Frank Davis reflects on how he wants his daughter’s sex talk to go.
Is he scared? Find out.
My oldest daughter just turned nine years old. She will be in fourth grade this year. Gone are the cutesy pictures of smiling pencils and cartoons depicting basic math problems hung around the classroom. Instead, there will be posters that show historical events, literary quotes, and all things “big kid”. She is very excited.
Along with the new physical surroundings, fourth grade will bring new social issues to her world. Girls and boys will be giggling about each other with more frequency than she has seen before. Having a crush on someone will actually involve feelings instead of just being a statement. She will smile at little boys and they will either ignore her for being an icky girl or they will think she is cute and smile back. I will keep tabs on those boys for future disposal. Somewhere along the line, someone is going to mention a three-letter-word that is going to make her take pause and wonder what it is. You know the word.
My wife and I agreed that this was going to be the summer to sit down and have “The Talk”. The plan is for mommy and daughter to read a book about the basics first. Then, after they discuss the book and have a chance to talk about it, I will sit down and talk to her as well.
My wife went to the library and found some books. I scanned the pages and instantly realized how much of a challenge I have ahead of me. There were cartoon pictures of men and women of various ages, shapes, and sizes…all naked. The pictures were not graphic or suggestive in any way. Still, there were drawings of smiling cartoon men facing forward with their penises just swinging in the 2-D breeze.
This made me try to recall when I had the talk with my parents. That proved to be pretty difficult. Instead, I recall reading Playboy and Hustler in a tree-fort when I was in second grade. I knew the images of the women were appealing, but there were aspects about the pictures I did not understand (especially in Hustler). There were pretty faces and curvy bodies that made me feel funny inside. Basic biology took over. I recall discussing with my friends why anyone would want to look at a woman’s “naked hiney”. I also remember seeing women in stockings and did not understand why that was in the magazine. For the record, I understand it now.
Still, I could not recall having “The Talk” with my parents by this time or anywhere near this age. It was not until I was 12 years old, when my father and I climbed into his truck and took a drive to nowhere. He told me, “You know about sex already, right?” I knew about sex at this point from various friends and sneak peeks at R-rated movies, but that was all I knew. I think I said something like, “Yeah, I’ve heard about it.” I was terrified to discuss this with him. My father was not the greatest orator in the world and I did not want to hear him fumble his way through a tale of how you put your duck (his word for penis) into a woman and then stuff comes out and she gets pregnant. We both suffered through it. I suffered a great deal of embarrassment when I started to ask how “it” goes in and he heard “where does it go in”. For years he teased me about not knowing where to put it. Ah, the awkwardness of “The Talk”.
I have no recollection of having this discussion with my mother. I honestly do not remember if we had one and I purged it from my brain through years of alcohol and mental comet, or if she felt discussing it with my father was enough. But do not worry; I still had my embarrassing moment with her as well. My mom worked for the health department. One day I came home from school to find a brown paper bag on my bed. It was filled with condoms. I had no clue what to say. Was this a trap? I was 16 and did not want to talk to her about this at all, yet here was this conversational sack of protection that she dropped in my lap. Bad pun, sorry…and ewww. I walked out of my room and said, “Are these for me?” Realizing she had to answer, she simply said,”Yes, be safe.” There ended the conversation. Whew.
My sexual education consisted of pornography, scary talks in a speeding pickup truck, and the world’s shortest safe sex presentation. I do not want that for my daughters. They deserve to feel safe finding out what it is all about. They should feel comfortable talking to my wife and me about how they feel about sex. They are still young and I want them to have as clear and unbiased opinion about it as possible. I have no clue if I will be able to keep a straight face when the time for “The Talk” is here. I do know that I want them to have a better experience than I did. There is plenty of time for sex to be scary and mysterious as they grow older and it starts to become an urge. I want to make the time between then and now as easy as possible. That has to come from both of us. It is my responsibility, not just my wife’s.
Am I scared? Yes, yes I am. Will that stop me? No, not at all.
Originally published on My Mind is Leaking
Photo: Flickr/LoJuLu Photography