Wednesday, November 10, 2010

cultural differences in talking about sex

From the looks of it, the European method has better results in terms of teens using birth control and feeling better about themselves.

With a two-year-old, we are pretty far away from worrying about his first sexual experience. But the dialogue, the tone and the sense of secrecy or lack thereof starts from the very beginning. A lot of books are coming into our house now about becoming a sibling, which is related to babies, which is related to where babies come from. River has yet to ask any pointed questions about where the baby in mom’s stomach comes from. And since only one of the books we have on this topic is in Spanish, Mark is one doing most of the reading on this subject.

“Some of them are too graphic,” he complained. “River doesn’t need that. I prefer the ones that focus on what it’s like to become a big brother. He’s interested in that.”

I think Mark is skipping over, or leaving out, any possible discussion of origins. I think I’d be more likely to read them to River, to do so in a matter-of-fact way, while he’s too young to associate sex with shame and just let him take it in among the other facts of life – nothing special or out of the ordinary.

How do you handle discussions about sex with your young or not-so-young ones? When do you start the dialogue, or do you wait for your child to initiate it?

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