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The birds, the bees and uhm, ‘other stuff’

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Show of hands- how many of you included a discussion about oral sex in the ‘sex talk’ with your pre-teens?

Hmm? Not too many of you I’m guessing. Now I’m no expert on child psychology or ‘the talk’. But let me share with you a little frank discussion I had recently with Emma. And she caught me off guard. We were driving in the car, so I needed to answer these completely sober. No cocktails were involved. No liquid courage to help. Deep breath. We’re going in.

Okay, the other night, Emma and I had some time just to ourselves. Lately we’ve been getting these afternoons or an evening together because the boys are entrenched in select soccer try-outs and spring tournaments. So they get to do their thing, and we do our thing.

Emma asks as we’re driving home from dinner, ‘Mom, was dad the only person you had sex with?’ Cue breaks screeching sound. Uhm, whoa there chica. I didn’t know we were having THIS conversation right now!

Me, “Uhm, yes.” There was a hint of doubt in my voice she detected. (Mom you can stop reading right here. Thanks- love you!)

Emma, “Mom, be honest now.”

Me, “Well, yes and no. Had I been intimate with some fellas before your dad? – yes. I was 23 when I met your father and I had some time to make out with other guys in college (not many, mind you) before I met daddy and so I had some experience with uhm, that stuff.” AWKWARD!

Emma, “Have you ever touched a pee pee with your mouth?” Her words, not mine!

Me, “Geeze kid! What are you doing with me here?!”

You could tell it was taking a lot of courage on her part. So I kept my cool. I could see she had some things going on in her mind, and I didn’t want to ruin this moment of her opening up to me. I also didn’t want to talk about blow jobs with my 13 year old!

I literally pulled the car over into a neighborhood and put it in park. I realized this conversation needed some attention and I wanted to make the most out of it.

So this is what I told her.  Feel free to take notes because afterwards, I felt like I totally nailed this. Really, parenting win moment coming up in 3, 2, 1…

“A lot of kids in middle school and high school are probably experimenting with oral sex. Guys might tell girls that blow jobs are harmless, don’t count as sex and also, you can’t get pregnant so it’s a win-win, right? No. Oral sex is just as intimate, it counts for sex and it means a whole lot more than you think it means. You can still get an STD from it and it is a big deal.”

Emma, “Isn’t it weird? Who wants a penis in their face?”

This is the right answer coming from a 13 year old!! Yes, who wants a penis in their face anyway? (silent prayer to myself, please help me Jesus that this child will not see a penis until she’s 30!)

I immediately thought of the scene in the movie Bridesmaids when Annie and Lillian are having brunch and Annie (Kristen Wiig) is confessing of her sleepover with her ex and reenacting a penis or a one-eyed snake using her facial expressions.

Me, “What you need to understand is that there will come a time when you’re kissing a boy and he’ll want to go further than just kissing. You will probably too.”

Emma, “That’s gross, I don’t want to do any of that!”

Me, “Now, right. If you think penises are gross, you have no business being near one. This clearly shows you are not mature to handle the situation.  However,  maybe when you’re 15 or 16 you will want to. Not that that’s an okay age either to have sex. You are going to think it feels good to be with a boy and you will be just as interested in having him touch you as he wants to touch you. Sex is a nice thing. It’s awesome. When you’re an adult and responsible and with someone you can trust. Whether those grown ups have intercourse like regular procreating mammals (cue laughter from Girl right here) or decide they want to enjoy each others’ bodies with their hands, OR mouths- is up to them. (Cue grossed out noises from Girl right here.) Let me stress- adults- not teenagers.  Feeling in love, loving someone and enjoying them is a perfectly wonderful thing. Just not when you’re 14.”

Emma didn’t believe me when I told her this. The part about her wanting to be with a boy. And that is understandable considering her age now. She’s convinced she’s not making out with a boy until she’s married to him. I explained that it’s unrealistic to think that. If she doesn’t want to kiss a boy or be with someone until her 20s or 30s, then great. But if she realizes that she’s kissing a boy and she’s 15 and she’d like to see how far it will go, then that’s when she needs to stop and think.

