Talking to Your Kids About Sex
I’ll never forget the night we were sitting around the kitchen table, finishing up dinner, when my 10 year-old daughter turned to me and casually asked,
Mom, what's a c**t?
Forever burned into my memory is the look on my husband’s face, the innocence in her question, and the curiosity on her younger brother’s face. I’ll never forget that dinner because my baby didn't seem like such a baby when that word came out of her mouth. But most of all, I’ll never forget how badly I didn’t wanna explain what a “c-u-next-Tuesday” was.
Up until that point, I thought I was really killing it with those talks about baby-making and sex. After all: my kids had a nurse and a doula for a mom…they’ve watched countless birth videos and they used to look through my medical dictionary for bedtime stories. So, I knew they had a good understanding of anatomy. They knew the proper terminology for things like “penis” and “vagina” because as I always used to say, “We never feel silly about calling a nose a nose!” I just didn’t think about the fact that they were going to ask me questions like that. And that I’d have to answer it calmly and in an age-appropriate way in front of 4 kids ranging from 0-12.
But of course they would. Because kids hear things on the school-yard and on Xbox Live. They watch movies that may be a little advanced for them and don’t even get me started on the music they may be listening to! No matter how inconvenient it is for us, kids are going to hear things that they don’t understand and if we’re really lucky, they’re going to ask us what they mean. Because if they’re asking us, they must trust us, right?
That’s all great and everything, but it doesn’t make it any easier. And here’s the thing- if we can’t give them information when they’re 12, how are we going to listen and give them information when they’re 16??
Fast forward to this morning:
I watched a panel of teenagers on a television show. They ranged in age from 14-18 and they were answering questions about their sexual habits.
They basically all said the same thing:
- Teenage boys frequently expect girls to perform oral sex and if they don’t, they tell everyone at school so she gets bullied.
- Teenagers “wheel” each other for a couple of months before they hook-up. Apparently dating only happens after the wheeling and hook-up. (And “hook-up” means exactly what you think-sex)
- Teenage girls frequently hook-up with someone new every weekend.
- Most teenage girls who were performing oral sex on boys didn’t feel comfortable talking about it with their parents, even if they had a close relationship.
I have a daughter who’s 15 and a son who’s 14. The thought of either one of them giving or receiving oral sex, hooking up every weekend or doing these things and having nobody to talk to makes me feel sick. I’m not a prude. I don’t have my head in the sand when it comes to my kids; but I can’t imagine the emotional stress kids are under these days to be engaging in this risky sexual behaviour with nobody to talk to about it.
So here’s the big question-
- How can we talk to our kids without judgement and emotion when it comes to sex?
I’ll be honest…I don’t always want to know the details. I have a hard time separating myself from the uncontrollable urge to shove them back into my uterus sometimes, so how am I supposed to accept that they’re growing up so fast?
But they are. Ugh.
So I struggle to hear details and answer questions. I put condoms in their bathroom and told them to let me know when they need to be replaced, no questions asked. And I’ve made it very clear that ending up with a sexually transmitted infection is the least of their worries if they have unprotected sex- now the stakes are much higher with HIV and AIDS. I’m a mom just like you, feeling my way through these tough times and wondering if I’m doing anything right.
And I’ll tell you one thing: I would give anything to have the simplicity of the days when my kid asked me what a c**t is at the dinner table.
Joanne Ilaqua - CEO of MamaSoup
Hey there, I’m Joanne.
I’ve spent about 20 years serving women as a nurse, doula and Lamaze educator. I have 4 kids and I know firsthand how lonely and isolating motherhood can be, so I created MamaSoup. I'm mostly known for my love of red wine, spontaneously singing and my confidence in being my true self on social media. When I’m not busy building women up, you can catch me taking Instagram stories of my bulldog Ruby, watching The Handmaid’s Tale, playing MUber (Mom Uber) to my kids or vacationing in my favourite town: Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
I love serving the world by providing a space for moms to connect and support each other. In my opinion, moms are the backbone of communities because they are (literally) raising the future!
As the founder and CEO of MamaSoup, I’ve been featured on CHEX TV Morning Show, KawarthaNOW, Economic Development- The City of Kawartha Lakes and MyKawartha.
Still with me? Join me over at MamaSoup to keep the conversation going!