Kids Sing The Darndest Things (And Random Musings on S&M)

Posted in   Dr. Lanae   on  May 13, 2011 by  Lanae minutes remaining

I was driving my daughters and one of Cindy’s friends home from school the other day and I had the radio on. I’m usually listening to NPR or my iPod but my daughter’s friend requested a specific station. When I tuned in to that station after the ads it played Rhianna’s song “S & M”. Immediately they started singing. I bit my tongue while I drove, fully aware that the three girls knew all of the lyrics to this song and were singing at the top of their lungs. But I didn’t say a word.

The YouTube link seems to be broken. Try this.

Then, the other day I was again riding in the car with Marcia and Cindy. Rhianna’s song came on the radio again and the girls started singing it loud and proud.

I may be bad, but I’m perfectly good at it

Sex in the air, I don’t care, I love the smell of it

Sticks and stones may break my bones

But chains and whips excite me

Na na na

Come on, come on, come on

I like it-like it


When the song ended, I asked my daughters if they knew what the song was about. Cindy answered right away,

Cindy: “It’s about sex.”
Me: “Well, the song is called S & M. The S stands for sadism and the M stands for masochism.”

Cindy: “What do those words mean?”

Me: “Those are words that roughly mean inflicting pain on someone or having someone inflict pain on you.”

Marcia: “But what does S & M have to do with sex?”

Me: “It’s funny because most people think S & M is about sex. S & M isn’t always just about sex. Sometimes it’s about taking control or giving up power. Or sometimes it’s about pleasure and pain.

Marcia: “How can sex have anything to do with pain?”

Me: “Well, have you ever been spanked and instead of hurting it actually felt kinda good?”

Marcia chuckled and smiled: “Yeah.”

And that was it. I start the conversation by asking a question, seeking to find out how much they know. But I allow the girls to drive the conversation as far as How Much they want to know. Then I try to answer as best I can with one sentence.

This very frank conversation with them is intended to be simply information sharing. I’m doing this with my 7 & 8 year olds but I think they get it because we’ve been talking about this stuff for a while now. If your kids are older it’s not too late. You will probably be amazed by what they do already know. I guess this dialog above is also an example of how to start such a conversation with your kids. I’m not saying it is always easy; just that it gets easier with practice. And please note, these conversations are not about sexual positions, or STI’s, or reproductive biology. It’s about the stuff we encounter on a daily basis while living our lives.

If we can just be honest with our kids they can begin to understand the intricacies of sex and sexuality. So many adults I talk to wish their parents would have been comfortable talking to them when they were kids…well here is your chance; if we talk about these topics openly and honestly our kids won’t have that same complaint. Bigger, more complex conversations will come, I’m sure. But having these little chats, early and often make those that will come later easier in my honest opinion.

As for Marcia’s comprehension of the spanking aspect, some of you may have a similar recollection. Personally, I recall birthdays growing up where each kid had to go through “The Spanking Machine”: The birthday kid had to crawl on their hands and knees through the legs of the other kids and get one spanking along the way from each kid. Or another variation was to get the same number of spanks for your age. (Core Erotic Theme anyone??)

As for me I enjoy the power and control aspect. At our elementary school, every parent is requested to fill a slot in traffic duty to make traffic run smoother for kid drop off and pick up. This has to be one of my favorite parent volunteer opportunities because I get to boss other people around. There are always parents who don’t follow the rules when arriving at school and I’m pretty good at whipping them into line. For a while I’ve joked about dressing up as a dominatrix to do traffic duty at our school. I would if I didn’t think it would cause too much trouble. Haha! Like I said, sometimes S & M is not about sex.

About the Author Lanae

Dr. Lanae St.John is a Diplomate of the American Board of Sexology and certified sex coach with a background in sexology and a passion for helping people improve their sexual health and relationships. She is the author of "Read Me: A Parental Primer for "The Talk"" and the upcoming "You Are the One: How stopping the search and looking inside will lead you to your romantic destiny," and is committed to staying up-to-date on the latest research and trends in the field. Dr. St.John aims to share her knowledge and expertise in a relatable and approachable way through her blog on

  1. Fantastic article. I really wish there were more parents like you. Some parents would just shame Rihanna and try to keep their kids from listening to the song, when you know they’re just going to hear it somewhere else anyway. By talking to them about it, you help to form their opinions and knowledge on the subject instead of letting them or their friends do it.

  2. Wow, you had a lot of courage to explain those words to them. I’m surprised they handled it with so much maturity.

    The power of control can be intoxicating. Just make sure those other parents have established a traffic safeword in case things get out of hand. 🙂

  3. When my daughter was young, it was Donna Summer’s “She Works Hard For The Money” that caused conversations! Thank you, since I now have a 12 year old step daughter to have these conversations with.
    I recently had an organic conversation with her and a 12 year old friend of hers about calling another girl a “slore”.
    First off, when asked if they meant a slut-whore, they wanted to know how I knew what they meant. Secondly, we had a good conversation of why the girl in that context is a slore and the boy is “stupid”.
    I think I got some good points across. And we’ll do something similar again soon, I’m sure!

    1. Ooooh That Donna Summer song would be a good one to talk about. Especially since sex work is one of the few professions where women make more than men doing the same work. Man, I have to go look up those lyrics now. Thank you for reading and responding here.

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