It happened. There I was playing an innocent game of Words with Friends, when my sister played the word “sex”. Mars, never more than 6 inches from me at any given moment, looked over, saw the word and offered:
“Well I sure hope she means the gender sex and not the inappropriate sex.”
Oh hell. It was time for the talk. And I was NOT ready.
Good news: It didn’t go anything like that.
Bad news: It went more like this:
Oh, and for the record, fallopian tubes should be called “amazing arms” because, says Munchkin, they look like arms with hands on the end. Don’t act like you weren’t thinking the same thing.
We also talked about sperm swimming furiously toward eggs, babies growing in uteruses, and puberty. Oh puberty. It turns out a friend of his told him that puberty starts when you get hair… on your legs. So Mars has been thinking he was in puberty for the last 2 years. I took the opportunity to clarify that puberty is actually signaled by hair growing in the genital area. He was appalled, but recovered quite gracefully. So gracefully, that in the next breath he was asking me if it would be appropriate to trim his genital hair once it starts growing. I said yes.
With gems like that, you can probably imagine how much of an emotional roller coaster this conversation was. For me.
Even more so when I realized that I was veering ever so perilously close to the P word.
As in, “sex is a big deal because that’s how babies are made so you shouldn’t have sex until you’re ready to make a baby.”
I know, I know. How could I let such filth come anywhere near my child? The wife and I had prepared for this day. We were going to be sex positive parents who would speak openly (check) and honestly (check) with our children about sex without the use of fear as a deterrent in place of good judgment (eh….). Well I’m here to tell you something:
That shit is hard.
I mean really difficult. In those moments, I wanted nothing more than to wrap my arms around my little pumpkin, tell him that sex was a boring, yucky, unpleasant act meant only to make babies by people who are at least 25 years old, slap a chastity belt on him and throw away the key. Why? BECAUSE HE’S EIGHT! And my baby. And dammit, no amount of abstract discussion can prepare you to look into your little boy’s eyes and say “sex is great! I recommend it!”
All that being said, I feel so lucky to have had this opportunity. I, not some other 8 yo, or worse, some 13yo, explained this amazing part of life to my child. It was yet another incredible mother/son moment that I will forever cherish. A moment that I never shared with a parent.
Mars: But Mommy, what does it feel like?
Me: *long pause* There are many different feelings. Some are physical, some are mental, some are emotional.
Mars: Well, sometimes when I touch myself, it feels all tingly.
Me: Yes, tingly is one of those physical feelings. Sex does bring very nice physical feelings. But there are also some mental and emotional feelings that you’re just not ready to experience yet. When you get older, when you’re ready for sex, those will be nice too. But right now, your body and your mind aren’t ready. Now if you start to think that you are ready, will you come tell me? I won’t be mad. I just will want the chance to talk to you about this some more.
Mars: Sure Mom. I think I’ll be 23.