When I was a kid, sex was a completely off-limits topic in my house. Most of my education came from the school’s health class and sneaking to read trashy romance novels (something I still love to do) – neither of which actually prepare you for sex. At least not in a healthy way.
Before the boys were born, I told myself I would do it differently. I wouldn’t let the school or their friends be the only source of information – especially since both will be a little bit (and sometimes a lot) wrong.
I consider myself a fairly open person. Who you love and who you have sex with is your business as long as everyone is a legally consenting adult. Want to get married and you’re both dudes? Cool! Love each other but hate the idea of marriage? No worries here. I don’t think you’re going to hell. Love is love. Sex is a normal functioning part of life. Women who have lots of sex aren’t sluts. Men who don’t aren’t freaks. And anything goes when both parties consent. (Yeah, even the freaky stuff.)
I figure talking about sex in an age-appropriate way with my boys and teaching them the importance of consent will help them be more open about sexuality when they’re older. That’s the hope, at least.
I also acknowledge that my boys are going to have sex much sooner in life than I think they should. And as much as I want grandchildren, I don’t want them before either boy is out of high school. Condoms will be available. The conversation about no meaning no will happen (hell, it happens now when Sean won’t get off his brother’s head when they’re “playing”). All the things I think they need to know will be shared with them – many times, because we all know kids don’t listen the first 10 times you tell them anything.
I’ve been mentally preparing for the days when we’ll need to have these discussions since I was pregnant with Aidan. Okay, maybe not that far back, but close. Call me weird (I am, it’s okay) but I’ve been a little excited about the idea of having such an open line of communication with the boys as they get older that they’ll come ask me anything. I see them confiding in me when they’re confused or lost or heartbroken. We’ll be the home that doesn’t shy away from the awkward topics surrounding sex, and they’ll grow up knowing they can ask anything.
Aidan is the oldest (so of course, he’s the experiment since I’m clueless), and he’s not cooperating with my vision.
I tell him he can ask me anything. He nods, blushes for a moment, and then starts talking about Minecraft.
I remind him that I’m always here for him, no matter what. He shrugs and goes back to his YouTube videos.
I test his knowledge to see where he might be at in terms of slang and body parts. He shakes his head at me and walks away.
This isn’t going as planned At. All.
The other day, I took the bull by the horns (so to speak). He said something that related to sex, and I pushed a little harder. I asked him straight up, “Do you know what sex is?” He shrugged. I asked if he wanted to know. He gave me a smaller shrug, then whispered that he wanted to know but he didn’t think we should talk about it in front of Sean.
Later, when he’d clearly forgotten the conversation (and Sean was out of the room), I pulled him to the side and asked if he was ready to know.
He nodded, blushed, and then covered his face with his hands and mumbled, “I don’t think I can do this.”
Him?! I’m the one that’s struggling to figure out what’s age appropriate while still being clinical and adult about this and watching out for Sean who wants to know everything his big brother knows. I’m the one who should be hiding under the table!
I told him anyway. Simple terms, using the correct names for body parts.
His eyes widened. His cheeks became redder than before (not sure how that’s possible). He shook his head and walked away.
Where were his questions? Where was our moment to bond a little? Why isn’t he curious?!
I know the reason. I haven’t completely lost it. Moms aren’t supposed to know about this stuff and we’re definitely not supposed to talk about it with our sons. Aidan really wishes I would follow the rules of being a Mom.
Now that the mechanics of sex are out of the bag, I’ve kept my ears open for any opportunity to further the discussion. The child isn’t an idiot. He’s playing it close to the vest in case I divulge other information no mother should ever tell her son. But sometimes, the boys hands me sex-talk gold.
Riding in the car on the way to school, Aidan and Sean joked about have multiple “nipples” that are really “pimples.” They couldn’t get enough of saying both words, over and over again, and over and over and over…Anyway, in an attempt to shock me, Aidan joked that his “pimples” were, “down there, Mom” with a nod to his groin.
For once, all my cylinders were firing and I went with it.
“Yeah, if that was true, you’d be in danger of it rotting off.”
“That can happen?!” His eyes took up his whole face.
“Not quite, but if you have sex without a condom, you can get a disease [I nodded towards his groin] down there and you’ll think it’s going to.”
Maybe that’s not the healthiest way to start the discussion about safe sex practices but at least I didn’t have to hear about fake pimples on little boy penises anymore. I’m gonna call that a win.
This sex talk, sex positivity, open line of communication with Aidan isn’t going how I envisioned it AT ALL – which means it’s just like every other part of parenting. I thought he’d have questions and bring them to me (because I’ve told him his whole life that he can) – and he doesn’t. He won’t. I’m his Mom, after all. What do I know? And if I do know anything, Aidan doesn’t want to know about it. “It’s too embarrassing, Mom.”
As with walking, talking, reading, and tying his shoes, I’m going to have to pull him along and make sure he gets the education he needs before he decides to go get the experience he wants. Damn it. This was so much easier in my head.