Moms in Babeland

“Did You and Daddy Ever Do Sex?”

Submitted by a guest reader:

“Did you and Daddy ever do sex?” That was the question my daughter asked as she got out of the shower one day. She was about seven and a half, but I wasn’t really surprised, because of my two children, she’s the one who asks the tough questions. I asked her what she knew about the word sex. She explained that someone had told her about it in first grade, and that it had to do with being naked with another person and rubbing your private parts together.

We’d talked previously about needing sperm from a man and egg from a woman in order to make a baby. I asked her if she remembered that talk, and when she said yes, I explained that sex was how the egg and the sperm got together. I told her yes, Daddy and I have had sex. She didn’t bat an eye, and I felt good about answering her question truthfully. She didn’t ask how the sperm and egg got together, so I didn’t explain the mechanics. I’m pretty certain she’ll ask about that sometime soon. We didn’t talk about sex for pleasure either; that will happen when she’s older.

We’ve talked about homosexuality in terms of men falling in love with other men, and women falling in love with other women. So I wasn’t surprised when she asked, “But what about girls who love girls? Can they have babies?” I explained that they could and did have babies (recommend What’s the Big Secret), but that they needed to get sperm either from a friend or from a sperm bank. And that men who love men could also have babies, but that they needed an egg, as well as a woman who would carry the baby in her uterus. I mentioned adoption as another way that people add to or create their families.

She’s now eight and a half and the discussion hasn’t stopped. Since then we’ve talked about circumcision and foreskin, ovaries and fallopian tubes, whether or not Daddy ever sees my breasts, and the choices available to women for catching the blood from their menstrual cycle.  I’ve told many parents about these conversations, and I’ve been surprised by how many have responded with some variation of “Oh my gosh what did you say when she asked that?” followed shortly thereafter by “I’m dreading that conversation with my child.” I haven’t thought of my answers in advance. I take the questions as they come, answer truthfully, and only share as much information as she’s asking for.

My children are different in nearly every way; it’s no surprise to me that they are different in how they want to learn this sort of information. My son is eleven and could not have a more pained expression on his face when I try to talk about the facts of life with him. I think he’d rather swim with sharks than talk about sex, so I give him books. When he was younger I read them to him; now I share other age-appropriate materials (like What’s Happening to Me) and he reads them himself. Making sure he knows that he can ask us any question he may have is an ongoing project. While I don’t want to insist that he have a conversation with his dad or me about something he’s so uncomfortable with, I’m concerned because he’s entering middle school in the fall. I feel it is important for us to make sure he has accurate information before getting exposed to the things that other children may share.

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Related posts:

  1. Mom Taught Me Where Babies Come From
  2. Dad’s Advice to His Son: Puberty
  3. Q: What should I do when my 12-year-old asks me invasive questions about my sex life?
  4. You Say Virginia, I Say Vagina
  5. Dad’s Advice to Son: Deciding When You’re Ready for Sex

topics: Parenting

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