“During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy,” Livi read, “God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin who live in Nazareth, in the town of Galilee.”
She stopped reading and looked up at me. “Mommy, what’s a virgin?”
I stared back at her, mind swirling. Was this really happening? Holy cow.
The way I figured it, I had a lot of options here. Make something up. Be really vague. Change the subject. The day before, a friend had told me about her adventures in explaining sex to her six-year-old. I had thought to myself, “Who talks about sex to a SIX-year-old?!”
Um, turns out I do. Better yet, I talk about sex to a six-year-old AND a five-year-old.
“Well…,” I began. “Well. Hmm…” Where on earth do I even start?? And then I just leaped.
“Well, sweetie, it’s like this…” And before I knew it, one thing led to another, and I had told my children all manner of sexual information, including how “this part” of Daddy works with “this part” of Mommy (and yes, I used actual scientific terms). We talked about God’s plan for sex and how sometimes people have sex when they’re not married and sometimes get pregnant, but how it’s best to wait until you’re husband and wife.
And on and on and on.
Livi was totally into it, super engaged, asking questions. Ava looked like she wanted to disappear under the covers. (This is still pretty much how they are when we talk about sex.)
And Nina? Well I kind of forgot that she was a whole year old when I was explaining all this to her sisters. So lots of years passed before I brought it up (a bit awkwardly) with her. We’ve talked about it a few times, including last week while we were watching Half the Sky together. She was a little unclear on some stuff, and I filled in the gaps for her.
The hard part (that I desperately wish didn’t even have to exist) is trying to explain to your young daughters how, on the one hand, sex is this amazing awesome gift that feels really good and is a lot of fun for a mommy and daddy. And, on the other hand, it is something that should never, ever, EVER be done by an adult to a little girl or boy, because it is wrong and evil and hurts so, so bad, and destroys precious, innocent children, and breaks God’s heart.
The reason I bring this up today seemingly out of nowhere, is because I mentioned it in passing on my Midday Connection Interview the other day. I talked about how it was easier to talk to my girlies about human trafficking (and mating zoo animals) when they had gotten such a jump start on learning about sex. My friend Ali told me today that if she hadn’t known that I write/speak a lot about sex, that part might have confused her.
Hello, I’m Marla, and I write and speak a lot about sex.
The minute the interview was over (or maybe even before it was), I had already gotten an e-mail from a fellow mom who wanted my advice on telling her 9-year-old twin boys about sex. What resources would I recommend? she wondered.
And since “just sit your kids on the bed and start reading about the Virgin Mary and then explain about penises and vaginas and how they work and how Mommy and Daddy are having sex late at night after the kiddos are snoring away” didn’t seem like a very helpful answer, I told her I would write a blog post about it someday and ask for helpful answers from other people, because I’ve been asked this “how do I tell my kids about sex?” question a bazillion times and I never know what to say.
(Well, that was a long sentence.)
And hey, today seems as good a day as any.
So. Let’s do this thing.
Do you have any great resources/brilliant tips for teaching your kiddos about sex? Please share and help some mamas (and dads) out!