Sex Ed Made Easy
Why I’d Rather Chew Soap Than Talk To My Daughters About Orgasms
I admit it. I took the easy way out when it came to talking to my daughters about sex. Not the actual mechanics – that they understood from about the age of eight and I took comfort in knowing they were well and truly disgusted by the very notion of such things happening. But I knew that initial disgust wouldn’t last, and by the time they hit puberty, curiosity would start to take hold.
It didn’t help that I wrote romantic comedy. Neither daughter would read the books because they could not put ‘mom’ and ‘sex’ in the same sentence. Much like the brother-in-law who tried to read one of my books and had to put it aside after encountering the word ‘nipple,’ but that’s another post for another day.
The dilemma for me was how to talk to a pre-teen about consent, orgasms, figuring out what you like and more importantly how to ask for it when having sex.
To my mind, the number one consideration when having sex has always been “do you feel safe and happy.” Not either/or, but both at the same time. This made the consent part fairly easy to talk about regardless of how much eye-rolling and walking away I encountered. The rest was harder. Much, much harder.
What mother wants to talk to her kids about orgasms? And what kid wants to hear about any of it from mom? The problem of course is that pornography will quickly fill in any blanks that we leave and it was more of a horror for me to think of those young female minds getting their first impressions of what sex should be from anything titled Busty Backdoor Nurses or Poke-Herhontas #8.
Luckily, when I was faced with this dilemma women’s erotica was making its way onto the literary scene. Today there are plenty of books to choose from, some of which are poorly written (50 Shades of Crap, for instance) and some that would probably scare the crap out of any pre-teen, which might be great for a while, but isn’t the long term goal. But in 1993, there was Slow Hand, a collection of short stories told from a female point of view and penned by talented writers. Stories that were not simply titillating but also tender and emotional and sometimes controversial, which was perfect because the desire for sex is neither simple nor straightforward and I didn’t want my daughters to ever think that it was.
So I made sure they caught glimpses of me reading that book, and saw me close it abruptly and set it aside when they entered a room. And one day I inadvertently set it on a table and left not only the room, but the house, hoping one or both would pick it up.
While I had my suspicions, it wasn’t until a few years later that I finally found out that the plan had indeed worked. They both read it and talked about it (and were suitably appalled that I was reading it), but those stories did what they were supposed to do, feeding them important information that they carried with them into their teen years and beyond.
Slow Hand is tame by today’s standards which is why I still find it a great introduction to the exciting and confusing world of sex for both boys and girls. So grab a copy, make it forbidden and then leave it lying around. While safe and happy was my starting point, these stories helped launch the girls on their own journeys and isn’t that the point of sex education?