There’s no evidence of my mom or dad ever sitting me down for “the talk.”
Any knowledge of female anatomy I gained during my formative years was acquired from unseemly sources: a flickering screen in the dark of night in the basement, glossy rags stashed beneath off-season clothing, and crude classmates in the hallways of my private, all-boys high school.
If you were to develop a sex ed plan, mine would be close to the opposite of ideal.
My lack of understanding about girls, and about my own body too, was painfully obvious during my high school years … and in the years that followed. Frankly, and this is only partially a joke, I’m still not 100 percent sure I understand how everything works down, and inside of, there, there and there.
Despite a less than perfect childhood human biology lesson plan and sex talk curriculum, I was determined to approach my life as a dad of two daughters without even the slightest tinge of discomfort, fear or awkwardness about the subject matter. This determination was fueled in large part to the societal bent toward freaking the F out over:
- having daughters grow up in general, and
- young girls exploring their own sexuality.
Pardon my pun, but screw all of that.
Instead, I would, in partnership with my wife, work to normalize — not demonize — sex, the human body, gender identity and intimate relationships. For the most part, I’ve done exactly that, even though I unfortunately wasn’t a part of the initial sex talk with my oldest child.
Thankfully, there isn’t a singular “talk” but rather a series of open-ended, fluid conversations about sex and sexuality had over many years. I missed the first one (I was away and it came up suddenly back at home), but I’ll never again NOT be there if my daughters need me to listen, advise, or simply hold them tight.
First and foremost, they know — and I continue to remind them — that I’m always available and that no subject is off-limits, awkward or taboo. I will not recoil, cover my ears or run away from their curiosity, questions or real-life experiences. Doing so will not serve them well nor will it help me in the long term.
Additionally, my girls will know that they have a right to expect sexual reciprocation, and that sex should be pleasurable. I’ll encourage them to be safe but let them know it is OK, necessary even, to explore what feels right and good and fun for them and their partner(s).
(Because I didn’t understand the human body and because my first girlfriend probably wasn’t given a gender-balanced “talk” either, I don’t think I ever once pleased her, at least not to climax. In fact, I’m certain I did not. And she never told me that I should be taking care of her. G-Spot? Clitoris? I had no idea.)
Of course, I’m in no rush for my daughters to become sexually active. But burying my head in the cushions of our couch is not going to stop them from falling in love and acting on the emotions that will someday be stirred inside them both. The same is true in reverse: having an open dialogue about sex, love, relationships, and the symmetry of those things, will not push them to become sexually active ahead of schedule.
Luckily, there are resources like AMAZE, a collaboration between national sex education experts Advocates for Youth, Answer and Youth Tech Health, that helps kids and adults get less weird, and more educated, about sex and sexuality through fun, approachable videos.
I wasn’t a perfect lover and I’m not a perfect dad, but I know now that it’s not all about me. I know that “the talk” evolves over time, never truly stops, and that I always want to be a part of it — for my own good and for my daughters’.
Disclosure: Thanks to AMAZE for including us in this sponsored campaign. For more information on the company and content related to sex ed, health and more, you can find them at: