I (Barely) Survived The Sex Talk With My Three Boys
When we think of learning, we think ABCs, 1-2-3s, and, at our house, the birds and the bees. We didn’t know when – or how – we’d approach The Sex Talk, exactly, though my man and I figured we’d know when the time was right.
And so, when I was pregnant with my third child, we read our two older sons a book called It’s Not The Stork by Robie H. Harris. The boys, then ages 3 and 5, looked at the pictures with disinterest, and only wanted to know how the baby got into my tummy. And, more importantly, how it would come out. Taking a deep breath and speaking as fast as possible, I gave them an anatomically correct, biologically sound answer. They quickly resumed playing with their Lego. It seemed our attempts at demystification had fallen on deaf ears. Next time around, the kids could initiate the conversation.
And they did.
It started when my eldest, now 8, informed me recently that all moms “peed blood.” His best friend told him so. I’d been waiting for this moment since they started playing with my tampons. I slowly and matter-of-factly explained about periods. And then the real fun began.
For my guys, it was all about the egg. And the sperm. The whole concept of sperm “living in their balls,” which “look like eggs,” delighted them. And then they wanted to know how the sperm got out and, more importantly, how sperm really got in to get to the egg. They were interested and not the least embarrassed so I decided to respectfully tell them the whole truth.
I told them, slowly, that the man puts his penis inside the woman’s vagina. Again, they didn’t get it. “How?” one asked. “When?” asked the other. And the third just looked at me and asked “why”.
I carefully broke down the “how” to my 8-year-old. He nodded thoughtfully and then asked if he and I could go upstairs and try that right now. I hastily told him that no, we most certainly could not! He said that he loved me, so why not? Pre-pubescent Oedipus complex aside, I explained that it was a different kind of love we were talking about. Then the 5-year-old asked me if people did “it” before they got married. When I said “yes” he stared me down and asked if I did. Again, I nodded. He looked disgusted as he wondered if I did it “even when I wasn’t going to have a baby.”
Admittedly, this was the moment where I thought about lying. But I couldn’t. And when I said I had indeed “done it,” his face froze. Shell-shocked, he whispered, “Why?” And so I told him. Because it feels good. All three boys just stared at me, the silence eventually broken by my 3-year-old yelling, “Penis in vagina! Penis in vagina!”
As long as my kids asked me the questions, I felt it was only right that I give them the answers. The real deal answers. The Where Did I Come From? answers. I always loved that book by Peter Mayle when I was younger. It was brutally honest and totally funny. I tried to adopt the same tone with my three sons while they were young enough to actually want to listen to me. My husband can play the heavy and tell them about the responsibilities and repercussions when they’re older. Hopefully a lot older!