, and we were stopped at a light near a porn shop. The sign said “ADULT TOYS.” He asked what adult toys are. Matter of factly, I said they were toys people play with during sex.
I know I’ve told this story here, but it’s been a while, so I’ll share it again. When my daughter was about 8, we were in the car together and I had the news on the radio. The newsreader said something about virgins, and I immediately thought “teaching moment!” and I asked my daughter if she knew what that meant.
She: I’m not sure.
Me: That means someone who has never had sex.
She: Oh, I thought that was a lesbian!
Which led to another “teaching moment.” I should have asked her how she learned about lesbians. I know I’d never heard the term at age 8. Then again, they didn’t exist in 1962…
I am very open and matter-of-fact with my daughter. I approach the mechanics of reproduction with the same nonchalance I do digestion, or blood circulation. As a result she has always been pretty well-informed for her age. She’s 10 now.
I have to say, though, that been asked “what’s an orgasm?” at a restaurant tripped me.
My daughter is sixteen and has had a liberal sexuality education. The most fun isn’t home, the most fun is at school!
She explained to her AP History class what sodomy was. She hit the abstinence educator HARD about STD statistics (Herpes is really prevalent, that is true. But its REALLY prevalent in the African American community - which is a problem of poverty and race and why we should be educating kids - if you are a middle class white kid be careful, but it isn’t nearly so scary), and pissed off her Health teacher with a discussion of non-binary gender and terminology (the student teacher in the room thought she was awesome - what a difference a generation makes). Usually, when she switches schools (elementary to middle, middle to high) , I get a call from the principal fairly early - just one though - kids get this from somewhere and the principal usually figures that out during the phone call.
I recall being 12 back in the dark ages. I sure knew the word but had no clue what it meant other than it was something wonderfully *outre *to say. And that it was sorta connected to that whole mystery of sex that all the grown-ups always talked around.
Here in 2016 the likelihood the kid knows more than that is much higher, but still IMO well short of 100%.
My son has learned a lot from his mother and me. He’s learned more from kids at school. He’s learned a LOT more from the kids at the skating rink. These kids know infinitely more than I knew at their age. But a lot of what they “know” is wrong.
So, I consider myself lucky that my son tells me almost everything he “learns.” Because that gives me the chance to set things straight. Example: one time in the car on the way home from skating, he excitedly told me about a great way to have sex without getting a girl pregnant! He then told me about (he didn’t know the Latin term, obviously) coitus interruptus.
Again, while I was horrified that he was hearing this, I think I was lucky- because it gave me the opportunity to tell him, “No- in fact, a lot of girls who THOUGHT that was true got pregnant.” I told him he’s way too young to be having sex, but that if and when he started, he needed to use condoms*, and I’d buy them myself whenever he thought he and a girl WERE ready.
At about that age I started to tell my daughters friends who were in the car with me…“if you can’t talk to your parents, you can talk to me. If you need to go to the doctor to get the pill and can’t talk to your parents, you can ask me to take you.”
We are the family with the fishbowl of condoms in the kid’s bathroom. They don’t get used - my son figured out with one girlfriend that girls are needy, my daughter is identifying as asexual - and their friends apparently either have supplies, aren’t active, or don’t use them.
My 15 year old daughter has a good friend the same age. They’ve known each other since Kindergarten. Her friend has been going out with a boy (also 15) for about a year. They decided to consummate their relationship not long ago. They were too embarrassed to go buy condoms, but knew they could walk into Planned Parenthood and get some for free. They asked my kid to do it for them because they were “too shy.” My daughter told them that if they can’t even get their own condoms, then they’re not mature enough to have sex. She did it for them as a one time thing. She walked into PP and said, “I need some condoms, please.” They gave her 20. I wonder if her friend and the BF have gone through them yet.