Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"The Talk"

The need for appropriate and comprehensive sex education has been on my mind ever since reading about young Alfie Patten, the 13-yr-old British boy who thought he'd fathered a child with his 15-yr-old girlfriend. And according to my survey, most of you have had "the talk" with your sons.

But don't stop there. Learning about sex and sexuality is a lifelong process, and boys need support and information at every step along the way.

Start talking when your sons are young and keep the conversation going. Easier said than done, I know. We're taught (appropriately) that sex is a very private, personal thing, and so it's much easier to keep our thoughts and opinions to ourselves, rather than speaking frankly with our sons.

Crossing the line from sex being part of our world to possibly being part of their world is a scary thing, but the fact is that sex IS part of their world too. They need to know how their bodies work, what to expect and that sex is more than just a physical act. They need to understand all possible consequences -- emotional, physical, social and spiritual -- in order to make informed decisions.

It's A LOT of responsibility and way too much information to be crammed into one talk. So start talking, now. Just remember that you're talking to boys: Keep your talks short and sweet. Answer questions. Broach the subject while you're doing something together; talking will be easier for both of you if your hands and eyes are on something else.

Respect your sons' temperament and learning preferences as well. Some learn better through books; others, through talks. At the age of 9, my very verbal Son #1 checked out a wonderful book from the library, the American Medical Association's Boy's Guide to Becoming a Teen. He read it, and though he didn't understand a lot of it at the time, it was a wonderful springboard for a talk I will always treasure.

For some other hints -- including 10 bases to cover when talking to boys about sex -- click here.


  1. My ds was very curious around the age of 13 and he checked out a book that sounded good. However, he neglected to read the table of contents, which is unusual, and found more to the book than he bargained for. We did talk afterward and he's fine. But occassionally he will still ask about something(he's almost 16) and so we talk.

  2. There are 10 bases!!! Great ... now I have to go back and recalculate MANY things.

  3. We've had many versions of the talk with Cody. And we're blessed(?? ;) by the fact that he feels completely comfortable asking us ANYTHING. Generally when we're driving (which then becomes an exercise in not careening into a tree) or while we're eating dinner (which often results with things spewing out of an orafice ;)

    Ah, boys are fun!

  4. i heard that today oprah had a sex therapist on teaching parents how to talk to their kids about sex. didn't get to see, but it might be worth DVR-ing when it's on oxygen in the next couple days!