I’ve been teaching for long enough now to know that sex is a really uncomfortable subject in schools. It is NOT to be discussed, especially because parents get to choose if their children should learn about reproduction and what aspects of it. Really? You can cherry pick human reproduction? In my mind it’s not that complicated, but… whatever.
While I don’t love nature, or even really like it, I do think we must be WAY too disconnected from nature if we can actually put off having to discuss or address reproduction with kids (or Bob Barker did an AMAZING job with his spay or neuter your pets campaign). When I was a kid, you’d hear a cat in heat, and we all knew what that yowling meant. Hell, we tried to keep our animals in when they were in heat. Yes, we were the contraception Nazis, save that we were going for abstinence. Imagine our surprise when six months later the drawer was filled with tiny, mewing kittens and a load of unwearable clothes. Apparently just say no is not a viable option in the animal kingdom.
Therefore, the whole movement of we’ll wait until the kid is going off to college, having sex, and probably has had a couple of STDs and pregnancy scares before we consider addressing this with him or her just smacks as incredibly stupid. Look, I’m clear that I have no religious ties to sexuality. However, I do have moral ones as well as ethical ones. If you don’t want your child hurt or damaged or living a life that could have been avoided, then you need to do the right thing. You need to talk to your child not only about sexual reproduction, but about human sexuality.
Truthfully, at my advanced age, I have really not met that many people who were virgins when they got married. In fact, I know a great many people for whom baby came first, then marriage. Sometimes not even marriage. We need to get past the judgement of that, because it’s really NO BIG DEAL. What is a big deal, though, is when those people hide the truth of their lives for “moral” reasons or to force their children into other paths. Revised history hurts. Don’t do it.
Here’s what you need to do with your children. Talk to them a lot starting when they start talking. Show them loving and respectful relationships. If there aren’t any, point out that these relationships aren’t healthy. Let your child know what you want for them when they grow up. Be honest about who you are and your mistakes. Lying is never in fashion. Explain what you are prepared to do to help them as they age, including making sure they continue to see a doctor and have access to health benefits. Don’t punish your child for doing something dumb. You were once young, right? You didn’t do dumb things? I ask because I’ve made so many mistakes. I can help someone avoid the pitfalls. Don’t send your child out blind.
Finally, show them a picture of me and expose them to my writing. Then let them read this: I am not the prettiest woman in a room, the thinnest, or the best shaped. I am not the kindest, the smartest, or the most loving. I am flawed. Yet, I know that my husband is not the first or the only person to have loved me. He is, however, the best person who has loved me. I am lovable despite the fact that I have wrinkles, a wiggly wide butt, and speak sarcasm fluently. If your romantic partner doesn’t love you and treat you as well as your best friend, you need a new romantic interest. If someone needs you to change to be good enough, kick that person to the curb. You will NEVER be good enough. Trust me. You are worthy of love, devotion, care, and friendship. Hold out for it. Find out who you are as a person first, before becoming part of a couple. You’ll be glad you did.
Then makes sure that you explain about eggs and sperm. That’s pretty freaking important too.