I’m determined. Have been since I realized my own sexual discoveries were stunted until my 30s.
My kids will have healthier views on sex than I did.
It wasn’t as if I didn’t have a natural curiosity for it. At age eight, I asked my mom about sex. Her response?
“We don’t talk about things like that.”
When I pressed, it became, “We are not talking about that.”
To be fair to her, I asked in the middle of a Pizza Hut in an overly loud voice during dinner. And, as she’s told me since then, having that question come from an eight year old child (no matter how mature or precocious) threw her off.
And she was a product of her own upbringing. No one talked about sex when she was a child. The mention of sex, if said at all, always came in hushed tones, as if you didn’t want God to hear. She internalized the experience, and it crystallized into a total inability to discuss it with a curious (but also very loud) child in public.
I don’t blame her. But I realized I didn’t want to be like her. My children shouldn’t wait until they reach their 30s to have a healthy relationship with their sexual self.
Each generation improves on the one before, at least that’s the theory, and in my family it’s working.
My grandmother whispered the word “sex” and looked on disapprovingly when the topic came up, even as an off-color joke.
My mother managed to have better, more fulfilling sex by the time she was in her 40s. She still doesn’t want to talk about it.
I hit my 30s before I realized my sexual self. And my kids, to their chagrin, have a mom determined to talk about sex.
“Do we have to talk about this now, Mom?”
“Are you sure my little brother should be here for this conversation?”
“Why are you telling me this?!”
To be honest, I may be a little militant about it. Since the oldest reached nine or ten, I’ve insisted on an ongoing conversation.
I don’t wait for them to ask. Instead, I demand that they listen.
I think it might be working.
The oldest gave his permission for me to say “sex” around him, instead of “grown up stuff” which he insisted upon after one too many conversations.
He’s willing to hear me out when I talk about arousal and consent. We talked about kinks without ever using the word, and he seemed to accept that it’s okay to be turned on by literally anything.
If I manage to raise two men who understand consent, respect their partner’s autonomy, and never sexually harass, assault, or do worse to another human being, I’ll count it as a success.
For now, we have conversations that barely squeeze past my throat. My brain shrieks at me to stop. This feels too hard. It’s too awkward. He doesn’t want to know! But my instincts tell me to keep going, this is right, he’ll appreciate this someday.
Someday but not today.
Today, he wishes I’d please-for-the-love-of-all-that’s-holy stop talking about sex.
Hope he can live with the disappointment.
We always discussed sex openly and honestly with our kids. I taught them early on to always use condoms. I made sure my daughter knew that the condoms were her responsibility as well. I explained to them both that if their partner said no that it meant no. You are doing the right thing by keeping the lines of communication open.
At some point, I’ll keep condoms in the house and let him (and later his younger brother) know where they are and that I expect him to use them. We talk less about safety (for now) than I got when I was younger and more about acceptance and consent. But all of it’s important and we’ll get to it all in good time (I hope).
Way to go Mom! You’re raising two lovely kids who will help smash the rape culture norms by normalizing healthy attitudes toward sex and respect. I love it!
That is my plan. I tell them all the time that my only goal is to raise them to be good men, whatever that might mean. But this generation is already proving to be better than previous ones so I have lots of hope. 🙂
I completely agree with you, i had the same upbringing, sex just wasnt discussed, never seeing their naked bodies. Never kissing, hugging in front of us.
Nothing was discussed, only when my period started did mum talk. But that was only a little. But no talk about using sanitory pads or tampax. Nothing.
No discussing kissing, the different types, when i had my first french kiss i was mortified the jad wanted to stick his tongue in my mouth.
It made me very prudish until i was in my 40’s really until we we formed a D/s life.
Since our son was born, weve never covered our bodies if he walked in, only now hes 17, do i cover up a bit as i dont want to embarrass him.
But him and I have a good relationship and weve often discussed sex.
He became sexually active by the time he was 15, ( i think ) but weve ensured hes been safe, buying condoms for him.
But if he ever asked about bdsm, i would be honest but not tell him from our experience, just what ive read.
I want him to be body confident, understand his body and a womans, and so far weve done ok. Xx
It’s hard to go against what you were raised with but when it feels right, it’s also kind of wonderful. I try not to push him too much but as he’s gotten older, our conversations have developed…which gives me so much hope.
His younger brother is still at the stage where the word “buns” makes him giggle but we don’t leave him out either of the conversation completely, either.
Go grrl. Well done you.
I’ve got to figure out how to get pass my grandson’s parents, without creating a situation that cuts me off. I’m going to leave it a little longer, my boy is so open he would accidentally rat on me and then the proverbial would really hit it. Not that they are prudes in some ways, but they are not open about diversity.
It’s definitely a fine line to walk, and if you make the wrong step, you don’t get the access you need to have those conversations. I’ve noticed that some of our conversations about this stuff don’t actually *sound* like conversations about sex or kink. Talking about consent, we never mention the word sex (unless it’s an appropriate part of the convo). Talking about accepting other people and what they enjoy doesn’t have to mention BDSM and kink. If they accept the concepts now in less sexual connotations, I’d like to think that adding “during sex” to the “people can do what they enjoy” conversation won’t be as difficult. It’s a theory at least…the boys are too young for me to know for sure.