Sunday, January 9, 2011

Talking About Sex

During the course of my life I’ve faced many scary situations (car accidents, climbing mishaps, diaper changes, etc.) none were as terrifying as “the sex talk.” You see, a couple of years ago my wife decided that it was time for my son to learn about the birds and the bees. Bravely, she delegated this task to me. I tried to handle it like my own father and leave the state on a “business trip.” My boss didn’t think the reason “afraid to talk to my own son about sex” added much value to the company.

I looked back on my own experience and grew even more anxious. I seem to remember Dad was hiding out at one of his desert mining claims and so Mom took on the chore. I was invited into a room where we were alone. Mom had purchased a series of books from Time-Life that explained about the birds and bees. Mom and I went over the books together. Looking back, all I remember about the talk was Mom pointing to my privates every time they were mentioned in the book. I already knew where my privates were and the pointing was pretty humiliating. I can’t imagine Mom was having much fun at the time either (I do give her an “A” for effort). One thing I knew was that during the talk with my son there would not be any pointing.

My wife’s own experience was even worse than mine. One day a free sample of a feminine hygiene product came in the mail. Her mother tossed it to her and said; “Here, you’re going to need this.” End of talk. Brief and to the point, I liked the idea.

I decided an approach somewhere in the middle of the two experiences would be best. I settled on procrastination. A man-to-man talk after he had a few kids of his own would be a good time. Sadly, my wife didn’t think this was a good plan.

I resorted to Plan B, more procrastination. He could learn from Bob in his geography class. Again, this plan didn’t go over very well with the responsible parent. I was getting desperate. To prod me along my wife suggested buying a book. Good plan I thought, my son loves to read, I’ll get him a book. Happily the local bookstore offered just such a book, one practically guaranteeing to “help open doors of communication between parents and children, facilitating their discussion of love, marriage and sex.”

In order to ease the gentle prodding from my wife, I raced down to the local bookstore and purchased a copy of the sex talk book. Luckily I wasn’t stopped for speeding. No police officer would believe the “I’m in a hurry to get to the book store to buy a book about physical growth and maturation so that I can have the sex talk with my son” excuse.

Once the book was purchased the rest of the talk was easy. I lovingly sat my son down on the couch and told him to stay there until he finished reading it. Since the book claims it will “facilitate the open discussion of maturation, love, marriage and sex.” I decided to let the book work it’s magic. I occasionally checked on his progress. Pages were turning and eyes were moving across the page. The “talk” was definitely working. When he finished reading the book, his mother and I asked him if he had any questions for us. He turned bright red and said “no.”

We made him promise that if he had any future questions to come to us and ask. He turned even redder. The book worked. All of his questions had been answered and the doors of communication had been pried open.

Based on my wildly successful parenting in a difficult and embarrassing area I nominated myself for father-of-the-year. Sadly, my wife didn’t second the nomination; she still believes there should have been more father-son talking. Maybe I’ll tell him to read the book again. Of course, I’m still waiting for questions from our son. I have a feeling it will be a while; after all, my Mom is still waiting for my follow-up questions.