The Sex Talk
Do you remember having the sex talk? You know, funny thing, I don't. Not really. And most of my friends that I've talked to don't remember having it either - at least, not with their parents. Some of us might have had an abstinence talk at church or school, some of us might have had a health class, but a lot of the people I've talked to don't remember talking about it with their parents - and if they did, it was awkward and incomplete. I looked it up in the encyclopedia - the font of knowledge. It was like travelling down the rabbit hole of all things sex related. I looked up "sex" which, of course, mentions the penis and the vagina. So, I looked those up. They mentioned the uterus, the cervix, the testes, and the scrotum, so I had to look those up... and on, and on it went.
My son is 5, and I have had the sex talk with him more times than I can count.
I believe that the talk should look different at every age. While a 2 year old learning "where babies come from" might learn about the baby in a woman's tummy, a 16-year-old might be hearing about contraceptives and staying safe.
We started when he was around 18 months old and really starting to talk and explore his body. Toddlers love to have their hands down their pants. They really enjoy exploring the feel of things - it's part of how they learn. Back then, the sex talk looked like this - "I know you enjoy touching your penis, but that is your private body part. You can play and touch your body part as much as you like in your bedroom and in the bathroom when you're alone." With this phrase, we identified his body part (penis), the fact that it is private, areas of the house where he has privacy (bedroom and bathroom), and times when he is allowed to touch himself (when he's alone).
As he got older, he asked more questions and learned more about sex. He has learned that women have vulvas and vaginas. He has learned that those are a woman's private areas. He has learned about boundaries with private areas - that he is the only one who can touch his penis and his anus - that everyone else must ask his permission. He has learned that babies are made when a man's sperms meets with a woman's egg. He has asked and so he knows that women menstruate once a month. We regularly have the sex talk - all aspects of sex.
There aren't really encyclopedias anymore. That's no longer the go-to place to seek out information. Right now it's the internet. Can you imagine what it would look like to look up information about sex on the internet? Yikes!
So, we have the talk. And we'll keep having the talk.