When my colleagues at Dayton City Paper informed me a while back they were putting together another Sizzlin’ Sex issue, I was a bit perplexed. I mean, when you think of me, the words “sizzlin’” and “sex” don’t exactly come to mind. But, as a father of two girls, you know for a fact I’ve had sex at least twice.
OK, OK, I know: TMI. But no matter your race, color, creed or economic background, there is no book, road map or app on how to talk to your kids about sex – every situation is different.
Oh yes, you can grab some reading material on the subject, but we’re all different. There is no one-size-fits-all plan.
Looking back to when I was at the age of curiosity, dad was my first choice. “Go talk to your mom, son,” he said. So, it was off for a chat with mom – which actually went pretty well, but she was not too forthcoming on facts. She, for the most part, answered my questions, never going into detail. Just the minimum.
It must have been at 13 when my folks signed me up for a church class on sex. All teen boys with hormones raging, voices changing and facial hair sprouting, plus an instructor who had sweat beading up on his forehead when one of the guys would ask something in graphic detail. Suffice it to say, like many at the time, I learned most by trial and error.
So, now here we are, and I’m the parent who must have “the talk” with my kids. You think to yourself, ‘what age should I approach them? Do I wait for them to approach me? Do I pull a dad and say “go talk to your mother”?’
Trust me, it ain’t easy, but you don’t want them to pick up stuff from friends, which could range from bad information and untruths to downright silly stuff. And, as a friend of mine would add, “Don’t bring no babies into my house.” I went with the get-them-before-they-get-you scenario.
It’s a scene right out of church class: I could feel the sweat all over me, like I had just taken an ice bucket challenge.
“Here goes,” I thought, “what do I have to lose?” And since I’m the “senior” writer here on staff – senior meaning the oldest – and I’m dating myself here, but I started stammering like Don Knotts as Deputy Barney Fife on the old “Andy Griffith Show.” Sitting there in the living room with my oldest, I simply blurted out, “Hun, do we need to talk about the birds and the bees?”
“Dad, you mean sex? I already know everything about it,” she said at the age of 12.
“Good then,” I said. “What do you want for dinner?”
Case closed. Whew, that was easy, huh?
Wait, am I insane? Bucher are you nuts? This is your chance. She can’t know everything at 12. Heck, I still don’t have the whole picture at 50!
After a lengthy discussion covering virtually everything from A to Z, mainly me listening and taking notes, we completed sex education 101. A little later, she came to me requesting birth control. At that point I thought, “wasn’t she just in the bassinette?”
So far, she now at age 18, I don’t have any grandchildren. Maybe, then, my discussion worked. I’ve asked other parents for their experiences having the “talk” with their kids. It’s interesting; the results were all over the place from “I talked to them” or “They talked to me” or “I think they had a class in school.”
Why, oh why, is it so difficult then to converse with our kids on something as important as procreation, safe sex and sexually transmitted diseases?
I do believe attitudes have changed with each generation. My parents’ parents never spoke of it, my parents just sort of; then to my kids it was a bit of a chore, but we got through it. Here’s hoping when they decide to have children and eventually have the “talk,” it will be easier still.
So, when do you talk to your kid, at what age and in how much detail? My un-Doctor Phil advice is do it before they learn everything from Snooki on “Jersey Shore.” And don’t assume they’ll have a epiphany; it’s up to you my friends.
Good luck, fellow parents. Just thinking about doing that all over again gives me heart palpitations. Going to take a cold shower.
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