Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

“…let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things life can be!”

What is a 46-year-old woman doing with Salt-N-Pepa rap lyrics from 1990, running through her head, you ask?

Talking to our “babies” about sex seems to be the hot topic of fourth and fifth grade moms this summer, and it is freaking me out. They are so little.

But apparently, the fifth grade science curriculum broaches the topic in the spring (I’m okay with that). Our pediatrician recommends boys getting the HPV vaccination at 11 (I’m good with that too). And the kids watched their first James Bond movie last week (I’m not sure how I feel about that one). The resulting conversation? “But why does he like girls so much?”

There seems to be this pressing need to talk to our kids about sex before their friends explain it to them with all the misconceptions they have and the missing moral compass we assume their lectures will fail to impart.

“…let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things life can be!”

And we do not want to leave them sitting in that spring science class looking around and realizing they are the only kid who has no idea what’s going on.

We can just imagine the “evil glare of the betrayed” we will get that afternoon as soon as they get in the car. Why didn’t you tell me?

Because I love you, I want you to stay little, I want to preserve your childhood a little longer, and you don’t need to know yet. Or do you?

Sometimes I feel like we are jumping the gun. I played my first game of Truth or Dare in fifth grade. I kissed a boy for five whole seconds in front of my friends. I thought I was amazing and mature. But I had no idea sex even existed, despite some hints in fourth grade science class regarding a chicken’s reproductive system when we dissected it.

Friends are buying books about boys’ changing bodies and girls’ changing bodies for their kids. They are explaining sex, or putting it off, and then holding their breath hoping they are timing it right. Some are trying to stay focused on the science of it. Others want to make sure to tie in their faith and the teachings of their religion. Many moms of girls want to include body image and self-confidence and self-respect.

Most adults I know say they either never had a sex talk, or it came too late. We certainly suffered our heartaches along the way. And maybe that’s what is really going on here. It’s less about sex, and more about protecting our kids from having their hearts broken… which will happen at some point, just like it did for us, no matter what we talk about in fifth grade.

“…let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things life can be!”

Each kid is different, ready to comprehend and accept the grown-up world at his or her own pace. Some ask questions. Some absorb quietly until they are pretty sure they understand. Some talk loudly about everything they know or do not know or think they know. Some kids think it is cool to know more than their peers. Others are embarrassed to.

My husband was playing golf with our guys the other day, and he asked if their friends talk about sex. “Why would they talk about that?!”

So he came home and said we can probably coast for a bit.

But we also erroneously watched The Bad News Bears (the remake), remembering it as a childhood classic (if that’s what you call a constant stream of cuss words, an alcoholic coach and big-hearted Hooters waitresses jumping up and down in the bleachers). In one scene, one of the young players was sitting on a bench waiting for a bus. The bench had an advertisement on it that read “Got Laid Off,” but the kid was sitting in front of the word “Off.” My fifth grader burst out laughing… “got laid!” Ha! Ha! Ha!

Oh dear. Fifth grade.


One thought on “Let’s Talk About Sex, Baby

  1. bookofmohs says:

    Wow, yes I imagine this will be so hard to do, I think you have a good approach though 🙂

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