TMI, Mom!

January 28th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Uncategorized  |  7 Comments

She does all the talking

She does all the talking

Attention all masochists! Please check out this post at Babble explaining why mothers must break the bad news about sex to their children. Here’s the setup:

On a car trip a couple years ago, my six-year-old son, Eli, asked randomly, between bites of his granola bar, “How do babies get here?” I looked over at my husband, who was quickly turning from red to green in the driver’s seat.

“Well,” I began, “they come from mommies’ bellies. You know, after the seed gets planted?” My fingers were crossed in my lap. Hopefully the lame explanation would work, again. It didn’t.

“No, I mean how does the seed get planted?” he asked, forcing an impromptu hushed-tone conference in the front seat.

“Tell him you can’t tell him, that he’s too young!” my husband hissed, begging, as if for his life. Fear shone in his eyes.

I laughed. “We can’t tell him that we can’t tell him — that’s terrible. He wants to know.” I said, patting his arm.

First off, the only version of “The Conversation” I ever had was with my father. I was thirteen, he gave me a box of unlubricated Trojans (not kidding) and told me, yes, sexually transmitted diseases could happen to me. Prior to that, I learned everything I needed to know about sex by swiping my father’s copy of Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sex (but were afraid to ask). And Skinemax, after all authority figures were asleep.

I mean, really. Is there anyone out there who learned about sex from their mother? Is that possible? I doubt it.

Know what else I doubt? The dialogue in that section. Has the sweet tang of revisionist history to it. I love how the dad is shown as this freaked out prude, totally incapable of communicating with his child (“tell him that I said to tell you to tell him that he’s too young”), while mom (whose name, in case you’re keeping score at home, is “Steph”) just tut-tuts him on the arm, instructs Eli as if she were a 50s PSA (planting a seed?), and goes merrily about destroying her child’s innocence. I’m calling shenanigans on the whole thing.

Of course, because Babble is a “professional” blog (hah!), there has to be a call-to-science-type thing that justifies this ridiculous and unlikely claim (without such stuff, wouldn’t Babble just be a blog of unmerited complaints about parenting? Nah. That’s what we do). Example:

Elizabeth Berger, M.D., a child psychiatrist and author of Raising Kids with Character, says that “talking about things in general is not the strong point of our puritanical culture, but, for Dads especially, there is horrible embarrassment, shame and avoidance talking about any intimate feelings — feelings about sex, grief, hope, really any emotion — with anyone, but especially with their own children.” The result, she says, is that when the tough topics arise, “Mom is always left holding the bag.”

Ah, good old mom with her bag of sex tales. Frankly, I don’t care if Dr. Berger performed cold fusion with a pair of tweezers. Bottom line: most sons (at least) learn about sex from their fathers.

All right, lady readers of Dadwagon. Correct me if I’m wrong. Did Mom break it down for you? Or any of you? Did anyone in the world learn about sex from their mother? The mere idea of it freaks me out.


  1. stonerdad says:

    January 28th, 2010at 5:38 pm(#)

    i learned about sex from my mom. she gave me some kind of boxed five-volume kids encyclopedia of sex when i was five or six — WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION MOM — and, later, a very helpful government pamphlet for pre-teens on the how-tos of masturbation. (we were not living in the united states)

    personally, i can’t wait for “the conversation” — i’ll probably end up doing it a lot like my mom did, chasing me down with those tomes to answer questions i didn’t know I had.

  2. greg from dt says:

    January 28th, 2010at 5:47 pm(#)

    my parents never said a word about it. They gave me the World Book Encyclopedia when I was like 9, and I guess they assumed I’d get to “S” by the time I hit puberty.

  3. Theodore says:

    January 29th, 2010at 11:12 am(#)

    I have to say many of my non-commenting friends have been telling me they heard about sex from their mothers. Weird. My mother wasn’t adverse to talking about sex, but actually sitting me down and explaining it? Please. Doesn’t that only happen in the movies?

  4. Ellen M says:

    January 29th, 2010at 11:24 am(#)

    My guess is that this is one of those new-fangled professional parenting things that have changed since we were children (which is not necessarily bad thing, imo; leaving it up to schools or peers is how you get Bristol Palinized). There’s probably a book that lays it all out — age-appropriate sex ed or something, rather than waiting until the kid is old enough to plausibly need condoms. And since mothers — in my experience — tend to read more of those books, I could see it falling to them more.

  5. Julie says:

    January 31st, 2010at 9:47 pm(#)

    My cousin gave me a lot of wrong info about sex and when I asked my mom questions about it, she gave me the “talk”. I was 7. My dad would have told me i’m sure if necessary, but I think it makes more sense for the parent of your gender to do it. Assuming you are blessed enough to have both.
    That said, every time there was a “very special episode” of some show we were watching, my Dad would use it as an opportunity to make sure I had no questions about sex. Always totally enbarrassed me. I think he enjoyed making me squirm.

  6. Poogles says:

    July 21st, 2010at 12:19 pm(#)

    Well, I can’t remember the conversation because I was so young when my mom told me where babies come from, LOL. She said the first time I asked she just laid it all out! It must have worked ok because I can’t recall ever being confused by baby-making or even what sex entailed. Growing up it was very odd to consider that my peers may be “flying blind” as it were.

    And I never did understand the whole “birds and the bees” thing…


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