I consider myself lucky. When I was three my mom had just become pregnant with my little sister, and I, like any toddler, was fascinated with how a little sister was growing in what looked like my mommy’s tummy. So I asked – and she answered, whipping out her vintage copy of "Our Bodies Ourselves" and all.
Over the years, we kept having versions of this conversation, whether it was me asking what a term I’d heard on TV meant (the "blow job" conversation was epic) or asking about different forms of birth control. That doesn’t mean I always felt comfortable telling my mom everything, but it did mean that I knew the facts, and knew where to go if I needed answers from somewhere other than mom.
Other friends however were not so lucky. I remember arguing with my best friend in second grade that there was no logistical way a baby could actually come out of a belly button. I had friends who were handed books with little to no explanation, friends who thought that babies came from kissing and one co-worker whose mom simply told her to keep her legs shut. As a result, I personally may have been responsible for more than one of my friends finding out about the real facts of just how babies are made.
That’s why this video of Planned Parenthood’s Haydee Morales and her daughter talking about sex makes me smile. Haydee is the Vice President of Education at Planned Parenthood of New York City, and Haydee’s daughter is 11. Their conversation is touching, and proof that yes, parents can have a good, open conversation about sex with their kids. And sometimes it’s that conversation that makes a world of difference.
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I know now that my experience with my mom was unique, and that growing up with parents who were part of the feminist or ‘free love’ movements didn’t necessarily mean that my peers got the same kind of open, honest conversation that I did. But I’m still curious about everyone else. Could you talk to your parents about sex? Are they the ones who told you the facts, or did you find out from friends/peers/older siblings? And how much of what you thought you "knew" ended up being myths?