I recently read this post on the wonderful Raising My Rainbow blog. In it, “C.J.’s mom” talks about how she assumed her husband would be the one to talk to their boys about sex, until it became clear her gender variant son might be gay. (Let me pause here to say that C.J.’s mom is one of my mommy and blogger heroes, and despite using her post as a jumping off point into the far reaches of my radical brain, I have nothing but utmost respect for her).
I think many of us approach the idea of talking to our kids about sex by following cultural scripts we don’t give much thought to. If we stop and ask ourselves why, however, we may realize these scripts are not at all the best way to raise empowered, feminist children. Why does a same-sex parent give the sex talk? What message does that send? Why a “sex talk” at all? And what should be said in the talk?
I know some of you think you have many years before you answer these questions, but the truth is, we have to start when our children are learning to talk by teaching them the proper names for body parts in a casual, natural non-shaming way. I tell my two year-old daughter during diaper changes “I need to wipe your vulva.” This is the very beginnings of her sex education, and my son’s as well.
So why “sex talks?”
Recently, a group of friends at a dinner party went around a talked about whether we had had a “sex talk.” Turns out not a single person at the table had had one. We were all basically “self-taught.” So the fact that many folks who are parents now are thinking about and planning “sex talks” is admirable and important.
But is the “sex talk” enough?
In my opinion, if I’m planning a “sex talk” with a kid, I’ve already missed an opportunity.