Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Talk, Or How to Discuss Sex Without Scarring Your Children for Life

In honor of Mother's Day, I want to write about one of the best gifts my mom ever gave me: The Talk.

Can we just stop for a moment here and contemplate talking to kids about sex? I'm not a parent, but I am an au pair, and I have to handle S-E-X so carefully in conversation. (My older kids are 13 and 10, so, yeah, it's come up once or twice). I have no idea how I'm going to navigate that discussion when I have my own kids one day, but I really hope I do as good of a job as my mom did with my twin brother and me.

"Man to Man," in Once Upon a Mattress

My mom gave my twin brother and me “The Talk” when we were ten, an awkward but necessary conversation.* One of these days I should thank her for her perfectly balanced lecture (and for arranging it so we didn't have to look her in the eye). One night while cooking dinner, she told H and me we needed to talk about something. While she busied herself in the kitchen, we sat down and listened. She first presented the argument for abstinence until marriage, explaining “our” beliefs as Christians. She also told us that sex was a beautiful form of intimacy best shared between a husband and wife.

But because my mom totally rocks, she then continued with both an overview of contraception and the importance of never pressuring a future partner. We learned that condoms protected against pregnancy and STDs, that birth control pills were effective against pregnancy, but best used in a monogamous relationship because they did nothing to protect against STDs. We learned that sex should be a mutual decision in a relationship, that we should never feel pressured to do something we're not ready to do, that we should never pressure a future partner.

My mom ended by telling us that she hoped we decided to wait until marriage, but that when we were older, and if we were in a serious relationship, and if we decided to have sex with our significant other, then she hoped we would feel comfortable talking to her or our dad if we had any questions or concerns.

That was it.

That was The Talk.

Was it awkward? Of course.

Could it have been worse? Oh, Lord, yes, and thank God it wasn't!

Did it cover everything a good Talk should? Yes, it did, and I'm so grateful for it.

*Sex Ed at our school started in the sixth grade, so although I don't remember exactly when we received The Talk, it was before sixth grade started. Aka when we were 10.

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