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Talking About Sex With My Daughter

That same school year when my daughter informed all the kids on the playground that I was a porn star, I came home from work and found her looking through the B volume of the encyclopedia. Yes, this was before Wikipedia.

parenting tips, sex education, talking about sex, children, questions about sex, midlife, midlife women,

She flipped the pages with a very intense look on her face.

“What are you looking up?” I asked, happy that she had resorted to actual research before asking for my help.

“Oh, nothing,” she said.

“It has to be something.” I tried to peak at the book, but she moved it from my line of vision. “Or you wouldn’t be reading that book.”

“I’m looking up something about Buster, okay?”

Buster was our love bird who sat in the corner of the living room. Most of the time he chirped up a storm. Today, he did look a bit off, and unusually quiet.

“What are finding out?” I asked.

She shrugged. And kept turning the pages. A few minutes later, totally exasperated, she tossed the book down and looked up at me.

There was a question sitting on her face. An important one.


The way she said my name confirmed my suspicions. Her question had nothing to do with actual birds. But more to do with the birds and bees.

“The kids at school were talking about something called a blow job,” she said. “The boys keep sticking things in their mouths and laughing. They said it’s something that wives do to keep their husband’s happy. Do you know what they meant?”

Did I ever! But we’d already had misunderstandings when it came to my place of employment, so I sat down next to her and began the first of many “talks.”

“Well, first off,” I said. “You won’t find it under B.”

Being one for calling body parts and sexual functions by their proper names, I told her the act the boys referred to was called fellatio. And as tactfully and simply as possible, I explained what that meant.

“Eeew.” She covered her mouth. I could tell it was a difficult image to swallow. (She didn’t know the half of it.)

She absorbed as much as she wanted. I quit explaining when I realized her attention had waned from the subject.

Which is how I feel parents should approach the topic of sex. Answer your child’s questions. Simply and honestly. Don’t give more information than they want or can handle. Believe me, there will be plenty of these discussions as the years go by.

Satisfied with her new knowledge, she walked over to Buster.

“But I do want to know why he’s so sad,” she said.

“Well, he’s a love bird,” I explained. “He really needs a mate.”

As I walked away I heard her tell Buster not to worry. He would be happy every day, because soon we would be getting him a wife.

Right then I knew we needed another talk.

Read more from Janie Emaus on her website

Janie Emaus

Janie Emaus is the author of the time travel romance, Before the After, and the young adult novel, Mercury in Retro Love. She has an essay in the Best Selling humor anthology, You Have Lipstick On Your Teeth. She is a staff writer at In The Powder Room. She is proud to be named a 2013 BlogHer Voice of the Year . Janie believes that when the world is falling apart, we're just one laugh away from putting it together again. To learn more about Janie visit her blog and her website Janie Emaus. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter @Janie5010.

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Walker Thornton

Wednesday 12th of February 2014

Yep, I've always held to that idea as well-answer the question specifically but without going into too much detail. They usually seek less information than we think they need. I think it's going to be a challenge,for me, as a grandmother since I'm more open than my daughter is (the understatement of the century).

Janie Emaus

Thursday 13th of February 2014

It will be challenging. You'll to share your experiences with us.

Anne Parris

Tuesday 11th of February 2014

Too funny! My mom was a very technical explainer. At the time it mortified me, but now I appreciate the good info.

Janie Emaus

Thursday 13th of February 2014

Good for your mom. Better to know the real facts, than to imagine things.

Helene Cohen Bludman

Tuesday 11th of February 2014

LOL!! Love this post, Janie. Hilarious.

Janie Emaus

Thursday 13th of February 2014

Thanks, Helene. It was even funnier when it happened!

Claudia Schmidt

Tuesday 11th of February 2014

Hahahaha! Love this. Out of the mouths of babes. I had to have that conversation with my 9 year old son, who had been playing basketball with the teenager boys next door. They were apparently talking about blowjobs and he was completely confused and asked me what it meant. I was flabbergasted - certainly didn't expect to be answering those types of questions at age 9 but handled it the way you did, very matter of factly. He also said "Ewww" and asked if we could talk about baseball instead. I happily obliged.

Janie Emaus

Tuesday 11th of February 2014

Yeah. Kids can only handle so much information. They sort of set the tone themselves.

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