Let's talk about sex - Mothering Forums

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Old 07-07-2004, 04:55 AM - Thread Starter
 
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OK now that the mod's are probably after me, what do you tell your children about body parts, sex, babies, birth? How old are they?

I was really surprised recently when some people I knew said they didn't use the real names of body parts. Called penises, vaginas, vulvas names like lala and ditty. They were just too uncomfortable saying them or having their children repeat them. I was really shocked; I thought that was sort of 1950's but maybe I'm really wrong. So we're very comfortable with body part names, but . . . the sex part is throwing us.

My husband says his entire "sex talk" with his parents consisted of "Keep your tiddly winks to yourself" Knowing my IL’s, he's serious. My mother gave more thorough "sex talks" every 3 or 4 years, but you could tell she was painfully uncomfortable. We always swore we wouldn't have "talks"; sex would be a natural part of conversation, everything would be open and comfortable. We're having a little more problem with the reality than the concept.

I'm really good with the generic "where do babies come from?" My son (3 yo)knows mommy has an egg and daddy has sperm; together they make a baby. It starts out very small and gets bigger. It's in my uterus. It's fed by an umbilical cord and floats in water. Where I have trouble is the actual “daddy puts his penis in mommy’s vagina” part. I’ve said it, but I’m really uncomfortable and I’m afraid I’m going to pass that on. And yes, he asks, I’m not unnecessarily throwing it in there.

Why am I uncomfortable? Well since I am pregnant, I guess it’s not the generic possibility, but obviously explaining how this baby got in my belly. Also this is a loud, exuberant child and I’m picturing him yelling this out while we wait in line somewhere. (We were in a restaurant once. I got up to go to the restroom. He stands up and yells across the room, “Are you going to go pee or go biiiiiig poop?!?!”)

So how do you talk about sex? Do you? How old are your children? Do you just talk about how babies are made or actual intercourse?
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Old 07-07-2004, 06:27 AM
 
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That's not my department, thank dog.
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Old 07-07-2004, 07:01 AM
 
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DD is almost 5. We call it "make love", which includes all acts of "teenager or grownup" touching, kissing for fun. One option for making love is the penis/vagina thing, I try to get across that boy doesn't just put his thingy there but that boy and girl decide to join their parts (girl has a more than paassive role).

So far, dd accepts it all. She's also very fascinated by animals, so she actually finds it cooler that cats do it, and it is a bit easier to discuss, I find. I try to stress the fact that most animals only do this when the girl has ripe eggs, while humans and some other creatures do it more for fun

It's hard to talk about. I find it very hard to bring it all in a neutral, positive way without sounding like the narrator in Caillou.
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Old 07-07-2004, 08:55 AM
 
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We use the proper words for body parts here, no 'sex talk yet'. ds is only 3 but dd is almost 12 and I am planning on talking to her soon.

When I was growing up:
Vagina=monkey
Penis=floppy thing

I vowed NEVER to uses those words again!!
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Old 07-07-2004, 09:19 AM
 
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Originally Posted by skj474
We use the proper words for body parts here, no 'sex talk yet'. ds is only 3 but dd is almost 12 and I am planning on talking to her soon.

When I was growing up:
Vagina=monkey
Penis=floppy thing

I vowed NEVER to uses those words again!!
*LOL!*

My granddam always taught us :
Vagina : little lady
Penis : little man

And you know? She still refuses to believe that at 26 I've had sex .. Yet look at all the great-grandbabies!

As for us .. We tend to call them bits, but that's just what DH and I both call them anyways. Our older ones know the proper terms, but 5y/o DS is just as likely to say "package" as "penis" - he thinks it sounds better *lol*
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Old 07-07-2004, 09:19 AM
 
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So far, DS1 has only asked once, and "mommy and daddy get very close" sufficed. I like the suggestions above about making the female less passive, that's cool.

We use proper body names for the parts. Works great till your oldest is at church day care and shouts out in the lunch room, "You hit my PENIS!" at some poor kid.

A girl at work uses "cookie" for her dd and "monkey" for her ds. I was absolutely flabbergasted when she told me that.....
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:16 AM
 
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proper names at our house. I remember when dd was little and ran around saying "boys have a penis and girls have a vagina" LOLOL. I thought I'd just casually discuss it as it came up and that I'd never need to have the talk, but everything didn't come up casually so it required a talk to get to the penis in the vagina thing. And then there was the talk about same sex relationships.
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:00 PM
 
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I use proper names though my ds refers to his penis at times as his "butt" or his "pee" but I always make sure to say, "Does your penis hurt?" if he happens to be grabbing at it and saying "butt hurt". (I think his foreskin may be starting to become retractable). When we shower together he sometimes squats down and peers up at my parts. I just explain to him that girls, like mommy, have vaginas and boys have penises . . . . that boys and girls have different parts. I also talk about how our vaginas and penises are for us to touch only . . . that they are private. He's only 2.5 y/o but I thought since he was curious I should start letting him know that his penis is for him to touch and no one else . . . . unless he wants them too . . . like mommy or a doctor if he's got a "hurt" there. He doesn't say anything so I figure he's just absorbing it all. He has yet to scream out "VAGINA" or "PENIS" though I am sure the say will come and I'll turn just as red as every mother before me has.
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:09 PM
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I use proper words for the anatomy but I describe sex as a "special hug" that starts a baby.

