Posted by: laughs4dads | August 25, 2010

THE Talk

Well, it’s time we had that talk about…you know.

Nobody wants to talk to their kids about sex, and no kid wants to talk to her parents about sex, primarily because neither party wants to deal with the mental image of the other party having sex.

This rite of passage has changed substantially over the years. There was a time when parents actually had to describe how to do it! How embarrassing must that have been? In our modern age, the sex talk is mostly about not getting STDs or not becoming pregnant. The actual “how-tos” can be left to the wide selection of websites with instructional videos that…oh, no, don’t do that…oh, that’s too many people…that’s–what is that?…ah, here’s one.

Most of my friends have sons, and so this whole thing was much easier for them. Their sex talk was pretty much, “Here are some condoms. Go get ‘em.”

Okay, that may be harsh. It makes it sound like fathers are teaching their sons to treat women as sexual objects, which couldn’t be further from the truth. Well, actually, it could be a lot further from the truth, at least judging from the high rate of anticipation that fathers and sons share each February when the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue comes out.

But my point is that, if you have a son, sex is a source of pride. If you have a daughter, sex is a source of horror.

The bottom line is, what you really want to tell your daughter about sex is not to have it, ever, at least not in your lifetime. Yes, you’d like grandchildren, but adoption is fine. Or what about all this surrogate stuff you’ve been hearing about? Even immaculate conception seems like a good idea. After all, the last kid born that way turned out okay, if you ignore the whole cross and nails through the wrists thing.

So you put off the talk with your daughter until you think she might be considering becoming sexually active, which, as far as a father is concerned, includes holding hands. But you never know these days, do you? I remember one guy at my poker game talking about a 13-year-old-girl who had been engaging in oral sex and was now broken-hearted because her 13-year-old boyfriend had broken up with her. The guys all looked at each other because, frankly, we couldn’t imagine in our youth even having oral sex at age 13, much less breaking up with the girl that was providing it.

Turned out she had braces. But I digress.

In a June 14 post on ParentDish, Tom Henderson, in writing about having The Talk, quotes Susan Stiffelman, a family therapist in Southern California: “You need to let your child know, ‘I can handle the truth.’ “

Yeah, well I can’t handle the truth! I don’t wanna handle the truth!

Interestingly, Barbara doesn’t remember ever having the talk with Casey. And I know I didn’t. (For reasons that by now should be obvious, nobody wanted me involved.). Not that we didn’t have occasion to bring it up. There was the time Casey found an anatomically-correct goat in a set of approximately 438 non-anatomically-correct farm animals. But she was too young at that point. Then there was the incident at The Bronx Zoo with the five-legged giraffe. Yes, it was that long. They don’t show you this stuff on the nature shows on TV, but, let me tell you, the sight of giraffes mating is truly something to behold…and not a vision that one can easily erase from one’s mind. But it somehow was not appropriate to use a pair of amorous giraffes as a segue into what humans do. (Believe me, Casey would have been severely disappointed with any future boyfriend.)

Now fast forward about 20 years.

Our daughter is now 23. My mom is visiting, and we drop her off at a hotel near our house, and Casey innocently blurts out, “Oh, the rooms here are nice,” and Barb and I look at her, and it comes out that there may have been an evening during which she and her boyfriend may have had occasion to, shall we say, check out the minibar in said hotel.

Barbara gets extremely upset about this. “What? And you didn’t get Starwood points?”

I guess sex is like everything else. Eventually, we get over it.

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