How NOT To Talk To Your Child About Sex

By Rachael Pavlik

The inevitable has happened.

Late last night, our child walked in on us… you know, in flagrante delicto. We weren’t sure how long she had been standing next to our bed in the darkness before she squeaked, “I can’t sleep…”

We froze in place. Several excruciating seconds went by before she added, “And yes, I can see you.”

Alrighty then.

We (very self-consciously) uncoupled and covered up as she climbed into bed between us. In less than three minutes, she was snoring. We, on the other hand, were not snoring; at least I wasn’t. I stared at the ceiling and cringed for the next six hours.

In the morning we decided to address the situation with her, together, in a mature and calm manner. We sat down across from her on the sofa, smiling and holding hands as she flipped through morning cartoons.

“Good morning, boo. We wanted to talk to you about, um, last night,” I stammered.

“You might have seen something that confused you, so your father and I wanted to know if you had any questions?”

“No.” “Are there any more cereal bars?” she responded.

Her eyes never left the television, but we remained steadfast. This was a teaching moment, dammit.

I pressed on. “Sometimes, mommies and daddies like to have grown up alone time. In bed.”

“Sometimes other places,” my helpful spouse remarked, before I cut him the hell off.

“We love each other very much, and sometimes we show that love by lying on top of each other, sometimes naked. It’s totally normal and nothing to be embarrassed about.”

“It’s how adult people love each other, in a special, private way.

It’s very special, not something we do all the time, ” I blathered.

“Yeah. Definitely not all the time. It’s a special, rare occurrence, like an eclipse, and if you look directly at it, it will burn your retinas,” he added.

So helpful.

“Remember that book we gave you? About how babies are made?” I asked. “We were not making a baby…”

“Gawd, no,” he assured our still silent daughter.

“Hahaha oh, no,” I said as my husband and I looked at each other, still laughing.

I awkwardly continued, “Can you imagine? A newborn. Ugh. Nooo thank you. Ahem, but the part in the book, before the baby

sometimes we do the stuff in the book, just because we love each other and being together… it feels good and is totally normal, just like it says in the book.”

“When mommies and daddies really really love each other, they go off the books. I seriously doubt “reverse cowgirl” was in that book, amiright?” my husband so thoughtfully contributed.

“Sometimes, Daddy watches too many movies,” I quipped.

“Yeah, sometimes Daddy forgets to clear his Internet history,” he said.

“Sometimes, Daddy likes to try to bend Mommy into a Bavarian pretzel and he forgets that she is not a member of Cirque du Soleil, but is, in fact, a 45-year-old woman with occasional sciatica.” I paused. “Do normal legs bend like that, you may ask? No. No they do not…”

“Sometimes, you may hear strange noises. Mommy makes little, high-pitched dolphin noises and that’s perfectly normal and nothing to be alarmed about,” he over-explained.

“Sometimes Daddy is so sweaty, it’s like making love to a seal.”

Yes, I shouldn’t have, but I did.

“I’d say more like a sea LION, but the point is I work very hard for…”

“Ok, we’re getting way off topic now.” I gave him my “shut up” eyes. It didn’t work.

“Remember when we went to Sea World? It’s kinda like that, but with genitals.”

“Shut up. Stop talking. Stop talking,” I hissed.

You stop talking,” he mumbled.

“The important thing here is that we love each other very much and sex is a beautiful and natural part of being a grown up. OK?” I had just about covered it.

“Right. A married grown-up. A special, beautiful, natural part of being a grown- up but only when you’re married and like, 30 years old,” he drove the point home even better.

“And married,” I concluded. “So, do you have any questions?”

We held our breath.

She finally spoke.

“Yes. Are there any more cereal bars?”


Rachael Pavlik is RachRiot Writer, mother, Pilates avoider. Beloved by tens of readers, some she’s not even related to. Co-author of the New York Times Best-Selling anthology, I Just Want To Pee Alone, her writing has also appeared on Today Parents, Scary Mommy, The Mid, In The Powder Room, Houston Family magazine, Babble, and Aiming Low. Her face has appeared on ABC News, Great Day Houston and Fox 26 Morning News. She lives in Houston, Texas with her Current Legal Spouse and two above-average children.

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  1. Ken MacLean

    awkwardly funny. Being raised Catholic, we are content with missionary position and lights out. What can go wrong there and easy to explain to any interloper.

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