Talking About Sex Education

Dear Reader,

This last weekend my little brother* hijacked a day.  It was unplanned and on par with his visits, we had a lot of fun shopping and BSing.  In a lot of ways we’ve both grown up over the last year, but in different ways.  I don’t talk about family or name names, so the juicy bits aren’t up for discussion, but I’m always an open book.  Sometimes I share too much – so sue me!

After high school and the following years my life was very restrained.  I’d attended a Christian college and had a lot of my creativity and zest squeezed out of my life thanks to the weight of guilt I was told I should feel.  Sex, dating, even being attracted to a person were all grounds to feel guilty about.  Heck, if you hugged or kissed for too long you could get $250 fine.  The measures the school went to control people were extreme, but at the time I didn’t notice it because prior to attending college my parents discussed the matter of sex with me a grand total of  once.  And then it was to shove a picture book at me that was intended for medical students.

Fast forward to yesterday, I don’t know how or why, but the topic of sex was broached.  I think I almost gave my little brother a heart attack.  A reoccurring phrase he uttered was, “I wouldn’t think you would know about that.”

My point today, dear reader, is that somewhere along the way we’ve forgotten to educate our children about sex, leaving it to mainstream media to explain what is sexy or appealing.  We allow our religious institutions to make us feel guilty about being aroused, much less the act of sex alone.  There are some things that a child shouldn’t be taught, but parents who cannot discuss even the basics hurt their children more than they protect them.

For me, I spent several years uncomfortable with the idea of discussing sex – and then it happened in a college classroom with 54 boys and 6 girls and 1 teacher.  Of course I was the only girl not sitting with the other girls because I was friends with all of the class clowns.  It was one of the most uncomfortable experiences of my life – and it didn’t need to be.  As a freshman in college I learned more about sex than I had from my parents, or my rural school that refused to teach sex ed.

Learning about sex not only equips kids and then young adults to make better, wiser choices, it also helps them to be safe.  If you don’t talk sex, chances are you aren’t talking STD’s, rape, abusive situations, or any other list of things.

I wish I had that open path of communication to my parents about difficult subjects, but I never did.  I grew up finding the answers to my own questions and sometimes I had to learn the hard way.  If I ever have kids, I don’t care how uncomfortable the conversation gets, I want to talk to them.

*Just a note, because this is probably going to sound confusing to some, my ‘little brother’ is not a blood relative, but we’ve been like siblings to each other for most of our lives.  As far as I am concerned, he IS my family and I am his.  We just have different parents.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Talking About Sex Education

  1. This. So This. I was one of those growing up that had no idea what sex was. My teenage years were filled with me fake laughing at sexual jokes because I didn’t get them. My mother left me pamphlets on my bed when she wanted to talk about puberty-related things, yet not one of them actually explained the act of sex itself.

    My oldest (he’s 10) knows what sex is, even if he doesn’t understand it yet. My youngest will know it too by next year, because I don’t want them to learn from someone else. I don’t want them to go through their teenage years fake laughing at the sex jokes. It’s just one more thing to feel awkward about and holy hell, teenagers have enough to feel awkward about.

    • Sidney

      I knew too much about sex, and I knew it. The book my parents gave me? I read it until I understand because I’m hardwired to want to understand shit. So I got the jokes, but talk about uncomfortable. I remember having to explain certain anatomical areas to other kids my age in high school. Ug! Teaching kids about sex, yeah, it’s awkward, but it’s better than not knowing. You’re a good mom, even if they want to push the puppy into the pool when you aren’t looking 😉

  2. My daughter at age 9 told me she learned about sex on the school bus. That included men shooting acid into women and some other strange things. We had a detailed discussion about what it is and thank goodness.

    If parents are embarrassed about sex, their kids will be too. We need to be healthy and happy for our children.

    • Sidney

      Oh wow! I was probably 8 or 9 when I ‘learned’. Kudos for talking to her about it. She’ll appreciate it later in life if she doesn’t now.

  3. Pingback: Romance = Porn | Sidney Bristol

  4. My father tried to talk to me about sex. The conversation went something like:
    Dad: Um. So. Um. Do you have any questions about. Um…
    Me: Is this the sex talk?
    Dad: Um. Yes. Any questions?

    Luckily for my father I’m a nerd. What does a nerd do when s/he wants to learn something? We read. I read Cosmo, my mother’s romance novels, the occasional Playboy that we could find, and so I thought I knew all about sex and so my response to my father was:
    Me: No. No questions.
    I grew up in a Christian family and, for two years, went to a private Christian school where things like sex were not discussed. As I said, being a nerd, I read about the subject but the things I was reading gave me no true idea of what sex really was like. I got very lucky though. 1) I met a wonderful girl my freshman year in college just as ignorant as me who was very interested in exploring her sexuality. Did we both learn a lot. Luckily we did know enough to use protection. 2) Because of my major in college I took a class that amounted to sex ed. The first day of class we tossed out all the names we could for different parts of the male and female anatomy which served as a way of getting us acclimated to talking about sex. It was a great class. Parents, please please please sit down (no matter how uncomfortable) and talk to your children about sex. Don’t leave their sex education up to other kids on the bus.

    • Sidney

      It’s sad that Christians – speaking as one myself – shun the idea of discussing sex as more than something we shouldn’t do. It’s setting ourselves up to fail.

  5. My mother never got the sex talk from her parents. She never got the menstruating talk either. So when I came around, the sex talk was one of my mother’s favorite parenting tools. Because her parents never talked to her, she over-talked to me. I mean, I guess it was good, I was definitely informed on sex, STDs and birth control, but at the same time, it was too much…but better too much than not at all.