Everything I could.
It was important to me that my son knew what sex was, first and foremost, so he didn’t feel or look stupid among his friends (like I did when I was younger) because he didn’t know what they were talking about. More importantly though, I wanted him to know the truth about sex from a trusted source, from someone he loves and not from “the boys on the playground,” or worse—from porn.
Granted, I’m certain he did hear and learn about sex from those places as well, but I was glad that I was comfortable enough to have an honest conversation with him first, so when he did hear about sex from the other boys or saw it in the movies, he had a baseline to work with.
I told him the proper names for all the body parts. I told him the improper names for all the body parts. I told him all the slang words I knew. I looked up all the other words I didn’t know. He needed to know that it was safe to ask questions and feel confident in knowing that I would tell him the truth. Even if I didn’t know the answer, I would help him find the answer.
My parents never had any talks with me—about anything sex related. I didn’t even get the period talk. I learned about periods when a girl asked me about it and I said, “Yeah, that’s the dot at the end of a sentence.” I had so much to learn. Sadly, I learned about most of it in the wrong way. I asked my mother multiple times what those pads and strange cotton things were under the sink (I had three older sisters), but she refused to tell me.
When I got my first period, it was my sister who came to my rescue and my friend’s mother who told me what was happening with my body. I longed to have a relationship with my family that enabled me to communicate—about anything really, but especially about things that mattered.
Because I basically grew up alone (my sisters had moved out and my parents were preoccupied) I was fortunate that I had good friends. I was allowed to date a 19-year-old man when I was only 15. He had a full-time job and his own apartment. As a parent myself, I can’t imagine how that was acceptable. As I mentioned, my parents were preoccupied when I was growing up.
I’m lucky I didn’t get pregnant, or worse. The girlfriend of one of my boyfriend’s friends took me to Planned Parenthood and put me on the pill, so I dodged that bullet. I wished it had been my mom who talked to me about options and helped me to be safe.