Sex is possibly the most awkward and hilarious topic to discuss with your kids. We have a policy in our family- all questions will be answered openly and honestly.
As you can imagine, that policy has been at the root (pardon the awful pun) of some pretty funny conversations.
Several years ago now, when our three bigger kids were aged 5, 6 & 7, we settled down to watch a movie. It was Hocus Pocus, a film I only vaguely remembered but was pretty sure was age appropriate. My husband had a headache so tucked himself in for a nap while I settled down with the kids and a glass of wine. The wine was because it was actually my birthday and I figured I’d earned it for surviving yet another year. Little did I know I’d actually need it.
Now, if you haven’t gotten around to watching Hocus Pocus (It came out in 1993 guys!) the premise is basically that a virgin has to light a candle on Halloween to resurrect three witches. So naturally, the kids wanted to know what a virgin was.
I was most of the way through wine #2 and paused only for a second before remembering our agreed on policy.
“A virgin is someone who has never had sex.” I was very proud of my unflappable, no-nonsense response. Am modern, feminist mother, I thought to myself in manner of Bridget Jones, Nothing phases me!
“What’s sex?” piped Master 5-at-the-time.
“Ah, well.. What do you think sex is?” My perhaps less than brilliant response.
“Oh! Oh! I know!” said Miss 7-at-the-time, “A big kid at school told me! It’s when a man gets his…THING…and he puts it against a lady’s…THING (lots of pointing vaguely downwards) and then…THEY WIGGLE THEM!”
Three little faces looked at me expectantly, waiting for me to dispel the lunatic ravings of the bigger kid from school.
“Uh…yes..Yes, that’s exactly what sex is.” I replied.
Okay, so that’s not a hugely accurate description, but at the time it was age appropriate and they found it rolling-on-the-floor hilarious and disgusting all at once. Which was great as it gave me an opportunity to fill my glass, wake my husband and make him deal with them while I sat in the wardrobe drinking and crying that our babies were growing up too fast or something like that.
As they’ve gotten older, the questions have gotten more interesting. The eldest seems the designated question-asker and it seems she fills in the younger two, or at least asks in front of them so that they get to hear the answer. Here’s a couple of my favourites that she’s come out with:
“Dad, whats a blow job?” The answer sent her squealing out of the room.
“What does ‘bugger’ actually mean?” This answer had her wide-eyed and saying “In the WHAT??? REALLY???”
I think it’s really important that kids know they can ask you about sex and know they’ll get an honest answer. I am hoping it’s building a level of comfort and trust that means that they will feel they can come to us when they become sexually active- hopefully before then, actually. I don’t want them to be ashamed of sex or confused about it. I want my kids to know it’s normal, natural and okay. Most of all I want them to be safe.
I don’t mean just contraception and protection, though these things are hugely important, I mean I want them to have a thorough understanding of consent; I want them to know unless it’s an enthusiastic yes, then it’s a definite no.
What’s your sex-ed policy?
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