Sex talk

Guy I work with has a son named Jack. Good kid. Solid. 8-years-old. Asked his dad the other day where babies come from. Guy suspected his son already knew and was testing his dad to see how much truth dad would tell. Guy tells the truth, the graphic truth – penis this, vagina that. Jack can’t believe he’s hearing pops spill these words. Guy doesn’t stop, tells Jack all about sperm and eggs. At this, Jack, facing his reproductive destiny, runs around the room yelling, “I am not a chicken!”

Despite the explicit talk, Guy tells us Jack refers to “vagina” as “China,” which has lead to many “China is the next world superpower” jokes and the like.

My sex talk went something like this: I got my period on one of my weekend visits with dad. Dad had just married wife number two. This was The Impulse Wedding – they’d only dated six months and would only make it six more. He was spending nights at her house but going home in the morning to get dressed, a fact that didn’t need retrospect to call it a bad sign. I would go with him and his clothes from her house to his, but it was at hers that I got my period. She had three kids – two older and much cooler girls, one of whom lent me the “Songs from the Big Chair” cassette tape that would eventually break while I was in their yard, raking The Impulse’s leaves. She also had a younger son who had Down’s Syndrome. The Short Bus blocked my dad’s seafoam blue Pontiac every morning. He cursed it, once, when he was beyond late.

But the weekend I become a woman, all her kids are at their dad’s house. It’s a Sunday, handoff day, so I only have to make it a few hours til I’m back home with mom. I don’t tell dad. I stuff a giant wad of toilet paper into my underpants and swallow a few aspirin. Work on a report about Pompeii, listen to side “A” of The Cassette. Dad and I get in the seafoam blue Pontiac, go to Budaghers, and then I climb into Mom’s white wagon. She asks if anything special happened over the weekend, fishing for dirt on The Impulse. I twist the grey seatbelt flat across my flat chest and tell her about Aunt Flo. “Really?” she says, proud. Proud? I say, “really.” Long pause. And then she says, “You know, there’s stuff under the sink.”

And that was my sex talk: “There’s stuff under the sink.”

24 responses to “Sex talk”

  1. Dave says:

    Thank God that Albuquerque Public Schools isn’t squeamish about sex ed.

    Of course, my parents had me skip the first round of sex ed, offered in 5th grade, because they thought the presentation was too positive on the subject of masturbation. Never mind that every boy in the school was or soon would be extremely positive on the subject.

  2. Marleyfan says:

    Happy to hear that there are still “solid” eight year olds out there… Enjoyed your post.

  3. Rachel says:

    “There’s stuff under the sink?”

    Mine was, “Figure it out. I’m late for work.”

  4. My Alter Ego says:

    I like how “There’s stuff under the sink” is open to numerous interpretations.

  5. cynthia says:

    mine was their is a box in the bathroom, i’m sure you can figure out what to do

  6. Tim Wager says:

    I don’t really remember a sex talk per se. I just always already knew about it, with the key term being “mating”. Yes, it was the 60’s, and yes, my parents were and are liberal intellectuals.

  7. lane says:

    During mine, my dad used the f word, his only time, just so I knew what everyone was talking about.

  8. I remember the talk in stages. An early version happened after a friend in another town had a classmate start her period in the fourth grade, kind of early. His parents called my parents and that precipitated part one. What I remember most about it is that I was working a summer paint job on a church with my dad. We were painting window sill exteriors. On a dusty window my dad drew a couple intense diagrams of male anatomy (not unlike that scandalous moment in the Simpsons movie), asked me if kids at school ever talked about horses and cows. (Horses and cows?? Was that because we lived in a cow town in the middle of nowhere?) Afterward I heard him tell my mom we’d talked about the birds and bees, which gave me a better idea of what he’d been getting at. Most of what I knew about sex as a kid came from the encyclopedia.

    The second phase of the talk came terribly late. I must have been about 14 or 15. My dad apparently was concerned about how much time I was spending feathering my bangs. (Blame it on the ERA or the Dukes of Hazard, whichever you will.) He told me that I should be prepared for my testicles to drop and pubic hair to appear and girls to notice my feathery bangs. He was a couple years late, at least on the first two counts.

    Hey Wendy West — your post has 190 comments and counting over on unfogged. Thanks, Becks, for the shout out.

  9. Stephanie Wells says:

    Is “There’s stuff under the sink” a reference to the fact that girls have “indoor plumbing”? and yours was, well, leaking?

