Let’s Talk About Sex: When Did You Have The Talk With Your Son?

By on Aug 6, 2014 in Parenting | 5 comments

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The other day Le Kid and I were in the living room on our respective tech devices—him on the iPad, me on my MacBook—and Law & Order was on in the background. During this particular episode a young man was accused of intentionally infecting women with HIV. During one scene Jack McCoy explains that this case isn’t about loose women or lack of condom usage, but rather a man who purposely endangered other people’s lives. Ya know, normal L&O stuff. Only this time Le Kid asked a question that caught me off guard.

let's talk about sex

Here’s how it went down:

Le Kid (playing Minecraft on the iPad): I don’t even know what a condom is.

Me: Oh…ok

Le Kid (still on the iPad, but clearly wanting an answer): I said, I don’t even know what a condom is. (Then he gestures in my direction). Welllllll?

Me: Well, it’s…nothing you need to be concerned about now.

Le Kid: Oh.

Me: 0_0

I posted the convo on Facebook and got a myriad of responses about when and how to talk to my son about sex, and honestly, the whole thing freaked me out.

The rational part of my brain knows that we’ll have to have the talk at some point, but at eight? EIGHT?! Mama wasn’t ready. AT. ALL.

The whole ordeal reminded me of the various talks my mother had with me over the years. At 11, she used my newborn brother’s diaper change to school me on male anatomy and where babies came from. I was properly mortified, but I appreciated her making it all very clinical and plain.

Throughout my teens, whenever an unruly teen would appear on Ricki Lake or the Richard Bey show (yes, I’m old) bragging about being promiscuous she’d used the opportunity to remind me to save “my precious gift” for marriage.

When I started going to the teen clinic for my annual physical instead of seeing my pediatrician, things got really interesting (and by interesting I mean embarrassing). Even though I told the doctor I wasn’t sexually active and had no plans to be, she handed me a roll of condoms and encouraged me to “stay safe.” I was already self-conscious going in, but when I found out the doctor also told my mother she’d armed me with prophylactics I was horrified. I threw the condoms on a shelf in our living room and tried not to look at them again. But during an episode of Moesha where she gets caught making out with her boyfriend, I wanted to run and hide when my mother asked, “So…are those condoms still unused?”

Looking back, I appreciate my mother’s (awkwardly timed) attempts to talk about sex, but the whole thing just made me uncomfortable. One reason was because I wasn’t even thinking about sex at the time, and the other was because my mom always described sex as something to only share with my husband, lest both he and God be disappointed in my “old, used up gift.”

In my head I’ll talk about sex with Le Kid differently. In my head I’ll be the hip mom always armed with an answer to his questions and a box of condoms when the time is right. But his off-the-cuff question makes me have doubts. Although he’s never asked or been curious about sex—the condom question was a one-off—I’m starting to wonder if I’ll really be ready when the time comes.

So, I’m asking you for help Brown Boy Genius readers.

When did you talk to your sons about sex? How did you know it was the right time? And how did both of you get through it without feeling majorly awkward?

Leave a comment. Le Kid will no doubt thank you later!


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  1. Katrina

    August 6, 2014

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    My aunt did something interesting with her daughter. She got together a group of her daughter’s friends’ mothers and as a group they did a sister circle to talk about sex. she said it was great having the support of other mothers, and the daughters had a free, open, safe space to share their thoughts and ask their questions. it’s something i may try to do with my daughter when she is of age.

  2. Val

    August 7, 2014

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    I hate to say it, but some of these kids know a whole lot more at eight than we give them credit. I know at eight, we don’t want to go into all of the particulars, but I try (not always successful) to answer the question asked and nothing more, in a way that they can understand. I would have freaked out too.

  3. Gina

    August 9, 2014

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    Little bits of information all along as they ask for it. Some ask earlier than others. But I had a very funny moment–typical chaos in this house of five kids where I was outside trying to wrestle a naked muddy baby to get into the house and cleaned, someone was showing me a salamander, there was some other barking dog or hurt child catastrophe going on and my 10 year old decided to say, “I heard that a boy’s penis has to go into a girl’s vagina to make a baby” and I gave the world’s quickest explanation of how it worked (see also: naked muddy baby and the rest of it). But he was satisfied. I always just take a minute and try to put it in simple terms. We also have a kid-friendly book accessible to them at all times in case I’m not accessible (see also: typical chaos/five kids).

  4. Kayla

    September 11, 2014

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    I just had a baby last year; being pregnant has to be the biggest catalyst in talking to your kids about sex because if they are school age, you can no longer avoid the topic of how you got pregnant. =) We used God’s Design for Sex series. I haven’t read all of them but the school age one was spot on in terms of explaining sex, how you get pregnant, etc. all from a viewpoint that meshed with our beliefs as parents. My kids have always known the correct terminology and how boys and girls are different but the whole sex conversation is definitely a bit harder to fit in. It’s one of those parenting issues where it’s all about being intentional; otherwise, you would easily let those conversations slip through the cracks or make a half hearted effort.

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