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Help! I think I should have 'the talk' about sex with my son...how did you start this conversation?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

I always thought I would just wait until he asked a question about sex...something I was sure was going to happen years ago (he's super inquisitive, reads biology books for fun, etc.).  However, he has yet to bring it up.  He just turned 9, but reads at a pretty advanced level, so I know he's getting some exposure.  'Tho books are pretty much it -- he's homeschooled & we're mostly tv-free.   I'm pretty sure he knows the biology of baby-making, but I'd like him to have a sense of the emotional content of sex from his parents.  At the same time, I'm worried about pushing an awareness onto him that he may not be ready for.  Ugh!

 

Ok, so questions --

How old were your kids when you talked about sex?

Did you initiate the conversation or did they ask a question?

What did you say???

Is there anything you wish you'd done differently, or wish your parents had done differently with you?

 

Thanks mothering community!  I always appreciate your wisdom.

post #2 of 19

What I wish my parents had done differently? Actually talked to me about it. I found out what I needed to know by digging in their night tables for Joy of Sex and What You Wish You Knew About Sex, But Didn't Know Who to Ask when they were out.

 

With my two? I pretty much kept it an open topic from the time when they were little. So we didn't really have A conversation, but serial ones over many years. They're pretty open with me, although my daughter is more so.

 

I guess it was easier with her, though, since we're both girls. I did get my son a book (his Dad is far away, and wasn't that interested in helping with parenting), and he came to me with questions, thoughts, etc.
 

post #3 of 19

you are talking about the emotional aspect of sex right?

 

not the nitty gritty details right?

 

at 9 i think he's too young to talk about it. 

 

unless...

 

he has had his first crush. does he like a girl? soft spot for anybody. if not i wouldnt even think about it.

 

but if he has (btw dd in 5th grade 10/11 year olds - most of them have a crush on someone) then you can approach the subject. 

 

dd has a crush and so i brought up this issue. 

 

however we have always talked about no one - no one touches her body without permission - not even her own parents. so she has grown up with this and was thus easy to introduce no one should force anything on her. she will have sex when she is wants it and dont let anyone bully you into it. however i have not really brought up the emotional side of sex. i dont feel she has that consciousness yet. 

 

but first, first check and see if your son IS ready for this. or will it be a huge embarrasment. dd has never had any talk with her dad. always with me. so would he be more comfortable with you or your partner? 

post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks for your responses -- yup, he's already had his first crush...two actually. :)  We've talked about those 'tingly' feelings & how he has those special feelings for certain friends, but not for all his friends. 

 

I do think he'd feel more comfortable talking to me, we really do talk about everything, which is part of the reason why I'm surprised this hasn't come up yet. We have talked about appropriate touch over the years.   I guess my conflict is really in the discrepency between what he's experiencing himself (tingles, very very early attraction) & what is sometimes referenced in what he reads.  no, I don't want take him to a place he's not ready to go...But I also don't want him to feel like he can't talk about it with us (or learn about sex only from books, like mtiger).

 

Should I just keep waiting until he brings it up?

Maybe I should just ask him if he wants to talk about sex & see what he says...

post #5 of 19

I know that in PS, they usually start addressing sex in 5th grade - that's when they do puberty/reproduction and "the movie" in Health. I. personally, feel that's too late to start discussions. Especially given how early some kids start going through puberty. I would start with talking to him about changes his body will soon be going through, and then move on to how those changes may affect him emotionally, etc. Obviously, this doesn't need to be a sit down and go over it all. Chunk it up, and leave it open for questions at any point.

 

As I said - I learned via book. And to be fair, it was a different time, and my parents' upbringing was such that these things were not discussed. Yes, I got my son a book, as he is the kind to be more likely to read, consider, then ask questions. Also, since I'm not a guy, there were things that I didn't know. His Dad wasn't interested (I had to teach him how to shave, for example), my Dad wasn't going to talk to him and my brother... well... I'll leave that one be. My daughter, OTOH. has always been very open and more of a talker. One thing she always hated was being upstairs, in the shower, alone. So always (literally - until the day se went to college) wanted me in the bathroom with her. That turned into a wonderful chance for us to talk about stuff.

post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post. My daughter, OTOH. has always been very open and more of a talker. One thing she always hated was being upstairs, in the shower, alone. So always (literally - until the day se went to college) wanted me in the bathroom with her. That turned into a wonderful chance for us to talk about stuff.

My son can't be in a room alone so bathroom things are more open around here than I ever anticipated.  Also, with a house full of women (two moms, all sisters) he gets some special treatment as the only boy.  That, for us, has lead to more casual discussions about sex.  The biology and mechanics are known early, right along with things like worm saddles, number of pine needles, etc. (again with two moms I felt they needed facts in case they ever needed to defend themselves.)  The emotions of sex and the violence of rape are things that have been much harder to talk about and he (at 12) is a long way from understanding.  Basically  the emotions follow nature- in order to make us want to reproduce it feels good but it is easy to get hurt or hurt someone emotionally because of those feelings.

