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17 March 2010

Let’s talk about sex baby [More:]Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about…
Ummm, on second thought, let’s not.

Have you ever had it? You know, “the talk” with your parents. You know—“the talk”—you wish you never had. Was it as traumatic for you as it was for me? Hearing your Father use words you thought you never would. And don’t forget about Mom because she used them too. Anyway, I just wanted to pop my head back in here and say hi. :)
I was raised on a dairy farm with goats, chickens, dogs and cats. We rural kids knew more about sex by kindergarten than high schools teach in sex ed.
posted by Ardiril 17 March | 09:15
My mom gave me a book and said "if you have any questions, I'll be watching TV."
posted by desjardins 17 March | 09:30
Hells no! There is no talk of human biology, feelings, love, sadness or anything vaguely... messy in my family. Eeesh.

I have had to work very very hard to overcome my upbringing
posted by gaspode 17 March | 09:42
I was probably 13 when my dad got around to it. By that time, I'd already been scared shitless at school several times, preached to the brink of self-hatred at church, and mastered the art of stealing Penthouses from the Waldenboks at the mall, so there really wasn't much for him to say. I think that's exactly how he had planned it.
posted by ufez 17 March | 09:48
What 'pode said. And desjardins. When I had my first period my mum shoved a booklet at me that was issued by Dr Whites (the company which made sanitary towels back in the 60s). It didn't make sense to me at the age of 9 (I was a very early starter).
posted by essexjan 17 March | 09:49
Nope. . .all done by peers, popular music and looking at Playboys in the drugstore. . .
posted by danf 17 March | 09:50
My mother's complete instruction was 'sex is bad'. And that was it. I also wasn't allowed to attend any of those health education classes until 10th grade in high school, so I was pretty much completely clueless.

Luckily, I had very kind friends (one of which had a mother that was the high school librarian) and spent a lot of time pouring over various books to try and catch up on all sorts of illicit knowledge that I didn't get when I was wee.

I second gaspode in that my family really doesn't go in for the talking to one another about anything potentially upsetting. Pops has never mentioned it, which is fine for the both of us.
posted by sperose 17 March | 09:57
I told my mom where babies came from when I was 4, thanks to my Charlie Brown 'Cyclopedia. Then she left Where Did I Come From? in a place she knew I would snoop, and she never had to do anything again.

Of course, when I got around to actually having sex, I was kind of surprised that he didn't just stick it in and stay there, completely still, until something magical happened.

Could be worse.
posted by Madamina 17 March | 10:05
Well, from a very young age, whenever anyone on TV or movies was getting intimate, my mother would turn to me and say "Sex causes pregnancy. Don't have sex if you don't want to get pregnant." So I knew where babies came from, even though I didn't quite understand what constituted "sex" until I start reading the Clan of the Cave Bear series and my mom's romance novels around age 11.

I guess boys don't get The Other Talk, but for me it was sort of awkward because my period had started several months before, and I knew what to do thanks to 6th grade health class, so I never told my mother about it. I was an intensely private kid, for some reason.
posted by muddgirl 17 March | 10:10
I knew the workings by the time I was 5. I was able to talk to my Mum about any of this stuff at any time without embarrassment or judgment.

There was no mystery about any of it. Sounded pretty messy though so I didn't bother with the whole business for quite some time.
posted by gomichild 17 March | 10:10
Madamina, I had the same experience with "Where Did I Come From"! I didn't understand why moving it up and down was better...wasn't that more work?

When I got my first period, I was babysitting next door, so I called mom to ask her to bring me some pads. Was hoping for some praise or a bonding moment or something; she sent my sister over.
posted by Melismata 17 March | 10:23
i was 18 and been having sex for years, when i tried to get dad to have 'the sex talk' with me . after a few minutes of watching his face get red and squirm in his chair trying to think of something to say, i let him off the hook and told him i was only joking .
posted by rollick 17 March | 10:24
OH THANK GOD. It was so weird to feel so well-informed yet completely clueless. (Though, really, you could say the same for most of my life at that point!)
posted by Madamina 17 March | 10:31
I was like 16 or 17, long after I'd learned the mechanics from varied sources, and in the car with my Dad on the way home from Radio Shack. We had gone shopping for some sort of stereo adapter and had had a conversation with the sales guy about whether we needed a male or female adapter. After driving together silently for a few minutes, my dad asked "So you know what the sales guy meant by, uh, male and female, right?"

