Let’s talk about sex.
Just give me a second while I try to get the Salt-N-Pepa song out of my head.
Actually, maybe a 2 decade old ear worm is the perfect place to start. It was 1991. I was caught up in the teen romances on Beverly Hills 90210 and learning that Pee Wee Herman, a character in a kids movie I watched as an immature 10 year old was being charged with public indecency in an adult movie theatre. I was a young girl trying to navigate the first steps in a sexual revolution that claimed good girls didn’t have sex, but cool girls did, but not too much because then they’d be a different type of girl altogether.
I’d like to tell you that I stumbled my way through those difficult years and came out the other side older and wiser and knowing all the rules of the game but I think I only nailed the older part. I’m pretty sure the players could still chew me up and spit me out if they were so inclined and yet now I have been called up to coach.
In the good old days, I had my children convinced I was a genius as I expertly fielded questions from a wide variety of topics. Then they learned to ask, “Did you just google that?” and I had to admit,
Yes, yes I did.
These days I stay up at night and obsess over my search history after trying to decipher what coworkers mean when they use terms like ‘pearl necklace’ or ‘pig roast’ and I can tell by their tone that they are not talking about jewellery or family barbeques *shudder*
I shock people when I tell them that I’ve only ever had one sexual partner. I’m a contradiction of wanting to take things slow but also not wanting to waste time, so when I finally found the right person, I up and married him. I don’t believe in casual sex not because of what it says about a person, but because of the emotional and physical cost in a world where everyone puts everything on credit. I’m afraid one day the bill will come in and leave someone broke, but I don’t judge, I just worry. My children know that I consider sex a high risk investment that you shouldn’t make until you understand all the variables and if you’re not comfortable enough to ask some questions you should probably put your wallet back in your pants and walk away.
Still, I’m not foolish enough to believe that my kids are never going to gamble. All I can do is keep the lines of communication open and shine a light on a topic that everyone seems to want to keep in the dark.
And so I’m back to shocking people.
We recently celebrated my middle daughter’s first communion. We were joined by family and friends and we all tried to find a place under the beautiful vaulted ceilings. Our daughter’s god parents were just across the aisle but their 3 year old was glued to my son’s side and sat with us, good as gold, staring awestruck at all the colourful stained glass windows. I leaned over and whispered that they should sneak out while they had the chance and grab a quickie in the car, but was rewarded for my generous offer with only a slight choking sound as she blushed, and he pulled at his tie uncomfortably.
“I’m just saying, I remember those days. Preschoolers take forever to fall asleep and they wake up when you least expect it. This ceremony is going to take over an hour. Imagine what you could do with that kind of time”
They lean over towards me to mutter, “Sssshhhhh! We’re in a church for Christ’s sake”
To which I respond, “Hey, sex can be very spiritual. I don’t know about you, but I always talk to God in the heat of the moment.”
As this point in the program I can feel my daughter burying her face in her hands beside me and I turn to look at her and say a little defensively, “What?”
“You did just admit to taking the Lord’s name in vain Mum.” I didn’t feel the mature response would be to retort back, “yeah, well, they started it” so I try to take the high road.
“Ok I do believe in a higher power even if I am a little iffy about the details and some of the rules. Still I try to give the church the benefit of the doubt and that is a relatively easy commandment to remember but during an orgasm, the brain just goes completely and blissfully blank. It’s one of the few times I get to stop thinking, which is kind of the beauty of it, so I sort of feel it’s an unrealistic request.” She’s looking a little scandalized so I concede, “I guess if we truly are all God’s children, I can see why maybe it’s a little weird. Ugh, I wouldn’t want you screaming out my name one day when you find the right person and take that step.” Now we’re both a little scandalized, “Yeesh, I’ll work a little harder, Agreed?”
As I sit there and recalculate and wonder if maybe that wasn’t the high road after all, she whispers, “You do know that other Mother’s don’t talk to their kids about this kind of stuff, right?”
“yes well, other Mother’s are probably also not afraid of the dentist and I really feel if we’re going to start picking out my problem areas as a parent we should start there. I’m pretty sure you’re overdue for a cleaning but I can’t bring myself to even call the office, never mind about actually accompanying you to the chair.”
At this point my son leans over and whispers, “dental hygiene is really important”
“yes, I KNOW!” I mutter as my daughter just shakes her head and whispers, “I honestly don’t understand how your brain works Mum”
Join the club sweetie, join the club. All I do know is that information can’t be the problem. If we’re sitting in the car and my kids asks about the gear shift, the indicator or the oil light, telling them what I know (which is obviously not a lot if the oil light is on), is not giving them permission to get behind the wheel. I’d just rather have them learn from someone who has their best interests at heart rather than someone who is just going for shock value behind the bleachers.
Parents everywhere are attacking the school system for updating an out dated curriculum but educators are not responsible for our new sexualized society; they’re just trying to deal with the fall out. And there is fall out. Just the other day my son reported that he heard on the playground that Katy Perry tans her vagina. While I could neither confirm nor deny the accusation, I chose instead to tackle the issue by having a conversation about gossip and explained that we should try not to talk about people behind their backs and since the likelihood of ever running into Katy Perry was slim we probably didn’t need to discuss her tanning practices or her vagina. (Which saved me a google search that I’m sure would have been unpleasant and an invasion of privacy).
This is not a debate on what the right age is to engage in sexual activity or even a dispute on what age you should have the ‘talk’ , but it is a reminder that you’re crazy to think that your child is not living in a world where sex sells. I might not be completely familiar with the currency but they say if you look after your pennies, the dollars look after themselves. Sex isn’t something we should be ashamed to talk about. If you won’t talk to your kids about it, your kid’s aren’t going to talk to you about it and then you’ll never know what they’re talking about in the school yard. I want my children to know they can always come to me and even if the subject matter is embarrassing and confusing, we can be embarrassed and confused together.
Now if they have questions about dental hygiene, I’m going to get all flustered and fall back on, “Go ask your father”
Because nobody’s perfect, especially not a cractpot.
Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul~Charlie Chaplin