NS August 31st, 2009
The following is a PSA released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about how parents should be talking to their children about sex.
In the video, a father is nervously approaching his daughter for The Talk. He’s obviously dreading it and scared shitless; embarrassed and hesitant. The little girl looks up and her voicover intones: ”Just tell us how you feel. Tell us what you want us to do. Tell us to wait to have sex.”
Ah, yes, good. Wait, WHAT? That’s it? The government’s big, brilliant suggestion for what parents should say to their kids about sex is something as stunningly meaningless and vague like “Tell us [them] to wait?”
I mean, what, exactly, should they be waiting for? Their friends to do it first? Marriage? Junior high to be over? A half-off sale on Durex featherlite condoms?
To add Stupider to Stupid, the voiceover goes on to say: “We know it’s hard to talk to your kids about sex. It’s embarrassing. You don’t have to be explicit about it. You don’t have to talk about ‘the parts.’”
Oh sweet Jesus, NOT THE PARTS!! Do you mean disgusting things like PENISES and VAGINAS? For all that is good and holy, surely these are not the parts of which you speak! I thought we were telling kids these days that babies were made by rubbing strawberry slushies over Labrador puppies frolicking in sunshine-filled meadows, not this disgusting “Part A (the filthy, out-of-control man-shaft) goes in Box B (the dark and dirty lady cave) to make Human C. Next thing you know, kids will think it’s okay to have sex FOR PLEASURE and Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy will all be sucked into the black vortex of liberal ideology where childhood, religion and family values go to die.
Needless to say, I am not embarrassed about “the parts.” I mean, I don’t go around the house just randomly saying “Penis! Vagina! They’re all beautiful, man! Ebrace your inner goddess!” but I have a real problem with the euphemisms people give genitals to avoid “embarrassment.” Have you actually heard some of the things people call their kids’ bits? For boys the standard seems to be Willy or Pee-Pee or Tackle but there are a multitude of code names for lady caves (see, there’s one right there!) and they include such ridiculousness as Flower (it’s waiting to be pollenated, get it?), Yoni (Sanskrit for ‘the divinity of the womb’ or something), Front Bum/Butt (just plain offensive), Fanny/Fanjo (WTF?), Va-jay-jay (vomit-inducing), Lady Garden (ditto) and the mother of all euphemisms, Honey Pot (I kid you not).
In the Noble household, we just say ‘bits’ or ‘privates’ until the children are old enough to grasp more complex terminology and then it’s the proper names all the way. I mean, I might not say “Okay, TNC, wash your labia minora now!” but I certainly won’t be all coy and shame-inducing by just waving in her bottom half’s general direction with a wrinkled nose and toss her a washcloth and some Lysol to clean her “flower.” It’s vulva and vagina (and used appropriately — I hate when people refer to the whole female genital area as ‘vagina’ which is incorrect) and when TNB is around the same age he will learn that his dangly bit is called a penis, not named after a man who wears a top hat and puts children through rigorous moral testing as he leads them through a chocolate factory.
Sure, I will probably be a bit red-faced on at least one occasion by a child calling out “Mummy, that man has a penis!” at the bank or grocery store, but I’d rather take on that brief moment of embarrassment than have my children think that their genitals are something to be afraid or ashamed of. And saying vague things like “Just wait to have sex” won’t be part of our Talk either. Things like the mechanics of sex, birth control options, STDs and the feelings and expectations surrounding sex will be.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work on my Master Plan of Innocence-Robbing. Next on the agenda: telling the kids that the bird the cat drug in is dead as a door nail and isn’t able to fly away, not “asleep” or in “birdie heaven.” Their tears are useful for oiling my Heartless Realist/Atheist machine.