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The Sex Talk

Thursday, 20 May 2010 16:20

Into the Bushes with the Birds and the Bees.

by Brandon Keene


Everyone's story about the sex talk they received is different, if they got one at all.

Mine goes like this: I'm 15 years old and sitting in the cab of my father's pickup after an afternoon of travel. We're eating hamburgers and he's asking me if I have any girlfriends, and after a moment, he wistfully looks off into the distance and says, "You ever do it in the bushes? In the bushes is some of the best."

That's it. That's the whole story.

If not for the Idaho Public Education System's One-Day Puberty Course, and the information disseminated to me by friends who were sexually active much earlier than I, the only thing I would have known about sex would have been that whatever sex was or was for and however it was done, instances of it that occurred in the bushes were preferable.

Last week I got to revisit this issue in the most constructive fashion I think possible, and in doing so got to do something that none of my friends have yet had the opportunity to do.

Last week I got to deliver the sex talk to my half brothers.

16 years my junior, my half brothers have just reached the confusing pubescent age of twelve. When I received an email from one proudly telling me that they now have girlfriends, I found myself compelled to email back and ask the only question I felt was pertinent, "have you given her all the kisses?"
This was the answer I received: "no i haven't given any kisses......... yet."

Shortly thereafter I traveled back to my hometown to visit for Mother's Day, and as a present, I offered to my mother the option for me to give the boys the sex talk, particularly given that

  1. It would probably be less uncomfortable and embarrassing for them if the talk was delivered by their "cool older brother," and

  2. That it seemed extremely unlikely that their father was going to give them any sort of sex talk, much less a thoroughgoing one.

My mother took me up on the offer, and the next day while she was at work the boys and I went and got some Thai Iced Teas and returned to the house where we could sit in the warm afternoon air and discuss "dude things."

My brothers had already received a basic puberty course in school, and I built on that foundation to try and deliver the kind of sex talk that I wished I'd received when I was their age.

I led with the story of the sex talk I'd received, figuring that with that out of the way, their talk couldn't be worse than mine. From there we discussed the actual mechanics of sex and sexual organs, both male and female. Following that was the mechanics of impregnation and Sexually Transmitted Diseases and the subsequent necessity of safe sex. We talked about how to have safe sex, and the responsibilities and drawbacks of prophylactics and birth control. Since discussing STDs can be pretty fucking scary, we delved into why people have sex and its relationship to overall healthy self-esteem and self-identity. That led to a discussion of sexual orientation, with an emphasis on the idea that it is perfectly acceptable to be who you are, and to accept whatever orientation manifests for you. We ended by discussing "what is eroticism" and how sexual arousal can stem from a pantheon of potentially unexpected sources; sources which can be an important part of sexual identity, even if they have little to do with one's sexual orientation.

We were in the middle of discussing examples of fetishism when my mother returned home from work, and we decided to adjourn at that time. However, as we concluded, one of my brothers came over and put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Thanks for having this talk with us. I really appreciate it."

Having had a few days to ruminate on the event, I think I would advise parents who are facing the decision to have a sex talk with their children with the following:

  1. Be Prepared: have a basic outline in your head or on paper of the topics you intend to cover.

  2. Be Open & Honest: prepare yourself to answer any questions that may get asked, and don't pull any punches when it comes to descriptions.

  3. Be Thoroughgoing: cover at least all of the ground I outlined above, and more if you have time. Discuss even the things you aren't into, because this is about preparing them for their sexual identity, not yours. Even if you and your partner share strictly missionary intercourse, your little Johnny or Susie should still know that the Reverse Cowgirl can break dicks, and that a Backdoor Bonanza will profit from some lube.

  4. Be Early: this talk needs to happen as a kid is entering puberty, not exiting it or in the thick of it. Perhaps you don't recall, but puberty is an IMMENSELY CONFUSING TIME in our lives, and being forearmed against recess rumors should help encourage healthy sexual maturity and self-identity. Seriously, I recall being told once that if you fart during sex you'll ejaculate out your ass. Who tells kids shit like that?

  5. Be Accepting: this is your opportunity to let them know that whatever orientation they have is OK. After all, what could be worse than not only having to go through the process of sexual awakening wearing a yoke of shame for feelings you don't entirely understand and certainly didn't ask for?

  6. Be Adult: this is not a time to coddle them as children. This conversation isn't just about making sure they're prepared for a roll in the hay. This conversation is also about accepting that they are becoming adults, and as such, it requires the respect you would give any other adult.

  7. Be Happy: this is really the single most important factor in this conversation! Sex is awesome, and sex can be healthy and fun! Make sure your child knows that this is one of life's joys, not one of its shameful or unpleasant necessities. And finally, if you can't do that:

  8. Be Willing to Consider a Pinch Hitter: if it's been awhile since you or your partner considered yourself "sexually active," if your relationship with your child is already strained, or if you simply don't feel comfortable having this conversation, find someone you trust to have this conversation on your behalf. There is no shame in acknowledging that your child may be better served by having someone else deliver this talk, because your concern needs to be first and foremost that they receive the maximum amount of information possible in the most receptive circumstances possible.

I feel really good about the talk we had, and my only regret is that I wasn't able to conclude with a discussion of analingus because, after all, what better way to come to the end?

Brandon Keene is a Portland Poet and Writer who produces the weekly webcomic Darren Died Tonight and would be more than happy to tell your kids about sex.

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