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.
Here’s how it went down:
Le Kid (playing Minecraft on the iPad): I don’t even know what a condom is.
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.
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!