"Uh, yeah" I replied.

"Ok then." And the silence returned for the rest of ride home.
posted by danostuporstar 17 March | 11:11
I was told by a friend in first grade and adamantly denied it, saying that if that was true, my parents would have said something. So when I got home that day, I told my mom, and the next day there was a library book waiting on my bed.

It was gross and uncomfortable and I was mad that I was wrong and that someone else knew before me.
posted by rmless2 17 March | 11:14
This reminds me of a "good, bad, ugly" scenario I once read.

Good: You're going to talk to your eleven-year-old about sex.

Bad: She/he keeps interrupting you.

Ugly: With corrections.
posted by Orange Swan 17 March | 11:45
My Mom gave me this booklet from Kotex, which I wish I still had.

At a fairly early age, my son asked about sex, and I told him, and talked to him about sex again as he got older, to his utter embarrassment, but he does talk to me about sex, birth control and other personal stuff. I gave him books, too. Plus, kids these days have the internet, and there's real educational information out there, not just pron.
posted by theora55 17 March | 11:46
My mom figured if I was old enough to ask, I was old enough to know. I must have been pretty young when I asked, because I don't remember the conversation. And I think this is a good way to do it.

I wish, though, that we had talked about the emotional ramification of sexual activity when I was older. I could have used a talk about how you'd be ideally feeling heading into your budding sex life.
posted by Specklet 17 March | 11:52
hadjiboy, like you, I'm from an Indian muslim family. Like you, when my mom even mentioned dating (nevermind sex), I was like WTF internally. Yo let me handle that you don't worry about it, damn, mom! lol.
posted by Firas 17 March | 11:57
I was decanted.
posted by Lipstick Thespian 17 March | 11:58
theora55, that whole Kotex site is Metafilter FPP worthy! Great stuff, thanks!
posted by Melismata 17 March | 12:05
I'm from a Pakistani Muslim family. We never discussed such things. I learned from Playboy, Penthouse, and the Internet.

It was a bit embarassing when my mom found my Playboys last year (I'm a subscriber). I tried to explain that I really was saving them for the articles.
posted by reenum 17 March | 12:14
Oh yeah, when it comes to that other thing, I didn't have any idea whatsoever, got mine at a volleyball tournament, and thought I was dying. Yeah, that was ass.
posted by sperose 17 March | 12:31
I don't remember the first time I heard about sex. Mum had talked to all of us here and there, but she wanted to make sure we knew all the ins'n'outs (pun intended) about sex, periods, etc. So when I was eight she rounded up all five of us (the oldest was 17) to make sure everything was crystal clear. She also told us that she'd supply us with condoms as needed.

The mister wasn't ever told anything about sex by his parents plus there wasn't any sex education when/where he went to school (BFE, Ontario, Canada). Up until his father died the mister would joke with his father about "having the talk".
posted by deborah 17 March | 15:17
dang how does the uninitiated girl deal with periods? dang! don't you need to get your hands on some resources like?
posted by Firas 17 March | 17:14
My parents pretty much let the junior highschool health teachers deal with teaching me. Of course, I was such a skinny geek that I didn't really need the info until I was well into college.
posted by octothorpe 17 March | 17:29
@Firas: Ever read Carrie?

I learned about the process when I was in the sixth grade, maybe slightly before that when I filched my older sister's sixth grade health booklet from her bedside table. However, neither my mom nor my dad actually talked to me about sex and why one should or shouldn't be having it until one was emotionally ready.