    And since I can’t speak from my own experience on this one, won’t someone please confirm: don’t your testicles drop when you’re, like, one?

  10. Dave says:

    Even earlier, actually. (Now there’s a google search I wouldn’t have done at work.) They do get much bigger during puberty, of course, and I guess the added weight makes them hang lower.

  11. Trixie Honeycups says:

    hey wendy, now you have 209 comments on unfogged. you just keep getting famouser and famouser. it’s awesome. don’t forget about us little people!
    well, instead of a one liner about the location of the kotex (that’s what my mom calls them) my memories are of witnessing the bloody byproducts of the ovulatory cycle from a very young age, on a monthly basis. my mom had zero boundaries with me and essentially wanted me to know every detail of her private life from the time i could focus my eyes.
    this resulted in an overabundance of information about sex and reproduction, both in the abstract (for context) and in the very specific (i knew more about my mother’s single mom sex life when i was 10 than any child ever should). ahhh, the memories. what i wouldn’t give not to have them. oh yeah, i have given it, in dollars, to my therapist. the grass is always greener, i guess.

  12. celia says:

    Wow! Bryan, I can’t believe you actually got a talk! And with diagrams. I guess that’s what you get as the oldest. We had absolutely no sex ed in school (they even skipped over reproduction in my anatomy/physiology class in high school!). There was one slightly awkward moment where my mom tried, I think, as she mentioned the words “eggs” and “sperm.” I remember asking/ wondering how the heck the sperm got inside. When I asked how it worked, mom just started explaining again from “the egg and sperm unite”, completely leaving out any words such as “penis”, “erection”, or “vagina”.

    I didn’t ever get any info. on periods either. I guess having 3 older sisters they just figured I’d know, and I guess I knew enough not to freak out about the bloody mess and to look under the sink for supplies. I read the instructions on the tampon box and took it from there. I don’t know if I even told my mom I’d started.

  13. #9: i wasn’t claiming the facts were straight. i was telling a story.

    #12: after reading 200 comments on unfogged, i think we got it better than most. so props to them for trying. plus, 200 comments later i also suspect that most people have selective memory on this issue. chalk it up to the trauma.

  14. Mark says:

    “There’s stuff under the sink”

    And all I’m thinking of is Drain-O.

    I can’t remember ever having any kind of talk with my parents. Being the youngest of three, I probably overheard them talking to my siblings, but they sort of forgot about me down there in the basement. All alone. With Cinemax.

  15. lhd says:

    10 – if it weren’t for wikipedia i wouldn’t be able to throw out the term gonadarche.

  16. Dave says:

    15: Imagine how many Albuquerque high-schoolers would be pregnant without proper sex ed.

  17. WW says:

    ah, “stuff under the sink” = where supplies can be found. never were any condoms there, tho.

  18. LP says:

    My parents gave my brother and me this book when I was about 5, and this book when I was about 8. Everything you always needed to know, but would have preferred not to hear in a sit-down talk at the kitchen table. Highly recommended for those of you with young kids.

    Of course, being so young I did misread a couple of things. Notably, I couldn’t figure out what it meant that people suddenly developed “public” hair. Did that mean the hair you had as a kid was somehow not as presentable?

    Also notable: the author of both these books is Peter Mayle, he of the endless series of Provence books that have sold 1.7 bazillion copies.

  19. celia says:

    #13- after reading some of those 200 responses, I agree wholeheartedly. In any case, I learned what I needed to know more or less by the time I needed to know it (though maybe not as soon as I would have liked).

  20. Miller says:

    My parents claim to this day that they had a very extensive sex talk with me when I was about 12, but I have no recollection of it at all; I’m thinking it was so traumatizing that I blocked it out. Most of what I remember about sex ed was what the boys in school explained to me in gruesome detail, and looking up “sex,” vagina,” “penis,” etc. in my middle school’s massive dictionary.

    p.s. trixie’s comment had me lol-ing.

  21. Trixie Honeycups says:

    thanks miller,
    i was starting to feel like a totally dysfunctional fuckup for writing that comment. maybe i still am. but at least i feel better about it now.

  22. WW says:

    oh I toally agree with Miller — your comment was awesome. So weird to think of our parents as sexual beings. You and your mom should be a TV show.

  23. Miller says:

    I vote for a whole post of Trixie and her mom!

    But I must also add, WW, your post is lol-worthy as well. You rule.