Sex-ed for Mums!

It’s getting to that time in our house when we need to talk about “thex”. Now, I say “thex” because we tend to say it Miranda style in our house (silent ‘th’, dropped jaw, raised eyebrows…say it out loud – yep that’s it).

We have a daughter in her first year at high-school, and she is in the midst of that biology topic. Fortunately she seems to be finding it all rather amusing, apparently they are even making flashcards on the subject (the mind boggles)! When asked if she would like to discuss what they have been talking about at school her response was “eeeeewwwww muuuuummmmmm….you can look at my post-it notes if you want to know anything, but that’s it”!

There is no doubt that this is a giggle-inducing topic no matter what you call it…in fact I had a highly inappropriate attack of the giggles myself once when I was asked to discuss my thoughts on “intimate love” (the scene involved a Catholic Priest, my Catholic husband-to-be, and my red-hot-blushing-I’m-not-guilty-Father face…but this is a story for another day).

So, now’s the time for me to be a responsible mother, to talk to my daughter about ‘it’ openly, sensibly and appropriately…but what exactly does that involve?!! What do I say and when do I say it? How much information is too much? How much is too little? And which end of the scale would I rather be at this stage?

The answer to some of these questions has to be that it depends on your daughter, on your relationship, and on how open you are about other subjects too. We’re pretty good at discussing things here, but it’s times like this that even at the age of 37 I still don’t think I’m a proper grown-up with all the answers.

My own sex-education happened 1970s style, I don’t think I will ever forget it…

I don’t remember ‘it’ ever being a topic of conversation in our house, I really don’t think it was even expected that parents would talk about ‘it’ back then. But one day, I must have been a young teenager, I sat on my bed and it to my surprise it crinkled…imagine my shock when I peeled back the blankets to find a page from a 1970s ‘adult’ magazine staring back at me…complete with photos!!!!

Well, I don’t know what was more horrifying, the picture I was looking at, or the fact that my mother must have put it there! And now I knew, that she knew, that I knew, that she knew that I was in my bedroom looking at a picture of a naked man and woman!! ARRRGGGHHH! I think I have erased all memories of the rest of that day from my mind, but I will never, ever, be able to erase that picture!

The next step in my sex-education was when I went to my friend’s house for a sleepover and she had hired Dirty Dancing on video from her local shop. Well, in those days when you hired a video for 24 hours, you made the most of it; seven back-to-back viewings later and that pretty much secured my knowledge on the subject. I’m not sure how long it took for me to realise that dancing the mambo was not a necessary requirement for making babies.

So I’m trying a slightly gentler approach with my tweenie. I’ve turned to my virtual therapist – Amazon.

If you are getting to the stage when you think you might need to have that talk, or even the talk (about development), which comes before that talk (about “thex”) I would highly recommend reading any books you buy or borrow yourself before you give them to your daughter, the difference in the content for books aimed at 9-13 year olds is quite eye-opening! In order of preference for striking the right balance on content I recommend:

  1. Ready Set Grow 
  2. Growing Up for Girls
  3. What’s Happening to Me?

On reflection, I think that picture my mum left me with was pretty tame, imagine having a mum who blogs about this stuff online ;o)


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