An actual conversation between my son and me recently:
4 yr. old: “Mommy, what do you do with your vagina?”
Me: “Well, I can push babies out of it.”
4 yr. old: “How did the babies get there?”
Me: “Daddy put them there. Remember when Jameson was in my belly and then I pushed him out that one day? Well, I pushed him out through my vagina.”
4 yr. old: “Yeah. How does daddy put babies in your belly?”
Me: “Well, he uses his penis. Daddy has seeds in his balls (my son knows what those are) that go through his penis into mommy’s vagina. It’s like planting a seed. You know how you can plant a seed in the ground and it grows into a plant or flower?”
4 yr. old: “Yeah.”
Me: “Well, daddy plants his seed inside mommy and a baby grows.”
4 yr. old: “Cool! I wanna do that!”
Me: “Haha. You’ll have to wait until you’re older.”
My son’s reaction to this conversation was exactly what I was hoping for! I want him (and his younger brother) to have a positive attitude toward sexuality from an early age. We didn’t talk about the specifics of how sexual intercourse happens, but we will in time and it will always be talked about in an honest, open and positive manner. That’s not to say that I won’t warn him of the baggage that comes along with becoming sexually active or the risks involved, but he will have a clear understanding that his sexuality is a beautiful thing and that there is nothing shameful or ugly about it.
My husband and I are already teaching our boys about consent by never forcing physical contact upon them when they don’t want it (such as kisses or hugs). We will go into more detail about consent as they get older, but we’re setting the foundation now by respecting their boundaries. They are only 4 and 2 years old, but kids are smart and they pick up a lot at this age. Why not start teaching them stuff that really matters along with their ABC’s?
Sex Talk in the Home
The majority of people I’ve talked to about their sex education have told me that they got nearly zero percent of their sex ed from their parents. I find this to be really sad and unfortunate. For most of us, we learn about life mostly from our parents. They are the ones to whom we look for advice, guidance and knowledge about our world. But when it comes to sex, many otherwise good parents drop the ball. It can be for any number of reasons such as embarrassment, insecurity, fear, or simply not knowing what to say. But in the U.S. most kids aren’t learning good sex ed in schools, either, so they’re kind of left on their own to figure things out.
This may not seem like a big deal on the surface, but if you really think about it, walking into your sexuality without a clue of what you’re doing is not only dangerous, but can change/ruin your life. If what you’ve learned about sex comes from anatomy and STI lectures in your high school health class and abstinence talks in your youth group, you are far from ready to engage in healthy, consensual sexual activity.
I think the best thing that we can do for our children is to start talking to them openly about sex from a young age so that when it’s time to talk more in depth about it, it’s much less awkward because at that point it has already become normal to talk about this stuff with mom and/or dad. Plus, they’ll know that it’s safe to come to mom/dad with questions or concerns. I hope that my boys will take advantage of that open door.
I Owe My Parents a Huge “Thank you”
One of the many things that my parents did very well was talking with me openly and honestly about sex. My mom was the one who sat down with me and explained what it was and how it worked. She was a Christian, so I got the biblical version of sexuality. But I walked away from that conversation thinking that sex was the coolest thing God had ever created! I no longer believe in a god, but that doesn’t change my adoration and fascination with sexuality. Sex got a bit more confusing and frustrating for me over the years that followed because of religious ideologies, but my parents never hesitated to answer my blunt questions with honesty. That made all the difference for me.
They even went beyond that and shared their struggles with me, about how sex can sometimes be difficult. They demonstrated to me how to push through those struggles, for love’s sake, and grow a stronger and more dedicated relationship through those struggles. That lesson was priceless. I still feel that I can talk openly with them about anything regarding sexuality, even if they disagree with it, because of the relationship that we have built on communication.
This is what our children need. They need to hear the wisdom that we have to impart to them. They shouldn’t be left to figure it out for themselves. Sex is a fundamentally natural part of life. Let’s do our part to build up a generation of kids that are comfortable in their own skin and know that their sexuality is beautiful.
[Image Source: Adobe Stock]