 

I do understand the fear of the shock factor though.  I don't think my son has any awareness of oral sex but know for a fact his friends do.  (Can't pass a BJ's store without lots of snickers coming from the back of the car!)  We debate about telling him so he isn't embarassed but also know he'll be pretty grossed out! 

 

9 is still so young!!

post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

With my two? I pretty much kept it an open topic from the time when they were little. So we didn't really have A conversation, but serial ones over many years. They're pretty open with me, although my daughter is more so.

 

I guess it was easier with her, though, since we're both girls. I did get my son a book (his Dad is far away, and wasn't that interested in helping with parenting), and he came to me with questions, thoughts, etc.
 

 

 

This is what I've always done with mine. My oldest is 17 and next is 10 and not done anything with the 3 yr old yet, lol...but yes I just keep it going from an early age, stay very open, talk about anything, find windows to bring up things, etc. It's worked out great so far!

post #8 of 19
I like the books
It's not the stork
It's so amazing
And
It's perfectly normal

He might be ready for 'its perfectly normal' I've only thumbed through it at a friend's house because ds is only 5, but it has a lot of information about puberty and feelings and stuff. (Not a totally complete review sorry)

Anyway it might be a good opener if you want to use it to talk about stuff. Our local library has all of them so you might be able to get it at the library.
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtiger View Post

So always wanted me in the bathroom with her. That turned into a wonderful chance for us to talk about stuff.

I can relate. this was kinda us. from crawling time to maybe K everytime i went to the bathroom, dd pulled out her stool and we commenced our philosophical talk. i have dealt with hard questions, including sex, life and death, etc with me on the potty and a curious dd asking question after question. its because of that a lot of info was common knowledge for her. like the sight of blood did not scare her. it aroused her curiosity. she loved handing me the sanitary pads. 

 

now those wonderful times happen in the car, or at bedtime. 

 

our school is planning to bring in a nurse for sex education. but for our fifth grade sex education is all puberty and the body changes and emotions - not about sex. 

 

OP you asked Should I just keep waiting until he brings it up?

bring up what? the emotional aspect of sex? he will never bring that up. you have to kinda introduce that. 

 

he might bring up but exactly HOw does the egg meet the sperm. that is the nitty gritty details (all those questions dd asked me directly and then i educated her), but the emotional side i had to introduce myself. 

post #10 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks everyone for the replies!  It's really helpful to hear about your experiences, & I appreciate the book suggestions too :)  Until very recently we've mostly had an open bathroom door - so both my sons have learned about menstruation, etc.  But, you've helped me understand something really basic that I hadn't really thought about - that the mechanics of sex & the emotional components of sexual feelings are two different conversations.  Now so obvious.  Thank you!

post #11 of 19

Just chiming in ... While we never had a defined talk, like the other posters our discussions evolved over time, starting with how two cells create a little ball of cells. My kids knew all about the development of the baby in the womb before the conversation grew to include the "external" aspects, starting with basic mechanics and then the emotional component. (And I agree with the above poster that you have to put your own perspective into that.) Their questions led the discussion so I wouldn't give them too much information.

 

Now that my eldest is a teen, I can see how the earlier conversations were really all about *them* (from the perspective of the fetus), while the later conversations are more about the relationships that precede babies. For us, car rides were a great place for a range of conversations. In our state, a 10 y/o can ride in front, and a night run to the grocery store was a good place to talk. We didn't discuss much beyond the basics (eg hormonal/emotional) until they were about 11.

post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks Elcie!  It was interesting to hear about the perspective shift you experienced.  That makes so much sense & is very helpful.   :)

post #13 of 19

Hi there, 

 

I am all about being open with children about normal life things from an early age, but I also think each child is different. I have two kids and they are very different, so I am sure that I will choose to discuss things differently with both and at different ages. 

 

We are expecting a third child and my very inquisitive six year old boy asked every question about it. Including, "Ok, so now I want to know how the sperm gets to the egg." I could have made up a silly answer or shrugged it off but...I decided to answer him honestly. He was ready. 

 

"Well son, the man puts his penis into his lady partners vagina and the sperm shoots out of the penis and into the vagina, which is where the egg and sperm meet." 

 

I also read him a children's book about conception, pregnancy and birth, which answered all of his questions. 

 

He was interested and intrigued but also very fine with this information. We told him that it is something we don't talk about with our friends because it is important to let their parents inform them of this information. Our son has respected that, and I trust him to continue to do so. 

