Sex is a (no pun intended) touchy subject in my family. This is totally ironic because almost every woman in my family got pregnant at a young age.
I was the youngest of seventeen grandchildren on my mom’s side. My grandparents had six kids, five were girls, who had about three kids each except my mom who only had me. You would think that by the time I was born they would have figured out that we all needed a good talking to about waiting until we found the right person, or just plain protecting our damn vaginas from explosive semen.
It’s not like a car full of gang bangers was driving around in our neighborhood shooting semen at us and we never saw it coming. No. Having unprotected sex is a decision that these girls made. All their parents had to say was: “if you’re going to have sex, wait a few seconds more and put a condom on. It will be a fun experience for both of you to share together. Yeah, I KNOW it feels better without one. If that’s the case, tell this (already STD-tested!) guy to pull out. It’s really not that difficult.”
I didn’t even get a proper sex talk myself, probably because the idea of discussing sex with her daughter made my mom very uncomfortable.
“The talk” went as follows:
INT. LIVING ROOM – DAY
A commercial about talking with your child about sex comes on while my MOM and I watch TV together.
You know about sex, right?
(Without taking eyes off TV)
My mom and I could watch sex scenes in films together without a pinch of discomfort, yet a serious conversation that every child must endure–a right of passage if you will–was a ten second check-in between the two of us before we carried on with our lives.
And I actually didn’t know a thing about sex. For a long time I thought that the testicles were inserted into the vagina along with the penis so all of my 11-year-old fantasies involving Freddie Prinze Jr. and Seth Green (not at the same time) would have resulted in a trip to the hospital if they ever came true.
Luckily, for my mom (and unluckily for me) I had a low tolerance for sex-related topics. I was so terrified of any discussion about sex that in my freshman health class I practically passed out each time a slide of HAND DRAWN human genitals came up on the projector. When a slide came up and my teacher dove into a talk about the anatomy of the vagina, my stomach turned, my brain got fuzzy and everything started to go black.
In college, at the age of twenty, I decided to give sexual education another shot by enrolling in a health psychology course, aka a class devoted to sex and diseases from sex. Everything went smoothly on the first day of class until my sexually-open professor pulled out a dildo from her desk drawer to show everybody. That’s when my body told me it had had enough. I got “the feeling” and almost passed out.
I raised my hand to ask to be excused. A twenty-year-old WOMAN in a community college course couldn’t look at a dildo without nearly fainting.
Was this because I never got a real talk about sex? I’m not really sure. But parents and future parents, if you’re hesitant to talk to your child about sex, please consider that maybe they need it psychologically more than they do physically. Consider that your lack of a talk isn’t just conditioning a kid who might go out into the world as an adult ready to shoot semen at innocent bystanders, but you may also be conditioning your baby girl to avoid the gynecologist because the idea of a big metal thing being inserted into her vagina is the scariest thing ever. Yeah, she may be overreacting but she can’t help it. You didn’t prepare her to not be afraid.
And if she’s already afraid: after the talk, place a sympathetic hand on her shoulder and remind her, “at least there aren’t any testicles attached to it.”