Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Sex Ed 101

The kid is at the end of 5th grade and will be going off to middle school next year. As part of "transitioning" he is getting 5 hours of HIV/AIDS education at school. So far I am not impressed with the quality, but being that I am hugely progressive on the issue of comprehensive sex education I doubt that any school program could include the kind of information I want my child to have.

I have a kind of no-censor policy when it comes to talking about sex with the kid. This doesn't mean he gets graphic descriptions of my sex life, but that instead of doing that "shh, kids in the room" when non-personal discussions of sex come up I let them continue knowing that the kid is listening. I know that no matter how open I am about it, kids (particularly mine) are embarrassed about discussing this stuff with a parent. So I figure he'll learn some stuff through osmosis of adult conversations and then I answer his questions honestly when he has them.

The easy part of the sex ed discussions is the biology. How are babies made, what changes is your body going to go through, what are std's (after watching a commercial about HPV the other day I had to explain to the kid about the government withholding the HPV vaccine because they would rather see women die than have sex). But what is going to be more difficult is explaining the emotional and pleasurable aspects of sex.

I know one thing. When it becomes appropriate I am getting him this book. It's a great how-to (and we all know that teenage boys, while having lots of enthusiasm, don't often have a lot of skill).

But what about the emotional part? It would be hypocritical of me to tell him that he should only have sex when he's in love (I don't). But I don't want him to discount the vulnerability of being naked in front of another person either. I'm gonna have to think carefully about how to present it to him so that he knows that sex is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed by but is also not to be treated lightly.

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