Aaaaand…The Sex Talk.
Before I get into the nitty-gritty, I’m gonna make a little PSA. I wrote a book (that twice came astonishingly close getting published) where pedophilia is a key theme. I did a shitload of research about it, and here is a proven fact:
The more you talk about sex with your kids, the less likely they are to be the victims of a sexual predator.
Pedophiles play on shame and secrets. When you avoid talking about sex with your kids, you make it a dark, shameful, secret topic. And that’s part of what pedophiles use to groom, lure, and hide their actions.
Now…this isn’t a proven fact, but I think it’s also safe to say that having the Sex Talk is always awkward. There is not a natural time to comfortably slide right into the topic. You have to just go for it. That has been my experience.
The Sex Talk with Jack
The trigger? The NFL.
Every damn commercial break has a spot for Viagra, Cialis, or both. We would sit through 30 seconds of semi-awkward and pregnant silence every time we watched football. Finally, he asked…
“Dad? What is erectile dysfunction anyways?”
I gave him the obvious response:
“Erectile dysfunction is something your father HAS NEVER EVER EXPERIENCED!”
But that night we were both reading in my bed and I went for it.
“OK, remember when you asked about erectile dysfunction?”
“OK, here’s the deal…”
I gave him the whole story. I said penis. I said vagina. I said a whole lot of words like that. I plowed through the whole damn thing.
Here are some points that stand out:
- I was talking theoretical. “A man and a woman...” But Jack was going to the personal and individual. His questions weren’t about “a man and a woman”, his questions were about me and Shani. It added an extra layer of awkward to the conversation.
- About halfway through the conversation, he interrupted me to say…“So you’ve done this twice.” And I had to back up and explain it in a different way.
- Jack then interrupted me again to say: “Wait a minute. So you do this, regularly?” The idea disturbed him deeply.
His concluding thought…
The Sex Talk with Alex
I did it last summer (Alex was 10). We went on an overnight backpacking trip, and on the drive to the trailhead I went for it.
“So we’re gonna have a talk about something, and it might be weird, but we’re still gonna do it even if it is weird and let’s do it. Right? That make sense? Let’s do this.”
“OK,” he said, not really knowing what the hell I was talking about.
Alex didn’t ask any questions, so I kept rambling on and on in a nervous babble stream. I explain sex. Pedophiles. Gay and straight. I must have gone for 25 minutes. Finally I stopped and let the silence set in.
“Well,” he said. “That was awkward.”
“How much of that did you already know?”
“Most of it.”
“Did Jack tell you?”
“I have my sources.”
And that was pretty much that.
Since then we’ve had more talks. All of them brought up by me. All of them awkward and forced.
“So…you’re going to be in the locker room with older boys. You know that…”
“I know, I know!”
“Not that you’re sexually active yet, but you know that when a girl says no…”
“Stop it! God!”
Actually, it’s gotten to the point, where this is the reaction I get whenever I bring up the subject. Which I see as a very good sign.