Let’s Talk About Sex

I didn’t plan on having “the talk” with our daughter, Bella, quite yet. She’s only 9 ½. But, a few weeks ago when we were at grandma’s house, she showed me the books she had been looking at—Where Did I come From?, by Peter Mayle and The Girls Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing up YOU, by Kelli Dunham. She was curious and a little embarrassed, but she wanted to bring one of the books home.

Hmm.

Is it already time to talk about this?

It’s all over the news that puberty is starting at a younger age than ever before. Bella’s body is starting to change and she’s genetically predisposed to get her period at a younger age than most girls do. My mom started her period when she was ten, and I wasn’t much older than that when I got mine.

My mom says she talked to me about menstrual cycles well before I had my first period, but I don’t remember it that way. The day I got my first period, I remember running to the bathroom in tears thinking I was dying because I had no idea what was happening to me. Thankfully, one of my friends told me what was really going on.

I didn’t want my daughter to go through that. It was time to talk to Bella about getting her period. I told her that it is completely normal and natural—it happens to every girl. She seemed interested and calm.

She started asking questions…

What are ovaries?

Why does your body do that once a month?

What are the eggs for?

What if the eggs don’t leave your body?

How does that happen?

What do you mean?

And then one thing led to another…

How do you make a baby? How do the egg and sperm get together?

Hmm. I paused wondering how far to go with this conversation. She seemed mentally and emotionally ready to talk so I told her the truth matter-of-factly.

Her eyes widened, and she said, “Oh”.

She didn’t seem traumatized at all. In fact, she started asking more questions that kind of made me want to giggle.

How old do you need to be to have kids?

How old are people when they get married?

When do people start dating?

It all felt so right that I have no regrets about the way our conversation went. I don’t think this is one of those things where I can say to myself, “Okay. Glad that’s over—now we don’t need to talk about that again.”

This will be an ongoing age-appropriate conversation that natural progresses to sharing more information about body development and relationships. I want to keep the door of communication wide open so that she feels comfortable talking with me about this. I plan to talk about this repeatedly because she may forget part of what I said, it’s important information to know, it’s a natural part of life, and there is no better place for children to learn about sexuality than from their parents.

I’m just glad I don’t have to talk to her about dating any time soon! :)

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Terry-Jo Norman
    May 18, 2011 @ 08:59:27

    Oh boy….it seems like I just went through this conversation with my 11 year old. Matthew is 9 and hasn’t asked any questions, but I’m sure he’s not far behind.
    Speaking of making you giggle, when I attended the class (boys) discussion at school, one of the ‘anonymous’ questions was, “If you want 2 kids, do you have to have sex twice?”

    Reply

    • Liz
      May 19, 2011 @ 10:41:00

      Hi Terry-Jo,

      Don’t worry–Bella is pretty quiet, so she won’t be telling the whole class what she learned! :)

      Funny anonymous question! My youngest asked my husband why he is growing sticks on his face last year (facial hair). Ha Ha!

      Reply

  2. josephinetalepeddler
    May 18, 2011 @ 17:12:56

    That comment above is so cute! I think when they are ready it’s better it comes from home than the schoolyard. My daughter’s only six and she very loudly asked a pregnant lady in a crowded doctor’s waiting room how she got pregnant. I have a very cute book at home with duck and kittens and babies and it explains about the eggs and sperm in a six-year old sort of way so we read that together and I just went from her questions. She was far more interested in the kittens and puppies so we just left it there. And the whole early puberty thing is very worrying considering the girls may not be maturing emotionally to keep up with the physical changes. xx

    Reply

    • Liz
      May 19, 2011 @ 10:53:47

      Hi josephinetalepeddler,

      Good point–I have the same concern about kids not emotionally keeping up with their bodies changes. I’m going to ask our pediatrician about that.

      Reply

  3. Sheri Ervine Smith
    May 22, 2011 @ 08:31:40

    Your blog could not have come at a more appropriate time for me. My daughter is almost 11 and has never asked me one thing about sex or anything else.

    My 13-year old son, on the other hand, was asking very pointed questions at age 8. I bought a great book and sat down with him. It took a couple of evenings to go through the book and answer all of his questions. This has opened up our lines of communication in a way that I never thought possible between a mother and son. He tells me everything, and I am quite certain that I will be the first to know about his first time.

    As for my daughter, I am not sure it will be so simple. She brought home a permission slip to watch a film on menstruation. I thought this would be a great time to dust off that book and sit down with her. She wasn’t having any of it. She was too embarassed to even talk to me about what she thinks she knows. She was supposed to have watched the film on Friday, but she hasn’t said one word to me about it. Her step-siblings are here for the weekend, so I will try to talk to her again once they have gone home. Wish me luck!

    Reply

  4. Forbidden Fruit
    May 23, 2011 @ 06:09:05

    “there is no better place for children to learn about sexuality than from their parents.” Completely agree with you on this! My mom had informed me at the right time. I was in another city when I got mine at 11 but I handled it smoothly!

    Reply

  5. julie
    Jun 25, 2011 @ 13:40:32

    You need to loan us those books!

    Reply

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