Tag Archives: sex

The School of Sex

31 Jan

“Doctors should begin teaching adolescent sex education, a new study argues, because schools in Illinois aren’t doing a good enough job.

The study, to be published Thursday in the American journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, found that one-third of sex education teachers in Illinois public schools were not teaching comprehensive sex ed.” (Stephanie Banchero, Chicago Tribune)

What do they mean by “comprehensive sex ed”? The article goes into how many teachers cover how to use condoms and contraceptives and how abstinence only programs are hurting education. Does “comprehensive” include sexual orientation too? What are they talking about?

How exactly are doctors supposed to get involved in teaching sex education? Are they going to be hired as teachers? Will they be writing the curriculum? Are doctors going to start scheduling a special visit to the office?

Really, sex education needs to start at a very early age. Middle school is way too late. I wrote about talking to your young kids in an earlier article. But really, I don’t think this subject needs to be covered in schools. Public schools have a hard enough time covering the basics (remember reading, writing, and arithmetic?). If schools really feel the need to get involved in sex education how about setting up an annual meeting inviting doctors, nurses, and religious leaders to talk with parents and their kids together. I understand that a lot of people feel uncomfortable discussing sex with their children; I also understand that a lot of us were raised by parents that didn’t talk about sex. That’s okay. If you know it is important but find that you need help, there is help out there. Talk with your doctor on your own terms. Talk with your pastor. Maybe a good friend can help out. It doesn’t matter. The conversation needs to take place; and your kid needs to know that you think it is important.

Mom! Where do babies come from?

6 Jul

At some point in your career as parent, you will hear this question. Some parents look at it as a matter of course, while others cringe in fear. Whatever your feelings about this inevitable question, it is important to be able to have an ongoing conversation with your children about SEX. Remember, if you won’t talk to them about SEX, they will go to someone else. And then you have no control over what they learn or from whom or, God forbid, HOW.

From the time your child is able to speak with you is the time to start talking. Of course at this age you are not going to get into the specific ins and outs of intercourse but this is the time to start identifying body parts. Please use biological terms! That would be vagina and penis.

My first was two when we started this conversation. I was a single mom at the time and I couldn’t shut the door to the bathroom without one of two things happening: he would get into something he shouldn’t or he would camp out at the door banging and crying for mom, which or course made it very difficult to get anything accomplished. So, I established an open door policy. And he would follow me in there to chat with me about this or that. Then one day he noticed that we had different body parts. He wanted to know why we were different and what the different parts were. So I simply told him that I was a girl, and girls have vaginas but that he was a boy and he had a penis. That’s all he needed or wanted to know. I didn’t have to get into sperms and eggs or ovulation. No, it starts out simple. Just like any other good conversation. When you first meet someone you exchange names, not deep dark secrets.

Then around 3 or 4 years of age (whenever they start dressing and cleaning themselves and definitely when they can use the toilet unsupervised) you need to talk about hygiene – cleaning your special body parts. Let me tell you something, learning to clean those delicate parts is hard! And they’re not going to get it right the first time they try. Or the second or third for that matter. So the conversation continues.

At this age you also need to really start enforcing the stranger danger issue. Nothing scary, just make sure they know there are a FEW bad people out there. Kids are friendly and want people to like them. This makes it hard to walk away from a smiling stranger. Let them know that good people will understand why they are not allowed to talk.

But watch out! Somewhere around early school age your child will come to you with some bizarre story of how babies are made and what sex is. You see, your child has friends at school. And they talk to each other about sex. This is serious stuff. They are trying to figure out their world. Don’t end the conversation now! It helps to ask questions. Ask them what they think. Ask them who they are talking to. Ask them what he thinks about their collective decision. Chances are he really only wants to know that babies are made when a man and a women have sex. The baby grows inside the mom for about 9 months and then comes out. Sexual intercourse is where a man put his penis in a woman’s vagina. At this point he will probably make a face or say gross or something to that effect. That’s probably all they are ready for. He’s not ready for eggs and sperm and all the other stuff. But ask. If they need to know more tell them.

The point is to start the conversation early and keep it going. Once they get into school it gets much harder to broach the topic. Start it young and you’ve got years of baby steps to ready yourself for first date dos and don’ts.