He’s only 11. It seems absurd, in a way, to even consider talking to Connor about sex.
Wasn’t he just in diapers last month? Yes.
Isn’t he just in the fifth grade? Yes.
But times change, for better or worse. Connor, like other kids, is bombarded with sexual messages – on TV and the Internet, in music and magazines, basically everywhere he turns.
What do I do? Deny that he’s impacted by the sexualized culture? Deny that he’s thought about sex?
I’d be a fool.
I’m not saying I want to have a discussion about sex with Connor. But I know I must. A recent incident persuaded me that the time is drawing near.
Connor and I were watching a true-crime show last week, and one case involved the murder of several prostitutes.
“What’s a prostitute?” Connor asked.
I let his question hang in the air for a moment. I really didn’t want to answer it, so I stalled.
“Do you really want to know?” I asked him.
“Yes,” Connor replied.
Oh, I couldn’t dodge this one.
“A prostitute,” I said, “is a woman who will have sex with you for money.”
“Oh!” Connor said, blushing a little. “I get it.”
In hindsight, I had the perfect opportunity to initiate our first sex talk. But I was caught off guard and didn’t step up.
A couple of days later, I saw an article on sex education in schools that drove home the message even more to me. It was written by a divorce lawyer who argued that boys need a stern message about the implications of an unplanned pregnancy.
“If we want to make better men, we need to arm them with the reality of the consequences of their actions,” said the writer, David Pisarra. “Not the fairytale ending of living happily ever after, but the more likely scenario of being a co-parent with someone that you barely know and don’t have much in common with.”
Talk about a wake-up call. As a dad, I need to do everything I can to prevent this frightening scenario. And I need to start now.
My first sex talk with Connor doesn’t have to cover all the bases. It couldn’t. But I want to introduce the subject of sex early and blunt some of the inevitable awkwardness.
It’s unrealistic and cowardly for dads to have a single sex talk with their son. Instead, we should have an ongoing discussion for years – until he leaves the house. Sex is too important a topic to downplay because we fear embarrassment.
Think about it. Do you want your son to get a girl pregnant? Of course not. Do you want your son to have unanswered questions and hang-ups about sex because you didn’t talk to him? Of course not.
Then start talking about sex. His wellbeing in this critical area depends largely on you.
Still want to avoid the subject?
You probably don’t want to talk to your son about sex. But if you’re going to be a good parent, you must. Don’t put off the talks. It will be easier for you and your son if you start them sooner, rather than later.