The other night I was tucking Marcia into bed. She was in a pretty good mood and so was I since it wasn’t too late at night for her to be going to bed. You know these nights – there was no arguing on her part or nagging on mine. (Parents? amiright??)
So there we were, sitting on her bed chatting and I say, “You know Marcia. I never asked you how much you already knew about sex before you asked me that question.” She said, “Well, I didn’t really know anything so that’s why asked you.” I laughed at that, such honesty. “Good point.” (Smile). So I asked, “You do know where babies come from, right?” and she said seriously, “Yeah. I know that the man puts his penis inside the woman’s vagina when they have sex.” I got the biggest smile on my face because of how she said it: very matter-of-factly, there was no giggling afterwards; there was no look of any embarrassment on her face when she said it to me whatsoever. I gave her the biggest hug and an I’m-so-proud-of-you-squinty-smile and said to her, “That is absolutely correct. You used the anatomical terms and you said it so very confidently. You’re absolutely right.”
We had a couple moments of quiet, happy snuggling and then I said, sort of half giggling, “You sound like the daughter of a…” and she interrupted me, pulled away to look up at me and said “sex therapist?” I get the biggest kick out of this kid.
Thank you for letting me share that. Middle school will come along soon enough and I want to prepare them for that virtual “life raft” one of my favorite authors Rosalind Wiseman describes in her book “Queen Bees and Wannabes” on page 38:
Imagine you and your daughter are on a cruise ship. The cruise director’s job is to make sure your daughter is reasonably happy and entertained. There are scheduled activities, and if by chance she hurts herself, someone will be there to get her back on her feet. She knows most of the people on the ship and everything is familiar. But all of a sudden, girls start telling each other a ship is stupid and boring and it’s time to get off. As you watch helplessly, she leaves behind everything that is safe and secure, gets into a life raft with people who have little in common with her except her age, and drifts away.
Once in the life raft she may ask herself how she got there or why she even left in the first place, but when she looks around, she sees that the ship is impossibly far away, the waves are too big, and there are a limited number of supplies; she quickly realizes that her survival depends on bonding with the other girls in that life raft. But your daughter isn’t stupid. This realization is quickly followed by another one: she’s trapped.
I bring this example up at this point because this is also the time when kids stop listening to their parents. I think some girls in particular prefer to get their information from their peers. Hearing some of the things third graders talk about… well I can’t imagine fifth or sixth-graders to be much better.
I hope these conversations, as often as we have them, give my girls a level of comfort about this very natural topic. I hope in being open with them it encourages them to come to me when they have questions about sex or sexuality. I hope to have a home like the one sexualfuturist.com poses:
But imagine if your home was a place where hundreds of such conversations took place and your young ones had a LOT of time and conversation to really think it through. They might decide to modify their sexual behaviors to include a well-managed sexuality other than unprotected intercourse such as flirting, sexual conversations, emotional intimacy, humor and masturbation.
So I’d like to ask: Do you have moments or anecdotes you’d like to share? Any moments of proud parenting where it comes to this topic? I’m ready to listen to you too. Thanks for reading!