 

Two funny things he asked. 

 

"Is it uncomfortable for this to happen?" 

"Well son I don't think that most people mind so much." 

 

"So you have done this three times, right?"

"Yes son, three times. That is it!"

 

Anyway, I think we should all gage this by who our kids are but I think honesty is important. This is human biology!

post #14 of 19

Funny little anecdote...

 

Last year this time we were living in Eastern Africa and we went on an amazing safari in the Serengeti. My three boys were 10, 6, 2. We spotted a couple of lions lying in some tall grass - one male, one female. We watched and after a short while the male got on top of the female, grunted, moved his bum up and down, and roared. This continued about every 10 or 15 minutes and we stayed and watched for probably close to an hour. So, of course I had to explain what was going on - 'mating'. I know ds1 and ds2 knew about sex, but I don't think they fully understood. They knew that sperm came from a penis and met an egg inside the mommy to make a baby, etc. I decided to explain sex biologically and very explicitly. After which, ds1 asked, 'So, did you and Daddy mate to make us?' lol.

 

That led to a very open and frank conversation about human sex and the relationship aspect of it. Why two people choose to have sex, or 'mate' (lol), when, etc. I explained the risks and the consequences. I explained the love. etc. It was really a beautiful moment. 

 

Ever since, the topic has been completely open and free in our house and ds1 has since had sex ed in school and we've have numerous discussions about various things - girlfriends, ejaculation, rape, etc. 

 

Just thought I'd share :)

post #15 of 19

My oldest ds is 12. We have talked about puberty, wearing deodorant, looking for information about sex in appropriate places (like library books) but we haven't talked about the mechanics of sex yet.

 

I did recently get him this from the library:

 

http://www.amazon.com/American-Medical-Association-Guide-Becoming/dp/0787983438/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357885538&sr=8-1&keywords=american+medical+association+boy%27s+guide+to+becoming+a+teen

post #16 of 19

My dd1 wanted to know all about it when she was 4, so dd2 got to learn about it at age 2. Of course I kept it age appropriate, but I really think it was soooooooooooooooo much easier to start the series of conversations then than it would have been to wait. My dd1 is 11 now and doesn't like to talk about any body parts now because "it's embarrassing". She doesn't want to talk about her friend's little 5 yr old sister running around in her underwear because it's "gross". Nevermind that dd1 ran around buck-naked most of her early childhood years.

 

We love the Robie Harris books, "It's Not the Stork", "It's So Amazing", and "It's Perfectly Normal". These books do talk about the emotional aspects of sex/reproduction and also touch on topics like same-sex attraction, miscarriage, and I believe touch slightly on abortion, so you might want to preview if that doesn't line up with your views. I thought they were really well done and definitely great conversation starters and great reference books for our girls to look over on their own. They're very cute, too, with a cartoon bird and bee and cartoon people, too. These books are completely age appropriate (in that order "Stork" is for the youngest and "Normal" is for the pre-teen/young teens). I'd recommend "It's So Amazing" for a 9 yr old.  You can look at it online at google books: http://books.google.com/books?id=Yvspv7qDXsAC&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false . We have it and have had it for several years (maybe since dd1 was 7 and dd2 was 5 or so?). I probably need to get the next book, "It's Perfectly Normal" now for dd1 who is 11. Dd2 who  is 9 is pretty mature so I think it would probably be fine for her, too, but "Amazing" is more for the 9-yr old age group.


Edited by beanma - 1/11/13 at 7:21am
post #17 of 19
post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by tbone_kneegrabber View Post

I like the books
It's not the stork
It's so amazing
And
It's perfectly normal

He might be ready for 'its perfectly normal' I've only thumbed through it at a friend's house because ds is only 5, but it has a lot of information about puberty and feelings and stuff. (Not a totally complete review sorry)

Anyway it might be a good opener if you want to use it to talk about stuff. Our local library has all of them so you might be able to get it at the library.

These books, especially, "It's so Amazing" are GREAT for this age. I leave them lying around, and I love that they start with babies and birth. For us, that is where our discussions of sex begin... With the conception of a baby, pregnancy and birth. Much later, my DS wondered how the baby got in there, LOL. He is nine now.

For us, the best "talk" is a continuous, never-ending dialogue.
post #19 of 19

What grade is he in? Just wondering because I know in 5th at around age 10 our school took us to a Health Center where we learned all about our reproductive organs, periods, etc. So I don't think 9 is too young for the anatomy of it - but obviously every kid is different and you know your son the best. As far as what my mom did - I don't remember when she officially started talking to us about sex, but it was frequent and very up front. Mainly because she got pregnant at 16 and did not want that to happen with us, so she was very open from the start. Which I think is the best way to go.

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