S E X - (winners!)

I am waiting for Z to start asking about s e x. She hasn't yet, and we've mostly darted around the edges of it when answering the usual "How did the baby get in her tummy?" type questions. But I know that one day she will be interested in more details or she'll hear something from a friend, and I'll need to be ready.

I think we've started off well: the girls have been taught the anatomically correct words for their body parts ("labia" and "vulva" are regularly uttered words in our house) and we model respect for our own bodies and the bodies of other people. We carefully screen TV and movies for age appropriateness and are going to fight the early sexualization of girls in our culture with everything we've got.

I am hopeful that Z and E will ask me questions about their bodies and sex but, to be honest, I'm also a little scared about it. It is such a sensitive and important topic, I am terrified to mess it up. I want our girls to be safe AND empowered. What's a liberal-minded but over-protective mom to do?

As hard as it is to imagine this, our girls will one day be sexually active. In this world of sexting and instagram-beauty pageants, I am trying really hard to not be scared about that fact.

As I always do when I'm scared or confused, I am turning to books as my salvation. I have ordered some age appropriate books about sex for younger kids and will use them to prop me up when the time comes.

And, I admit, I'm hoping that time doesn't come for a little while longer.

Have you had a sex talk with your kids? If not, how are you preparing for it?


Once upon a time, there was a young woman who liked to talk about s e x. Not only did she like to talk about it but she had a gift for it; she was knowledgeable, sympathetic and had a way of making even a clueless but hopeful college friend feel comfortable asking all kinds of embarrassing questions.

This woman was the go-to gal for not only the how and when and what questions about s e x but also the why and why not ones. She valued sex as a continuum of special, intimate acts to be enjoyed fully, intelligently and respectfully. Helping you make the best choices for you, from your moral center, point of comfort and burgeoning identity, was her hallmark.

She was so passionate about this topic, she not only got a master's degree in it but also wrote a book on it to help other young clueless but hopeful people live happily ever after with an empowered sense of their own sexuality.

I was so fortunate to have Bronwen Pardes as a friend when I was a college student. I hope that when my children are older, they will not only talk to us but also have similarly wise, supportive friends. Since I cannot guarantee this, I have two copies of Bronwen's book on our shelves, just waiting for teenage Z and E to turn to instead.

And now, you can too!

In celebration of her birthday today (Happy Birthday Bronwen!), I will give away three copies of Bronwen's empowering, fact-based book for teens - "Doing it Right, Making Smart, Safe, Satisfying Choices About Sex" - to three lucky commenters on this post, chosen at random. I will cut off the comments by Friday April 26th at midnight.

Please pass this along to anyone with kids who wants to help them navigate the emotionally tricky waters of sexuality. Winning commenters need not be regular readers of my blog. In fact, my hope is to spread the word about her book and get it in the hands of as many parents as possible.


(Edited 4/28/13)

We have three winners, chosen at random through random.org!

8, 3 and 12.

Shari, Kathi and Marie Green, you win! I will contacting you for your address so I can send you your book. Congrats!


Unknown said...

I'd love a copy! For my two kids (almost 7 and 5) we have the book "It's so Amazing" via Amazon. It was well reviewed, and I anticipate that very soon we'll be cracking it open. My kids also know anatomically correct terminology, they know the basics of puberty, and that s e x question is just around the corner.

Cas said...

After a discussion about her preschool teacher's new baby the other day, I had to laugh when I overheard my five year old marching around the lounge room chanting, "Vagina, vagina, vagina"...

I think I might be needing this book soon :)

Shari said...

I'm dreading all of those discussions - at least the informational ones. I'm fine with the theoretical ones. My 5 year old is not especially curious about s e x yet but he's curious in general so I'm hoping to get as many books as possible! Judy Blume only goes so far, you know.

Kimbra said...

Oh so not looking forward to those conversations, but I have a feeling they are coming sooner rather than later
<3 Kimbra

Therese said...

My girl is six, and so far it's going pretty easy. I just dole it out in tiny bits to satisfy her curiosity. It turns out kids are content with few details. The only thing I make a huge effort in is always being relaxed and casual. I don't want to instill that same shame my mother gave me. If you're thinking this carefully already, you're going to do wonderfully.

Tara said...

I want to win! Pick me! :)

Jessica said...

The book looks great!

Kathi said...

So far my attempt at talking to my girls about it involves me yelling, "Squirrel" in hopes to move the conversation elsewhere. Thankfully they haven't asked much. I am in desperate need of this book as well as your reading list. Thanks for helping us all be more prepared!

Pamela Hunt Cloyd said...

Yes dreading the sex talk. My son is 7. I thought I had another 7 years. Thanks for the heads up!!! And congrats to your friend!

Emily said...

I've always said I'm not doing the sex talk because we have boys (and boy sex talk is dad's job, dammit!), but I'm probably going to have to anyway. I'm going to need so much help.

B said...

Pick me please! I know I need to have some version of "The Talk" soon with my oldest. I could use some help feeling confident in what I choose to say.

Marie Green said...

I'd be happy to buy this book if I don't win. We have some of the American Girl books (Care and Keeping of You, etc) as well as the Robbie Harris ones, but those only go up so far in age. After that, I'm all out of ideas. This one sounds awesome!

Misty said...

I would love to read this. Yay books!

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