My parents were rather open about sex. That is, they kept forgetting to lock the door when they had it.
Despite the scarring, I did manage to find out about sex, babies and how the two were related. Of course, this was in spite of the football coach who ran what was laughingly called “sex ed” in conservative Texas, which was neither about sex or education.
When I had little dudes of my own, I decided I would make sure they knew all about growing up, getting sexual and having babies, or not having babies, as the case may be. Most parents vow to make their kid happy. I vowed to educate mine about sex. I’m willing to admit there could be something seriously wrong with me.
Once I decided on my course, I did have a bit of an advantage. See, my wife, known to me as She Who Must Be In Charge, is an obstetrician, so in her job she deals with repercussions from sex (babies!) all the time.
Because of that, my little dudes have always known that babies don’t get dropped down the chimney by a stork. They knew that all babies are given to their parents by Mommy.
Which, once we were able to stop laughing, we realized probably would not be a good basis from which to start our education. Once we disabused them of that notion, things got a little easier. And a lot less funny.
In a move perhaps foreshadowing my wife’s career, she and I had discussed this very topic before we had any of the little dudes. We didn’t want to add to the number of grown Americans messed up about sex. We figured we were going to mess them up in a lot of different ways no matter what we did, but we could definitely make sure they didn’t get too many hang ups about sex.
We decided we’d use the correct words whenever we spoke of certain (reproductively associated) body parts, both for the female and the male. So, yes, the words penis and vagina often were heard around Casa de Dude.
We made sure the little dudes used correct language as well, trying to reduce the titillation factor of using slang. Still, I can’t tell you how disconcerting it was to hear “penis” and “vagina” get said by little mouths. Which only goes to show that I still have a few hang ups about sex.
With all that groundwork laid (no pun intended), we still had some decisions to make. Just talking to the little dudes wouldn’t embarrass them enough. We needed visual aides to really do the job. We wanted to make sure the little dudes had a firm grasp (pun somewhat intended) on what their bodies would go through during puberty and, most importantly, that it was normal.
After a lot of looking and comparing of notes, we decided on what turned out to be a really great book: The “What’s Happening to My Body” Book for Boys by Lynda and Area Madara.
We were as prepared and ready as we were going to be. We thought we had it made. We were, of course, wrong.
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