I want her to know that she needs to value herself. No boy is worth compromising for. Don’t do something with a guy because you’re afraid if you don’t that he won’t like you anymore. If you do end up doing anything you don’t want to, you’ll end up not liking yourself. And that’s more dangerous than any boy’s acceptance or rejection. Love yourself more than any other boy out there could ever say he loves or likes you.

But, if she’s the girl who wants the boy to do stuff with her and that boy doesn’t want to, she needs to respect him too. Boundaries are important for both sides. If she feels the little sparks of desire start to flicker, she needs to come to me and we can talk about what’s an appropriate solution with handling that until she’s 18 or 19 and on her own. Well, she already knows all about condoms and birth control. But what I want her to understand is that when urges come on strong, she can figure out what to do to not give in. I’m thinking jogging, shopping, macrame? Just kidding.

So there. I hope this helps you. Because heavens knows I got a few extra gray hairs from it and probably lost a few beats of my heart when it skipped.

Am I glad she asked me this? Hell yes. I’m so grateful to be talking with my teenager. That she comes to me with questions. I’m full to the brim with gratitude that she trusts me. I will cultivate this as long as possible. Even if it’s uncomfortable for me, it’s worth it.


For some references on talking to your kids about sex, check out Amy Langs blog, The Birds + Bees + Kids Blog.


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  1. I’ll be dropping my girls off to you around 7:00 tonight for you to give them this same speech word for word, mkay?
    Thanks so much!!! Brave woman. Great advice though!!!

  2. Oh God. Oh God. Hyperventilating over here. I really hope this is many, many YEARS away for me. But good job, mama!!!

  3. My knees are weak. I am so not ready for this talk. Thanks for blazing the way.

  4. Way to go mama! You hit it outta the park. Well done.

  5. So glad my Emma isn’t even 4 years old yet, because reading this I was breaking out in a cold sweat!! Seriously though. You handled this quite perfectly and can only hope some day to do half as well!!

  6. It sounds like you did a wonderful job! If kids are coming to you with questions, it’s definitely right to give them age appropriate answers, and you did just that! The sex talk isn’t anyone’s favourite thing to do, but when I work with kids I like to seize that teachable moment when watching a movie or hearing a song that may have a “sexy” moment. You did just right here and that’s something to be so proud of!

  7. Awesome job, mama! And the big lesson here is to talk to them about this BEFORE they bring it up. They should know what it is and your values about oral sex before middle school. She didn’t come up with this topic all on her own, her people have been talking. You rocked it.

  8. mamatone says:

    OH MY GAWD!!!!! My daughter is 12 and they are doing the “sex class” right now in school so MY time is coming!!! As always, GREAT advice. Thanks!

  9. Holy crap-o-lee. You are so awesome I have tears in my eyes. I always wonder what I’m going to say to my kids (b-7yo, g-3yo) when the time comes, mainly because I was kind of a slut in high school, a little bit better in college. I definitely did NOT love myself.

  10. sandy tabick says:

    Well done Love, very well done…..May it be only the first of so many conversations with good words shared, bless you…..

  11. ROCK STAR response. I overheard some HS girls saying they didn’t want to kiss a boy so they just went the oral sex route. My jaw fell to the floor. I guess it was all in the sale and BLECH. I wanted to pull them aside and tell them to lvoe themselves more than that. High five for keeping the communication open.

  12. You. Are. A. Rock. Star. That is all. Ellen

  13. Karen Alpert says:

    Okay, you know what impresses me most about this? That she came to you about this! That speaks wonders about your parenting skills. So impressive!

  14. Kathy at kissing the frog says:

    Love you, Frugie! I only hope I can be half as honest with my boys as you were with your daughter.

  15. Ohmygohmygodohmygod! Cringing while I read this… Noticed how you artfully dodged the direct question of personal penis in the face? :). Good convo w/ Emma- proud of you! Dreading when my time comes w/ the girls!