When they ask for more information I give it to them but when they're little the special hug seems to nourish them.

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Old 07-07-2004, 12:09 PM
 
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In MY house, when my children are young, we do teach them the proper names. When we are talking serious that is. You know, the talks! LOL!! But having a 14 yr old son, and he thinks it's a crime if I say penis... we'll jokingly say weiner, or peenie, and he laughs and gets all embarressed, and I say what?? You die when I say penis!! He's like MOM!!!!!!!!!

I am potty-training 2 yr old right now. I just say "let's wipe your bottom." I have told her the proper names, but with the 14 yr old and all, I just say bottom.
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:16 PM
 
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I heard a lot of hearsay when I was a child and that was really confusing. Bravo, for telling him the truth at a young age.
I wouldn't care about him yelling it out but I would explain to him when he did that sex isn't the kind of thing we talk about with strangers.

There are a lot of really good books out there about sex for younger kids with good pictures. Maybe a trip to the library/book store is in order.

Mom of a 7 yr old, 4 yr old, and 1 yr old. Wow. How did that happen?
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:23 PM
 
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Right now we refer to them as "privates" (dh started that) and they are only for her to touch (or mommy and daddy if she needs help wiping). And please don't yank and pull on your privates in the middle of the living room floor with your legs spread-eagle while we have company.

I hate the word vagina... the sound of it is just not nice. So we'll probably start being more specific... vulva, yoni, penis and butt.

PS- my friend told her 3yo how babies are born and when her baby was kicking really hard in the middle of a chinese restaurant- her dh joked the baby wanted out so her dd yelled "Is the baby going to come out of your VAGINA right now?!"
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:32 PM
 
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My 9 yo understands the basics of pro-creation, but we haven't delved into the explaination of sex as recreation. In fact, my 4 yo asked "how did that baby get in there?" last night (he has been much more curious about this whole pregnancy process than his brother was at the same age) and my 9yo explained the basics of sperm, eggs, and childbirth :LOL He didn't want to say vagina though, he just said "It comes out down there" and I said, "Out of the vagina", and he said "Yeah, there". The 4 yo had lost interest in that question by then and didn't hear half of it.

DS#1 is getting to the age that he can understand the more complicated stuff, but he hasn't expressed an interest.

Mama to three small people; wife to one big person; pet-person to cats and dogs..."Be the change you want to see in the world"-- Gandhi
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:51 PM
 
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We use both proper names and cute names. When we first started talking about body parts, dd would just butcher "vagina", so we started saying "oonie". Now she knows both names, and soon we'll probably get into more detail than just vagina. We've also had the convo about it's perfectly ok to touch your penis or vagina, but that it makes other people uncomfortable, so we only do it in private.

She hasn't had much interest in how babies are concieved yet. She did catch a little bit of one of those shows on Discovery Health about birth, so we talked about how the baby comes out, but she's never asked how it gets in. I guess I should probably bring it up soon, huh?

My mom was in the habit of handing me little pamphlets about sex, mensturation, etc, and telling me to ask her if I had any questions. Nice to avoid the embarrassment factor I guess, but it made it so impersonal. If she didn't want to talk to me about it in the first place, how was I supposed to be comfortable asking her questions?
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Old 07-07-2004, 12:56 PM
 
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My ds1 (3 yo) is fascinated with the body parts that are gender specific. He always states, "He is a boy so he has a penis" or "That person is a girl with a volvo" (:LOL he is working on saying vulva right) He often askes his Grandma's if they have breasts, but has yet to ask about their "volvo" (I am sure that will come, but he does talk to them about his penis a lot which makes my mom incredibly uncomfortable) I haven't been asked about sex yet, but I am sure it will come soon enough. I figure I will just play it by ear, but so far honesty is what he prefers and he will likely grill me until I give him a detailed account of things and then ask about it loud and often in very public places full of people who are uncomfortable discussing such things :LOL


 

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Old 07-07-2004, 01:03 PM
 
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I used to nanny for a family in which the mama was a nurse-midwife. Her boys were very clear on where babies come from etc. One day, I made a remark to the older one, something like "Remember when your baby brother was still in your mama's belly....etc." He put his little hands on his hips (3yrs old at the time), sighed in an exasperated way and said "He wasn't in her belly, she didn't eat him...he was in her uterus!".

