Motherhood Unplugged –
Talking About Sex With Your Kids.
When you were younger, did you have one of those awkward moments (usually following the traumatic ‘birds & the bees talk’ given at school) when you realised your parents must have had sex in order to conceive you?
I have vivid memories of that day. V-I-V-I-D.
Cue a certain Health Education class (back in the day) which was taken by the all-male Physical Education teachers. Fit, buff alpha men in their prime.
We tweens would take extra care with our crimped hair and perfectly combed monobrows (it was the 80’s), along with our skillfully rolled-up shortened skirts, in the hopes of attracting the attention of these hot athletic creatures.
Sadly, all of this changed for me on Tuesday 24 May 1985. For this was the day of the ‘Actual Birth Video’, which swore me off anything remotely to do with sex, boys or hot teachers for quite some time.
Our lovely ripped instructor simply wheeled in a tv (remember those days when they did that?) and pressed play.
The scene you ask?
A screaming woman’s crowning vagina. Followed by, oh, her perineum splitting and a tiny greasy, white face appearing between her legs, which, with great force, shot out between hefty, sweaty thighs, into the waiting, suitably gloved up arms of the nurse.
The video couldn’t have been any longer than 5 minutes tops, but I honestly couldn’t say, we were all so horrified at the blood, guts and damn that umbilical cord is thick to cut!!
I remember thinking who the hell would want to go anywhere near that rope slime, connected to the equally slimy baby.
“This”, our hot teacher informed us, “Is the result of sexual intercourse. If you don’t want to see this for the next 12 years or so, don’t have sex”.
TV turned off and wheeled away.
Leaving an entire group of 30 plus tweens in total silence faces ranging in colour from ghost white to puke green. I was puke green.
“Then, when daughter number two’s time rolled around,
I handballed ‘the talk’ to my freshly knowledge eldest”.
Traumatic sex education lesson – One.
The realisation that my parents had sex for me to be thrust similarly into the world – Two.
The decision to never, ever have sex – Three.
Needless to say, sex education, has come a long way since May 1985. Thank the Lord!
Because I’m telling you, it took MANY years for me to lose the image of that baby’s face appearing between that woman’s quivering thighs!
Now I have six children of my own, (so I obviously did get over that sex ed horror film), my husband and I decided to take a different approach to my classroom experience.
We call it, rock, paper, scissors.
Three times to decide a winner. The winner is that they have immunity from the sex talk. That time only.
We have six kids remember so in terms of eventually drawing a short straw, well the stakes were pretty high.
“Mum”, replied by firstborn, “don’t worry about it.
I have told her a few things over the years as I saw fit.
She’s cool with it”.
For the record, I have drawn the short straw, or more bluntly, lost on rock, paper, scissors, three times.
Our requisite parental-child talks were evenly and fairly split down the middle. Which didn’t feel like a good idea at all, to be honest?
I felt that hubby and I, each bearing a 50/50 load, could go bottoms up for us (pardon the pun).
I mean, we had to get our stories straight for one and there was a lot I didn’t really know (or pretended not to know) about boys, so I tried to handball an extra one to his side.
He politely declined and said he felt as though it would be a great learning curve for me. Seriously! That’s the best he came up with……
So this is how it went down in my camp.
I sat with our eldest and we looked through some fairly simple ‘pictures’ in a book (but also I have to say, quite graphic). I made sure that she felt comfortable that she could ask me any questions and emphasised the fact that the entire act was meant to be enjoyable and natural.
Then, when daughter number two’s time rolled around, I handballed ‘the talk’ to my freshly knowledge eldest, leaving it in her very capable and safe hands. Basically, I ducked and dived that one, impressing upon my eldest that the shocking news may be less shocking if it came from a much older, wiser sister.
She casually took little sis for a stroll and 10 minutes later they came home.
Both parties looking pretty much unscathed (phew). I received a thumbs up and a wink from my eldest, along with a whisper “Yep all good, she knew it all anyway”.
Seriously? How did I not know that?? What do you mean all? I don’t want her to know it all!
“Mum”, replied by firstborn, don’t worry about it. I have told her a few things over the years as I saw fit. She’s cool with it”.
Right, ok, fine, be cool Mum, be cool……
So that just left me with our youngest son and whilst I was clutching my ‘book of life’ (in graphic comic form) my teen simply said, “Tell me we aren’t doing this today? Like right now?”
“Yes, we are,” I said, whilst clearing my throat and summoning all of my inner-boy courage, as well trying not to giggle through sheer embarrassment.
The talk was less than 5 minutes long. It took place whilst we were alone in the car (so he couldn’t escape – I locked the doors) and I was twice interrupted for my boy to point out the awesome specs of two hot sports cars, that raced past our slow-paced sex ed vehicle.
“But wait,” I said in a hurry, “I haven’t got to the bit about periods yet!”
“Yeah, mum lets skip that bit, I’ve got a fair idea. I do live with five girls you know.”
He had a good point.
So that just leaves two, 8-year-old girl twins, (hubby has one and I have the other – rock/paper/scissors remember).
I think we will, um, wait a bit until we tackle those two lovely and naive young girls. In fact, I think, continuing on as before, the best bet is to recruit our two eldest to approach the matter and then ahem, mum and dad can be, you know, waiting by on the sidelines if any curly questions arise.
We survived so far, pretty unscathed. At least their education didn’t include a crowing head and screeching woman, alongside a hot Health Ed tutor’s ‘words of wisdom’.
We may not have smashed ‘the talk’ but our family are now able to joke about these conversations without a hint of feeling uncomfortable or insecure.
I think we have just about scraped through the Big Sex Story (bar the twins!) and even better, the children haven’t said they don’t want kids of their own, so it’s all good here.
What about you? How have you approached the topic of sex in your household?