I think this explains a lot about my sex life.
posted by TrishaLynn 17 March | 18:11
Oh man! I got some sort of sex talk in third grade when a girl at school taunted me for not knowing what a period was ("It ends a sentence!!" I retorted, but clearly I was missing something). She had a book all ready for such an occasion w/ child-appropriate language, but I didn't get it AT ALL and when she was done and asked "so do you understand what a period is?" I knowingly replied, "yes, it's when a sperm fertilizes an egg." *facepalm*

Many years later my brother made some comment insinuating I was sleeping w/ my boyfriend (which I was). My mom, shocked, turned to me and said, "Alicia, you don't do things like that, do you?"

Me, all innocently: Of course not, mom! What kind of girl do you think I am???

That was my only sex talk.
posted by leesh 17 March | 18:44
I had the talk. It was mostly about contraception, but my dad also advised that, "If you never have sex, you won't know what you're missing. If you have it, it can be pretty addictive." He was right; luckily I got addicted to Mrs. Doohickie. ;)
posted by Doohickie 17 March | 21:50
My mom's a nurse, I got medical diagrams and textbook charts.
However, she's also a Catholic, so it was capped off with "And if I find out you're having sex I'm shaving your head in your sleep and sending you to the all-girls's school."
posted by kellydamnit 17 March | 22:41
In grade five I did a project about how babies happen from ejaculation to delivery. I drew many stages of developing fetuses with my Borealis pencil crayons. I got an A+.

I spent way to much time reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.
posted by arse_hat 17 March | 23:05
I had a gradual introduction. Early on I was allowed to look at Playboy and such, my parents had The Joy of Sex and even Xaviera Hollander in a cabinet that wasn't much of a match for my IQ. This is in addition to the nude sculpture my mom made in college and lots of museum experiences.

I don't know why I ended up so damned repressed. Some sort of Woody Allen overcompensation ....
posted by dhartung 18 March | 00:06
My sister was eleven when she received "What's Happening to My Body", and so I was six when I first began sneaking it out of her room to read under my parent's bed. The next year, on a drive up to Chicago, I ran out of things to read and filched my mother's Bertrice Small historical romance novel, and swore up and down that I hadn't gotten very far into it when she caught me and took it away. Oh, was that ever a lie. A lifelong love of historical fiction and other things was born, and proved impossible to kill. It really was one of the few things for which I deliberately defied my parents. And now that I'm writing those sorts of books, they're very supportive.

My sister and I were both always so much more embarrassed about Talks of this sort than my ever mother was, so we had very few of them. I'm not really sure why this is the case, as no one in my immediate family is remotely prudish (the party line has basically been "Sex is a wonderful thing to share with someone you're hopefully married to, and also it's cool if you're gay"-- we were ridiculously lucky in that regard). And that persists somewhat to this day; I've never had a conversation with my sister about sex, and it's not something we tend to discuss except in general and impersonal terms with anyone other than whomever we're involved with. For me, this extends to online discussions the vast majority of the time.

On preview, king of like you, dhartung-- only I'm not sure I'd call myself repressed, just very, very reticent. Except in writing fiction.

And oh god, ufez, I did that too. Not stealing them out of the store, but sneaking them into a corner in the store to study quietly. Years later, it occurred to me that the poor staff there probably thought that all the Playgirls tucked behind the books in the children's section were the work of some pathetic pedophile. It still makes me cringe to think about it.
posted by notquitemaryann 18 March | 01:05
Heh, that's pretty funny, nqma. It was more convenient for us to just nick them so they could, uh, be put to use at home. Remember those Mexican-style potato sackish parkas that were all the rage in like 92-93? Those were perfect shoplifting cloaks.
posted by ufez 18 March | 13:47
Ms. had it as one of their "Stories for Free Children" during their first year. I don't ever remember getting "the talk"....but I wasn't quite three when my brother was born; I might have had it sometime around then. Periods? I think Judy Blume and the 6th grade presentation covered it...although we didn't see the Disney cartoon which originally accompanied the handout.
posted by brujita 19 March | 02:34
Heh, my mother sat down next to me when I was twelve and said. "It's only natural." And I said, "What is?" and she said, "Sex. That's what boys are going to tell you."

I rolled my eyes, got up, and walked away.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi 19 March | 11:59
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