::::: Married for ten years to my good man :. Mama to my sweet and funny boy and my lovely little girl

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Old 07-07-2004, 01:04 PM
 
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I haven't talked about sex at all with my kids. All they know is kissing or hugging. Saviel knows the word sex from other kids but he thinks it means kissing. I don't know when I breach that subject. I taught DD the word vagina for her private parts. she calls it a gine gine cause hey she's not quite three but we taught them the proper names for parts.
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Old 07-07-2004, 01:35 PM
 
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Proper names in my household.

DD (4 yo) is starting to touch herself a lot. I nicely ask her if she needs to use the washroom. If she says no, I tell her that touching her vagina is private and that she should do it only when she is alone. I've also talked to her a lot about the concept that she is the only one who should touch her vagina unless she asks me to help her wipe or if she has a rash and needs help putting on ointment. One day I was putting lotion on her legs while she was standing and I accidently touched her vagina. She said "Mommy you touched my vagina. Please don't do that." I apologized and thanked her sincerely for letting me know I had done that.

On a super funny note, we seem to always have someone pregnant and/or nursing around us, so she asks a lot of questions. I've explained to her about the baby growing in the uterus and that when it's ready to come out the momma pushes the baby through the birth canal and out of the vagina.

One day on the bus early in the morning on the way to work, dd says "Momma, when I'm a woman I'm gonna have a baby inside my ooteris and then when its big I'm gonna PUSH REAL HARD and then the baby's goona come out of my vagina and then its gonna nurse milk from my breasts."

Everyone on that very quiet bus got a little sex ed to start the day with. :
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Old 07-07-2004, 02:07 PM
 
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I refuse to use silly names or act like genitals are something to be ashamed of (not talked of). So we use proper names. Sid is 2 1/2 and understands that boys have a penis and girls have a vagina.
The other day he said "Baby sister will have a vagina! No penis, just a BOTTOM." Which made me giggle because we'd only talked about it once. That child misses nothing.
Anyway, I'll be keeping this up. When he has questions, I'll answer. Always. I think that should be open enough that I won't have to create a false atmosphere of sitting down and having "the talk". But time will tell.


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Old 07-07-2004, 02:09 PM
 
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We use cutsie names in public and for off the wall comments. "my twigger itches"or "my wiggle diggle hurts". We use technical names when bathing. "please take the washcloth and wash your vagina". When in public and the need is urgent to discuss our parts we say "privates". The names just sort of morphed. It's not a strict rule or anything. When asked "how does the baby get in there" I said "sex" or "God put the baby there". When asked about the actual mechanics of sex I said "what exactly do you want to know" .

My son is eleven and he doesn't know about sperm and eggs or ejaculation and ovulation. He knows what goes where during sex. And that it's lots of moving around. More specifically and quite frankly I think it's something that should be stressed is "mommy LETS daddy put his ....." .

It's very difficult for us to have a balance of openness about sex/life cycle and still stress that in public it's improper to discuss it.
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Old 07-07-2004, 11:43 PM
 
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my wake up call came today when i used the term vagina and dd had to ask what that was..... oooookay time to review! never did find that darn illustration for her LOLLL
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Old 07-08-2004, 12:22 AM
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Dd, age 3, is presently fascinated by anatomy and physiology. Several weeks ago, while on the potty, she treated her teachers at the Montessori to a description of how poop is made ("...and the poop goes from the large intestine to the rectum and then comes out your anus into the potty, and you wash it into the toilet and flush it all away! Bye bye, poop!"). She knows mommy and daddy animals and people make babies, and that female mammals lactate after they have babies, but, as far as I know, doesn't yet have the foggiest notion of actual sexual mechanics (and hasn't asked).
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Old 07-08-2004, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
 
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doesn't yet have the foggiest notion of actual sexual mechanics (and hasn't asked).
That's the problem (if that' the right word) mine does! Ask, that is. About everything. Wanting details. This is how we got into explaining evolution to a 3 yo who wanted to know why there were people at the same time as dinosuars. This kid never lets you off with an easy answer. But it's pretty cool hearing him talk about techtonic plates!
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Old 07-08-2004, 01:30 AM
 
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we use proper names here. ds learned a lot about how babies are made when i was pregnant with dd - and he can tell you a great deal. i don't think he ever asked about how the sperm gets to the egg though - i figure that when he asks, i'll just tell him. its not something i'm terribly uptight about.
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Old 07-08-2004, 02:16 AM
 
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my daughter (3) says "mommy and lala (how she calls herself) have a vagina, and daddy and baby brother have a penis"

pure and simple... there's nothing to be ashamed of IMO and I don't want my dd to be embarrased of her body, so we treat sexual organs just like other organs/body parts.
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Old 07-08-2004, 02:26 AM
 
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We say yoni and lingham in my house instead of vagina and penis.

