Sex Ed for Parents?

As a single parent I have enjoyed a lot of freedom in talking to my sons about sex. There was not a huge decision made on my part to be as real with them about sex as I would anything else that was so important, it came naturally. I knew I was going about it differently than most people when, once, while in the car with my mother, my then 4 year old told his then 5 year old brother that when they watched the movie with Jessica Rabbit, his penis lifted up and was wondering if his brother’s did the same. My first thought was how a lot of guys I knew had huge crushes on Mrs. Roger Rabbit. But when I looked over at my mom her eyes were bugging out of her head waiting for me to change the subject for them. I whispered to her to not say a thing and let them be.

They are now 9 and 10 years old and know all of the mechanical aspects of sex and reproduction, they know about condoms and transmittable diseases, they know about heterosexuality and homosexuality. We are now working on the finer nuances of sex and love, sex and consumerism, sex and self-respect. So when a flier came home from school a few weeks ago, my 10 year old was totally confused.

“Uh, Mom, do you need to go to this? and he handed me a flier that in boldest largest type reads “Sex Ed for Parents I was so proud! “Good for them, I said. “This is great, really! The school had partnered with a local non-profit to do a few weeknight workshops to provide parents with strategies to talk with their kids about sex.

But my son was confused. “Are you going to go? I told him I didn’t think I needed to, since we have been talking about sex and will continue to talk about it.

“Why? I asked, “What’s wrong?

“Well, shouldn’t parents already know about sex, I mean, that’s how they became parents right? Does the school think they’re dumb? He had misunderstood the flier.  He had not read the smaller print.

“Yes, but this is to help them talk to their kids about sex.

“Why?

“Because not everyone is as comfortable talking about sex with their children as I am.

“Oh. Why not?

“Um, well, some people think that if you talk to your kids about sex, they are more likely to do it.

“Gross.

“Or that kids are supposed to not want to know about sex and parents feel like it’s their job to protect them from it for as long as they can.

“Gross¦ But, Mom, you can totally tell who those kids are ˜cause all they talk about is humping this and getting nasty with that. They’re kinda like always talking about it.

And ten years of being open and honest about sex was immediately validated!

I decided to throw in another bit of the sex negative rationale. “And also, there are some religions that tell people that sex is bad, that sex comes from the Devil.

His eyebrows shot up his forehead, “What?

“Yep, they believe that sex is something that maybe a bad spirit or demon can make people do.

“You are joking,

“Nope, totally true.

He was in total disbelief, “It’s nature! It’s how we make more of us, it’s ¦it’s¦how everything makes more of themselves! It’s how grown-ups, you know, like-like each other!

“I know.

“What do they think when they see a dog with another dog? ˜Oh! There’s a demon in that dog?’ he gestured wildly and threw his arms in the air. “That is crazy, I just don’t believe it. Mom. The Devil? No.

And that is when I cracked up.

Airial Clark

As of May 2012, I will have completed my Master’s Degree in Human Sexuality Studies at San Francisco State University. Prior to attending graduate school, I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2007 with a double major BA in English Literature and Anthropology while raising two young sons as a single parent. At Cal, I was President of the Student Parent Association. I am a regular contributor to the Sex Positive Photo Project of the SF Bay Area and Shades Magazine. I have presented my original research at multiple academic conferences and symposiums. I will be presenting my Master’s Thesis Study at the OpenSF Conference this June. I have trained with Community at Work to be a group facilitator and am fully committed to the participatory process of decision making.

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