I spreak and write all the time about the benefits of talking to young kids about sex and sexuality. I stand by my perspective that we are doing right by our kids by sharing sound (and developmentally appropriate) information and our values around sex.
And still, it can be hard. Even where we are progressive, hip and sexually liberated adults, when kids show up in our lives, we sometimes (often) have a knee jerk reaction to not tell them about sex, thinking it isn’t good for them, that it will confuse or scare them. Sometimes, we might even think they’ll take the info and put it into practice.
A parent who heard me speak on the topic a few months ago wrote to me yesterday. She gave me permission to share.
After an innocent show ‘n tell with his girlfriend, my 5yr old son and I sat down with a book (Boys, Girls & Body Science by Kim L Fave) and I filled him in on ALL the bells and whistles of private parts, babies, why, how and when. He now is almost dissappointed and wishing he wasn’t a kid. He wishes he could just be grown up so he can “stick his penis inside vaginas”!! …. He really wanted to get specific about HOW to get the penis in there.
Is it normal to feel panicky, like you’ve shared too much? I said “this is not for kids” and “your body isn’t built for having sex until you are grown up, buddy”- a bunch of times. Worried a little because I am definitely breaking the norm in my experience. I’m trusting it will be fine….
I love this note for so many reasons.
- There was an event that triggered the opportunity for a conversation and rather than hiding from the opportunity, it was embraced.
- A (great) book was utilized to help break things down and lead to even more information sharing.
- Clearly this mom communicated that penis in vagina sex is amazing. Which is a perfectly good thing to communicate since it is. The kid is healthy and curious and is looking forward to something awesome!
- She talked about privacy and reinforced that sexual activity is adult activity.
- This mom shared her feelings of panic. Not with her kid – but with me. She’s looking for reinforcements since she has no role models from her own childhood.
- She is trusting that honest, open communication with her kid will set him up for life.
I bet she’ll embrace future opportunities to talk about privacy, consent and good decision making as parts of what makes ‘sticking his penis inside vaginas’ so wonderful. I bet she’ll help her son understand that sexual pleasure comes from all sorts of activity and how intimacy and mutuality - trust, good listening, respect and honesty – can make our sexual lives even more pleasurable.
As I wrote back to her, kids are amazingly good at showing unyielding enthusiasm for a subject and then, well, on to the next thing…
Still, the seed of a sex smart kid has been planted. Keep watering.
Thanks to this fabulous mom for sharing.