Since I am pregnant, my dd has asked a lot of questions about the baby in my uterus....specifically, how it is going to come out. I told her about it in detail, and we watched a few birth videos. We plan to have her at the birth, so we want her to be prepared. She tells everyone "Mommy has a baby in her belly, and she is going to push it out of a hole in her yoni."

She hasn't asked about sex, of course...she is 2. But if she wants to know how that baby got in there, I will completely and honestly answer all questions.

My mom did the same for us. She taught us all about sex when we were around 5 or 6, and began asking questions. She was never squeamish about it. As a result, we could always talk to her about sexual issues. We always felt comfortable asking questions. When I needed birth control as a teen, I felt comfortable asking her to help me get it. We still talk about sex as adults, as it is a part of life. Some people think it is so weird how my mom and I can talk about our sex lives. But it has always been a natural thing, and never some weird taboo topic. I think it's the one thing my mom handled VERY well. I hope to be as honest and open about it with my kids.
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Old 07-08-2004, 02:40 AM
 
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OK now that the mod's are probably after me, what do you tell your children about body parts, sex, babies, birth?

~ body parts are all named what they really are called: penises = penises, vulvas are vulvas, and i just introduced the idea of a vagina, which he didn't really understand (i was trying to explain how the baby comes out during birth).

he's seen photos of women giving birth, and my SO and myself are always walking around naked so nudity isn't really an issue ~ all the parts are just there to see, nothing taboo.

we've talked about how babies are made, but not the actual intercourse aspect, since he hasn't seemed too concerned about it yet ~ but he knows that a sperm from a man and an egg from a woman combine and grow into a baby. i have this book called Beginning Life that goes through an entire pregnancy from conception to just past birth ~ it's awesome. i love it to pieces and michael adores seeing all the baby-in-womb pictures.

we haven't really discussed sex yet. when he was about 2, he walked in on his daddy and me while we were having "special mommy-daddy-time." we were mostly covered up by the blankets but had to explain why we reacted so strongly when he walked in, and that sometimes grownups have special time together... he seemed to accept the explanation and went back to bed. if it happened now i know i'd probably have to be more specific... so we've been much more careful. :LOL

as for poopies and pee-pees ~ there are our terms. i tried adopting "grunts" and "making water" but for some reason he just preferred poopies and pee-pees. we're now working on the concept of what's private and what's ok to talk about with others...
* it's ok to tell us you have to go potty
* it's NOT ok to ask people how big their poopies are.

* it's ok to play with your penis ~ in private, in the bath, or in your room
* it's NOT ok to play with your penis around other people, or try to play with other people's penises, or to ask people about their penises, or talk to people about their penises.

* it's ok to observe / admire / play with your OWN nipples, in private...
* it's NOT ok to follow mommy around and try to pinch her nipples.

* it's ok to talk about mommy's breastpump and mama cloth at home, with mommy and daddy ~
* it's NOT ok to pull strangers aside at the store and tell them about mommy's breastpump and mama cloth!

and so on. it seems like there's always a new boundary to define.

How old are they?

he'll be 4 in a month.
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Old 07-08-2004, 03:11 AM
 
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Originally Posted by BoobyJuice
I was really surprised recently when some people I knew said they didn't use the real names of body parts.
I think that is a very important part of body awarness & acceptance. We don't have pretend names for other parts of our bodies, why these parts?
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Old 07-08-2004, 04:31 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Diaper_Addict_Jen
I think that is a very important part of body awarness & acceptance. We don't have pretend names for other parts of our bodies, why these parts?
We do. Don't you ever call a head a "noggin" or your stomach or torso a "tummy"? Legs are "pins" and or even just your buttocks a "butt" or "bottom"? Maybe it is cultural but we use those kind of words alot, and it's not just for cute baby speak.

I don't want genitals to be these serious body parts we can't have fun about. I try and use a variety of words that reflect the way we usually speak. I like affectionate names, I think a proud, happy, friendly name for a pretty special part of the body is appropriate.

And I don't agree that the anatomical names are their REAL names. Is a rose's real name it's botancial name? Ok, unlike botanical names, which I have little use for, anatomical names are useful. But a name "works" when it communicates whate the speaker wants - which I imagine means people understand it and it is used appropriately. I think using terms like "peepee", "privates" and "penis" fit the bill at different times and places, and kids are pretty tuned into the nuances of a rich language and will quickly learn all of them. We expect them to learn various levels of privacy about their gentials, surely they can understand about the words?

Maybe the backlash has been that there has been shame about these issues in the past? I think you can use non-anatomical names without there being shame involved.
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Old 07-08-2004, 11:50 AM
 
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I still have to laugh at the OP: "keep your tiddly winks to yourself" :
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