Sex is natural – sex is good
Not everybody does it
But everybody should
Sex is natural – sex is fun
Sex is best when it’s… One on one
~George Michael, “I Want Your Sex”
So last night, as we snuggled in bed, my nine-year old son brought up the subject of sex.
He said he needed to tell me something and that he needed me not to get mad. I immediately gave him my word.
I saw the stress in his little body. He was taking a leap of faith, and I needed to catch him.
He then confessed that he had “played doctor” (not his words, but the easiest short cut) with another friend a couple of years ago.
Shew…I breathed a sigh of relief. This one I could handle. I immediately told him it was no big deal, and that it was completely normal. I told him that mommy and daddy had done the same thing; I gave him specifics because I remember being with my cousin when a family member caught us. We could hear the laughter and snickers from the other room. While they didn’t tell us we were bad or wrong, they didn’t let us know we were okay either.
I made sure to let him know that it is natural for young children (generally docs agree on ages 3-7) to be curious and that he had nothing to worry or feel bad about. I didn’t want to ask lots of details but wanted him to feel comfortable, to unburden himself. I made sure to let him know that he was older now and that that time for that kind of exploration had passed, that he needed to keep private parts private.
I watched his little chest take a deeper breath once he had revealed his up-to-then troubling secret, and he snuggled back in tight with his head on my belly.
I had a moment to reflect. I was pleasantly shocked that he had picked me and not his dad to talk to about this, but I guess it makes sense. They have a very open relationship and talk about anything, but it was me that had brought the puberty books home from the library, twice, each time returning them after we read a chapter and he said he wasn’t ready yet. I just kept telling him that I would get them again or be ready to support him when he was ready. All he had to do was tell me.
I was feeling quite pleased with myself. I felt pretty confident of the way I had handled that one. Thank you Child Development class!
That’s when he hit me with part two.
He told me that he had learned from school friends that there are some men who just want to have sex with 30 or 40 women.
Alrighty then. Dance, mama. Dance! You have once chance to get this right. This moment matters. He is testing the waters. He wants to see if he can trust his source. He wants to know this is a safe place to talk.
One thing I knew for sure was that I needed to maintain credibility, to be a reliable source of information. Everywhere he looks, sex is glorified. It is a primal driving force. If I showed I was uncomfortable, he would be uncomfortable talking to me. I had to push past my reluctance and be honest.
I said, “Yeah, buddy, it’s true. And, there are lots of things we can talk about when you are ready, but the bottom line is that sex is fun. And, sex is good for you.”
This made him bolt upright, cock his head, and say, “Are you kidding me? Sex is good for you???” I had his attention.
I said, “Absolutely! It is good physical exercise. It releases all kinds of good chemicals in your body. And, I believe that when you are emotionally connected with someone, all of that just increases exponentially (yeah, that is how we talk around here, and yeah, he knows what it means). . .
And, it comes with responsibilities. If you have sex and you help create a baby, you are always going to be that kid’s dad. You might not stay with that woman, but you must always stand by that child.”
He said, “So, it’s kinda like there is good and bad?”
I replied, “Yep, life is kinda like that. With most things, there is good and bad. You have to make good choices.”
He said, “Yeah, I get that.”
I ended with, “You can always talk about this stuff with me and daddy. We will help you figure it out. You are not alone.”
That seemed to satisfy him, and we returned to quiet snuggles as I helped him settle himself to sleep.
Among other things, that’s my job. To help him settle. To learn to be comfortable with himself so he can do it alone when the time comes.
We will get to the details later. And, today, I am more confident than ever that we will get to the details because I met him where he is, not where I wish he were. My little boy is growing up.
“Sex is fun, and it’s good for you.” Yep, I’m that mom.
The names of some great books for pre-teen boys (and one for younger kids of either gender) are below, linked to Amazon. You can click on the link, and once on Amazon, most of the images have a “take a look inside” option. And, don’t forget to check them out at your library. See what works for you and your kids:
- “What’s Happening to Me?” A Guide to Puberty by Peter Mayle
- It’s So Amazing!: A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie H. Harris
- On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow!: A “What’s Happening to My Body?” Book for Younger Boys by Lynda Madaras