So…let’s talk about sex, Miss Bennett

Your oldest brother (his name has been withheld to protect the innocent) was 4 years old when he first asked me about sex. Yep. He actually said the word ‘sex’. Once I changed my pants, I asked him what he thought sex was. He said it was when two people are married. And they kiss. And they don’t have any clothes on. Clearly I was watching way too much Melrose Place with him.
I told him that all of those were absolutely parts of sex. But, there was a whole lot more. Like….a crap-ton more. I also told him that sex is something that adults do. That doesn’t mean he can’t ask about it and we can’t talk about it. It just means that some times I wouldn’t be able to answer his questions fully, and that he wouldn’t want me to, because some things are hard for people who are 4 years old to understand. Some things are hard for adults to explain. He seemed satisfied with that answer. From that moment on, we had open conversations about sex. At every age.
Your second oldest brother (again, his name is being withheld), waited a bit longer to ask me about sex. He was eleven.
He’s a quiet one. I believe, also, that he is an old soul. He’s done this before. He takes things in stride. So, at 6:15 am, while sitting in our car waiting for the bus, he asked me his first ever question about sex: “Mom? What is oral sex?”
I stared straight into the beams of light coming from our car. It was super cold out, and even though we had the heater on, you could still see my breath with every exhale. I think I sat there for a while just breathing in the cold air, wishing to God I was anywhere else, for what seemed like forever.
He just looked down. Then looked out his window.
Oh, dear Lord, what do I say? How do I answer that? Then I realized I needed to cowboy up and handle it.
“Well, oral sex, huh? Do you have any idea at all what it is?” I asked.
“No. I know what regular sex is, but I don’t know what oral sex is.”
“Okay. Hmmm. Well, where did you hear about oral sex?” My questioning continued.
“I dunno. People at school I guess. If you don’t wanna tell me, you don’t have to. You just have always said…”
And there it was. My own words slapping me right in the face!
“that I could talk to you about it.”
All of the sudden I started speaking really fast and in a voice that sounded like I just inhaled a balloon full of helium. “Of course you can talk to me. You can talk to me about anything! I’m your mom! And I don’t want you learning about sex in the locker room like I did. Girls talking about French ticklers? Do you know what a French tickler is? Neither do I! But, it’s not anything you dust with, I can promise you that!”
After some inner dialogue counseling, I took another deep, cool breath and calmly started again.
“Ok. Oral sex. Do you know what oral means?”
“No. Wait, something with your mouth? What does that have to do with sex?”
No way! I am going to have to literally spell it out for him? Another deep breath. And then I just spit it out as fast as I could.
“It’s when a girl puts her mouth on your parts. Or you put your mouth on her parts.”
“OH MY GOSH!! MOM, that is sooooo gross! Who would do that! People do that? Oh, I am never having sex!”
In the middle of yet another hyperventilating preventative deep breath, I was overcome with laughter! Hysterical – possibly. Stressful – definitely. Bonding with my son laughter – absolutely. He started laughing. I saw the lights of the bus off in the distance shining through the bare-limb trees.
“What?” He asked, the laughter dying down.
“I love you. And some day you might think differently.”
“No I won’t!” He said fervently.
“Okay, okay. Well, just know this: Sex is a great thing. It’s fun and loving and exciting and absolutely wonderful. It’s for adults. There are lots of sounds and fluids and stuff that happens, and it’s definitely not as suave a scene as it is on TV and in the movies. Embarrassing stuff can happen. If you don’t love the person you are with and you can’t talk or laugh about it with them, that makes for a very uncomfortable situation. Look, I’m not naive enough to think that you and your brother will wait for marriage before you have sex. That’s great if you do, but I am not going to hide my head in the sand. What I want you guys to know is that a woman will ALWAYS have her heart in it. ALWAYS. And you won’t – not every time. Not until you fall head over heels in love. Sex is HUGE. It is a HUGE topic and shouldn’t be entered into lightly. Babies are made. Diseases are spread. Relationships are made better, but can also be made worse by having sex. If you don’t have the balls enough to talk to her about her feelings and yours, and if you can’t talk about the actual “act” and what feels good and what doesn’t then you have absolutely no business having sex. You aren’t ready. Okay?”
“Yeah. Okay.”
The bus’ brakes squealed as it came to its stop.
“You can talk to me anytime, okay?” I reassured him.
“Yeah, I think I’m good for a while. Love you.” he said as he exited the car and disappeared in the bus exhaust blowing in the headlight beams of the car.
“Love you, too.” I said. Out of sheer exhaustion I laid my head down on the steering wheel. I couldn’t believe I had just had that conversation with your brother.
Being the seasoned sex education parent that I am now, I jump in on your third oldest brother’s conversations with Daddy. I am sure he appreciates my wisdom and will thank me by not rolling his eyes in our future discussions. (Seriously, though, he seeks me out when he has questions now, just like Ian did. Oops, there goes the anonymity)
So, now I am down to you. My daughter. I thought that sex discussions with you would be easy. A piece of cake! We are both female, after all.
Speaking of your magic place that you have babies – well, you can actually check for that place rather than just take my word for it. You ask about breasts and when you will get them…a lot! I feel I am not old enough, nor qualified enough to have these conversations with you, to educate and guide you. I really don’t have a whole lot of experience. I had a high school boyfriend who I was in love with. And he was a wonderful, beautiful person – inside and out. But, we really didn’t even know if we “did it” when we tried. And we certainly didn’t talk about it. I had an amazing college boyfriend – again just a beautiful soul and he was amazingly easy on the eyes. Still, no talking about it. ‘It’ just would happen.
I didn’t really even feel comfortable enough to talk about it until I met your dad. He was actually quite shocked that a woman 10 years his senior didn’t know much of anything about sex. So, he loved me. And he talked to me. And it was amazing because I had never in my life met someone who thought so much of me. He thinks I am beautiful and smart and funny. And to have anyone think that….anyone at all….that was really an amazing thing! And, let’s just say some pretty freaking awesome things happened to me after I met your father. Some pretty, AMAZING things.
So, should I die before you really start asking the tough questions about sex, please know that it is wonderful. It is a good thing to have in a relationship. It is for adults for so, so, so many reasons. Some reasons that I will discuss in another letter. It is also meant to be between two people who love each other – not you just loving him. Not him just loving you. You both need to love and honor each other. When you have that – sex will only make your relationship better.
I love you, my dearest Miss Bennett.
Love, Mom


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