Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Mom and Dad do it? Eeew!

Nico really loves the deep ocean documentaries where scientists take a submersible into the dark zone and keep finding all sorts of bizarre species unlike anything humans have seen before. "Only 2% of the deep sea has been explored!" he tells us -- and he's intent on helping explore the rest.

Thoughtful kid that he is, however, he was concerned about what his parents will do while he and Léo are off on a long undersea voyage. We won't have any kids to keep us occupied! So he suggested that while they're gone we should have another kid. Here's his plan: Mommy, Nico, and Léo would go to the beach where Nico and Léo would find the submersible, and "we'll bring Daddy to the beach too so he can fertilize you once again." (Imagine this line in BBC English...)

So I've found a new surprise in my adventures in science and sex ed: apparently being grossed-out by the very idea of your parents' sexuality isn't universal. When he was first learning about the idea of mating and reproduction, he once asked if his Daddy and I could demonstrate. (I was like "Hmm, maybe we could get you a book on human reproduction...")

My suspicion is that kids just don't start seeing body stuff as gross until adolescence. But it may also be because we've never taught our kids that any of their bits are bad or yucky or taboo...?

Anyone else have some ideas (or stories) about kids and their comfort level learning about the birds and the bees (and the whales)?


The Exterminator said...

...he once asked if his Daddy and I could demonstrate.
Perhaps you should make an educational video and post it on the Internet for everyone who's curious.

C. L. Hanson said...

LOL, I know it seems like I'll do anything to make this blog a valuable public service. But it turns out there are limits... ;^)

JohnR said...

This is something that's confused me--Jana and I have always been very straightforward when it comes to talking about sexuality (she majored in Biology). We answer questions directly, w/o embarrassment, but since they entered grade school, our kids have always been grossed out by the topic--so much so, that even though we don't have a lock on our bedroom door, we can guarantee 100% that our kids will not enter when it's closed.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey JohnR!!!

That's interesting. I think it may very well be a question of age. It's possible that there's a particular stage of development when kids are just going to feel grossed-out by sexuality no matter what you've taught them about it.

Lars Larson said...

If my boys ever were bold enough to come out and ask, "Do you and Mom do it?" I would answer, without skipping a beat, "Damn right, we do! Can you spell V-a-s-e-c-t-o-m-y?"

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Joe said...

I've long found this subject interesting. Once I learned about sex, I had no "ick" factor knowing my parents had sex. Since then, I've found no rhyme or reason for why some people have a hard time with this, while others don't. What makes it curious for me is that my parents were amongst the worse sex educators in modern history. (I've never seen my dad more uncomfortable than when he followed the prophet and gave me the little "especially for youth" book on male chastity.)

Of my four kids, my oldest, now past her teens, never seemed to care one way or the other. #2 and #4 are enigmatic about it while #3 is a horny teenage boy who has long openly stated that he likes looking at pretty girls, especially if they're naked, but absolutely hates it if my wife and I show any physical affection.

Not to take too much space, but I once worked on a video project with a woman my age and her little sister, who was 17 years younger. Perhaps it was age, but the younger sister found the idea of ANY older people having sex, or even overt physical affection, disgusting. Her sister just rolled her eyes. (There were other fascinating and glaring generational differences between them, but that's a discussion for another day.)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey ErlyBrd!!!

LOL, how old are your kids?

Hey Joe!!!

That's fascinating. It seems like people's reactions are kind of unpredictable. It's probably a complex combination of nature and nurture.

Your parents sound a bit like mine. Mine were always very uncomfortable with this subject, and basically taught sex ed by leaving relevant books for kids around the house (without actively giving us the books or anything).

When I was a kid, I was so psyched to learn some sex ed in school!!! Sex Ed featured prominently in my childhood journal, as you can see from the journal entries I posted here from when I was eleven years old. After learning about it in school, I would go home and ask my mom some follow-up questions, and I got the strong impression she'd rather not talk about it.

I wouldn't say I'm horribly grossed-out by the idea of my parents doing it, but it's certainly not something I like to sit around contemplating. ;^)

Lynet said...

I've never minded that my parents do it (though I'd be worried if they didn't). But then, I can't really remember a time when I didn't know it was something they did. My sex education was so early I can barely remember it -- before the birth of my eldest sister, I know that.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Lynet!!!

Wow, that's cool! That's what I'm kind of shooting for with my kids -- we'll see how it goes. ;^)

Paul Sunstone said...

My fifth grade science teacher decided to explain reproduction to us even though it wasn't in the curriculum -- this was back in the 60s. One of the kids swore her own parents hadn't had sex. The teacher corrected her, and I recall there was a commotion as it sank in with the rest of us that each of our parents had had sex.

After word got back to the parents what the science teacher had done, some of them complained to the principal, superintendent, and school board. Within a couple of days, the teacher was forced to apologize to our class -- as if she'd wronged us for telling us about sex.

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Paul!!!

Great story!!! This is why it was so cool to be a kid in the 70's -- the sexual revolution had already gone mainstream. :D

Joe said...

the sexual revolution had already gone mainstream

With the downside that the Mormon church freaked out, especially in my neck of the woods. Unfortunately, those of us who took church way too damn seriously got really messed up by this nonsense. (In my case, I've gotten over it; my wife hasn't. Hilarity ensues! Not.)

C. L. Hanson said...

Hey Joe!!!

That's really too bad. I agree, though, that there was a huge backlash caused by people being freaked out by the sexual revolution. Not just in LDS culture -- I think that this is a huge part of the rise of the religious right.

Maddie said...

Have daddy fertilize you?! Demonstrate?! That's hilarious! I love that you and your husband have succeeded in not making your children feel badly about their bits.

C. L. Hanson said...

Thanks Melliferious!!!

Yeah, isn't that funny? :D