Birds are doing it, bees are doing it, critters in the pond and in the trees are doing it. Without it we would all perish. Why is it so difficult for us to talk about sex?
Well. Part of the answer is that is isn't so difficult for a lot of people, but I come from a generation and an upbringing where it was still a very private affair.
Some time while all of my kids were around last month, an issue of "Cosmopolitan" showed up on our kitchen table. Compared to what I find in there now, the 1970's versions of Cosmo could have been written by Miss Manners. Whew!
So this is the kind of thing high school girls (probably middle school too) giggle over during a sleepover. Stuff that was only in the hardest porn rags in my day, stuff I didn't even know existed until I was much older. You can find a copy and see for yourself - don't expect any details from me.
Don't get me wrong - I fully appreciate sex, and I believe it is important to have conversations about it with one's children. But there's no way I can compete with Cosmo, so I have to take my own, subtler approach.
The earliest discussions of sex came naturally into our household during my last pregnancy, as I recall. It involved very direct anatomic vocabulary, and we tried to keep it simple. Man puts his penis into woman's vagina. That makes a baby.
You may think that you have done your job after one conversation, but misunderstandings abound. One of my little daughters quietly told me once that she thought she heard her Dad and me...having sex.
"Oh, really, Honey?" I asked gently, "when was that?"
"You were in the bathroom."
"Yeah." she looks confused. "Why...where do you do it?"
"Um...usually in the bedroom."
"The bedroom?" She was appalled. These were bathroom parts we were talking about. What the heck?
Another one of my favorite stories came from a friend of mine who used the same anatomy lesson for instruction. Man puts his penis into woman's vagina. A few days later, young daughter took a while to blurt out a question that had clearly been troubling her. "After the man puts it in the woman....does she ever give it back?"
So -- right from the start, our sincerest efforts are not always as effective as we believe. It needs to be an ongoing conversation.
part 2 tomorrow.
A lot of spiders have been busy out back---