Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Sex Talk

"Mom, what's a boner?"  Desmond asked.
"It's when your penis gets erect."  As soon as the words left my lips, I felt my mind chase after them.  But it was too late.  My practical explanation had already reached his eleven year old brain.  My son looked horrified.
"That's revolting," he decided.
"Nah.  It's just part of growing up.  Where'd you hear that word, anyway?"
"On How I Met Your Mother," he said.

The next question involved big cox.  Believe me, I was just as surprised as you are. Unfortunately, I must blame myself.  Desmond received several Stephen King novels for Christmas, The Talisman being one of them.  He was beyond thrilled. Stephen King is his teacher's favorite author.  God bless him, the child is a voracious reader.  As responsible parents, I scanned the book jacket and Dave read the on-line reviews.  Everything seemed to be on the up and up. 

Twelve-year-old Jack Sawyer embarks on an epic quest - a walk from the seacoast of New Hampshire to the California shoreline - to find the Talisman, the only thing that can save his dying mother.  But to reach his goal, Jack must make his way across the breadth of the United States as well as the menacing and medieval parallel universe of the Territories. 

Hmm.  Sounds okay.  Go right ahead, kid.  Knock yourself out.

Desmond tore into the story with gusto.  A few hundred pages later, however, Jack encounters some miscreants from Reverend Gardiner's Home for Wayward Boys. It is common knowledge that youthful deviants are notorious for their flagrant use of sassy language.  It's how they get attention.  Remember, the poor things are wayward.

One evening last week, I was innocently preparing the dinner.  While shoveling tater tots onto a plate, the big cox inquiry came at me from out of nowhere, like a runaway train filled with juvenile delinquents.

"Who said this to you?" I asked.
"It's in my book!" Desmond shot back.  He pointed to the page, clearly uncomfortable.
"Let me see that."  I briskly inspected the salacious material in question.
"Well, what does it mean?"  At this point, both kids were all ears.  
"It has to do with sex," I explained without explaining.  Neither boy blinked. "And intimacy between two partners," I continued.  "Do you need additional information at this juncture?"
"No, I'm good," said Des.
"That's just gross!" Bro wailed.

It has recently come to Desmond Henry's attention that this kind of fresh talk is being bandied about at the very back of the school bus.  In what context, I cannot imagine.  It seems to me that when you're in the fifth grade, cox is the kind of word that might drop from the sky and land on you like a grand piano.  It's a tough one to incorporate into mainstream conversation.  Unless of course, you are a recalcitrant youth.  Or you have Tourette's.

"Who's the one shooting his mouth off like a filthy animal?" I asked so loudly that some might suggest I was hollering.  "There are little girls on that bus!  I promise you, if I ever catch wind of you saying nasty things like that with young ladies present, you'll be licking the pavement along Cotton Press Road.  Do you understand me?"

At that moment, it might have appeared that I was angry with my children.  I attempted to reassure them that I was not.  And through clenched teeth, I'm pretty sure I said something about loving them both.

"Fellas, gentlemen do not speak that way.  It is disrespectful to women and dudes."  That's the best I could offer without losing my cool.  "Now, who said it?"
"I don't want to get anyone in trouble," Desmond mumbled forlornly.
"It was Brian," said Bro.

The next morning at breakfast, I suppose Rory wanted to make certain I understood there was nothing to worry about.
"If I hear guys saying bad things in the schoolyard, I'm just gonna run around and run around until they stop talking."
"That's a good idea, Brother."

Desmond's turn again.
"Mom, what does it mean when somebody does this?"  My eyeballs rolled up into the back of my head as I watched my darling son make an "okay" sign with one hand and insert his index finger into the opening.
"Good Jesus, honey.  It means sex."
"Oh, God!" he cried out, covering his face.


We've had quite a week.  We seem to be going through somewhat of a learning curve.  I am grateful that these guys feel comfortable coming to me with their questions.  I hope their unselfconsciousness continues long enough for me to figure out a way to react without looking so shocked.  I understand that curious young men require information.  It just seems early, that's all.

I will continue to address all concerns on a 'need to know' basis, to the best of my ability.  I'm reluctant to offer too many sensational details at this stage of the game.  It's hard to have a discussion about the Facts of Life with boys who are still fighting over gummy bears.

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