  16. This.is.awesome. Because even though my baby girl is only 4.5 months, I’m STILL nervous about these conversations. Gah…

  17. Michelle says:

    My daughter just turned 13 and she’s starting to ask questions, too. They ALWAYS occur in the car. I think it feels safe because there isn’t any eye contact. So far her questions have been what I would deem “typical” for her age. She was totally disgusted when she saw a classmate from elementary french kissing a boy. “Mama, he had his hands on her butt and ewwwwwww……. their tongues were touching.”. I like the little bit of info at a time and believe, at this age, in only answering what is actually asked. It is definitely NOT the easy part of parenting, but some of the most important. I learned what I know via personal experience as my mom didn’t talk to me about much. Don’t want my girls learning the same way….the stakes are too high!

  18. I can’t imagine having this convo – and I should be able to, my oldest is 9 – but I don’t think I could do it this well. I might just have to print this out and read from it.

  19. You’re a good Mama!! My daughter turns two today and I’ll take her whipping her shoes at the back of my head while I drive over this convo any day!!

  20. Great job, mom! I can’t imagine the shock of the moment your kid starts asking questions like that. I’m impressed with how comfortable she was to as what she did. I’m 41 and my mother is 80ish and I still would never mention oral sex in front of her. She’d keel over. Great job not keeling over, girl!

  21. Totally agree – you nailed it! I love to hear that kids from this generation don’t want to be involved in dating and sex. I know some kids younger that claim to have already “done it.”

    It will always be an awkward conversation at first, but once you talk and get comfortable, then your children will be more comfortable to talk and come to you for answers before making a big decision on their own. I think you deserve a glass of wine and a shopping spree for this one! Good job mama.

  22. What solid advice! My son is 14 and is pretty open with me too but I won’t lie – it’s a little weird talking to a boy about such things. But I want him to be a boundary respecting kind of guy so I do my very best to ensure that happens. Kudos to you for being so honest and dropping that knowledge on us!

  23. Wow, you aced that one. A+ for you.
    My daughter is 19 now, so I’m well past that stage. Luckily, the subject of oral sex never came up. Thank God, because I probably would’ve answered “go ask your Dad”. I’m that lame…

  24. You get the Nobel Prize for parenting. And possibly a motherhood medal of honor for grace under pressure. Spot on with everything here. Good for you for a sex positive message that doesn’t shame for premarital pleasure/exploration and also hits the Respect The Boundaries on both sides. I just did the Where Babies Come From talk with my 7 yr old — in under 5 minutes ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL.
    (Read if you like, here: http://www.norinedworkin.com/blog/2013/06/the-facts-of-life-in-5-minutes-or-less/)
    But I’m bookmarking this for our preteen talk about sex. Frugie did a great job. You’re my idol!

  25. BAM! TOTTTTTALLY nailed it. I can’t believe you pulled that off without any time to prepare for it, but I thank you, and I’m sure a lot of other do too. I’ll totally be quoting you when I talk to my 13 year old about this!

  26. I think another topic, perhaps a bit further down the road, is the concept of each person being responsible for meeting their own sexual needs, and expanding that, by permission only, on a moment to moment basis, hopefully at a much older age. I think it’s part of self-love to be responsible in this way, and even helps with a lasting marriage, because we will all go through times when we are too tired, or too pregnant, or too sick, and just need to know that it’s being “handled” without creating any undue stress on the relationship. If we teach both boys and girls this responsibility, then that pretty much answers many of the boundary issues that may come up later.

  27. Salute you for that ! It’s kinda awkward sharing this stuff to your child.. but good thing is that she’s a teenager. This is what we called SEX EDUCATION. Nowadays, teenagers should be guided by parents to avoid unwanted pregnancy. You’re a tough mom for sharing that topic to your daughter.


  1. […] 15, 2013… Mmm-hmmm.  Awkward.  This week’s Weird Wednesday post comes is courtesy Frugalistablog.com.  Here is a conversation she had with her teenager.  You can read the original by clicking on her […]