“Birds And Bees” Is Not About FuckingApril 13, 2011 No Comments
Dear Madame X,
My wife thinks that it is time to explain the birds and bees to our twelve year old daughter. I think it is a little bit early for her to learn about sex but not in a damaging way, and my wife is adamant. My biggest worry is that she’ll tell her younger sister about these things. I don’t want my nine year old girl running around with sexual thoughts in her head, I want her to enjoy her innocence. We could tell my older daughter not to say anything but those girls are close and share everything, besides when we told her about Santa and asked her not to tell her sister, she was in tears within an hour. So how does one impart an education about these things to one child without infecting the minds of the younger kids? This must be something that a lot of parents deal with.
Father Knows Best?
Dear Father Knows Best,
I’m sorry to break it to you but your wife is the one who’s right about this subject. As much as you want to think of your girls as precious innocent children, you need to realize that considering their age and biology (i.e. if the older one doesn’t have her period already she will soon) and the culture they live in, you talking to them about this is the best thing you can do to help guide them on their way through life.
First of all, “birds and bees” does not mean a lesson in fucking. It means teaching them how their bodies work, how to discuss boundaries, and how to navigate relationships. At the age of nine girls should be learning about periods and what menstruation means about the ability to make babies. And at twelve they most definitely should know because that’s the average age girls start their periods. Don’t you want them to know what’s going on and be prepared rather than freaking out that they are bleeding to death?
Second, kids know far more than we give them credit for. At the age of twelve kids have crushes and friendships with people they might be attracted to. Yes, it’s more innocent, and they probably won’t think of fucking, but kids sometimes start kissing at this age. They need to know how to negotiate boundaries and that nobody can force them to do anything they don’t want to.
Third, sex education should not be having “The TALK” with your kids, but rather an ongoing discussion through their lives as the occasion calls for it. Right now puberty is the main thing to talk about. You can mention what sex is on a biological level (i.e. penis in vagina to make babies). You can mention that teenagers start think about these kinds of things. But there’s no need to go into contraception and STIs just yet. Mention them in passing, sure, but chances are your girls won’t be interested.
The point here is that you will have opened the discussion and your girls will know that you are there for them and you are available. Hopefully this means that they will be comfortable talking to you when they need more information or get involved with boyfriends/girlfriends. You can also have books around the house for them to look at when they want without pressure. And remember to ask them about things you see on TV or stories you hear about your friends’ children — it’s good to engage them in discussion and respect their opinions.
It might be uncomfortable, but the sooner you open the discussion the better chance you have of being seen as a source of information in your daughters’ lives, and that’s something I’m sure you would be happy to do.
Madame X is a master of sex. She is adamantly pro-sex which she translates to pro-fun and pro-safety. An avid practitioner of the activity, she has also been trained in the technical dos and don’ts. No mere agony aunt, she knows of what she speaks. Send her your questions, comments, and concerns about sex and relationships here.