Sex Mechanics for Kids
ⓒ christina starr
Xtra! April 19, 2001
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A parents’ panel on CBC radio recently discussed the dreaded deed of talking to kids about sex. With depressing predictability they only referred to straight sex, to “penis” in the company of “vagina”.
          The mechanical and emotional aspects were bantered about. “Well, the mechanics they’ll figure out,” said one parent confidently. “Put a teenage boy and girl alone in a room and eventually they’ll figure out what goes where.”
          Throw in a juicy mango and you have Blue Lagoon 101.
          So who talks to gay kids about gay sex? Who wants to talk about pleasure?
          I’ve talked to my daughter about sex since she was very young, because that’s when she started asking questions. It was about reproduction at first, since what she wanted to know was how she got made. She took it matter-of-factly because it was sort of like how you make cookies, or how you make a castle with sand.
          But it doesn’t take even a preschooler long to figure out that sex with two vaginas must be about something other than making a baby. She’s so far not asked such a question, but as a mom who’s never wanted my lovers to pretend to be friends, even as a mom who wants my kid to eventually have a fulfilling sex life, I can’t only talk about the birds and the bees. I have to include the snake and the apple tree.
          In households like those represented on CBC, what’s a gay kid to do? No doubt too many gays with pressing desires and no information eventually figure out what works. Which is not to say that straights who’ve had a “talk” get it on right from the start. But at least they’ve had a talk, at least they know what’s supposed to go where.
          They also have the advantage of living in a straight-saturated culture. Regardless of parental interference, most of us know what goes where from the time we know that shooting is for boys and baking is for girls. I’m willing to bet a month of closed-door privacy that 99% of straight teenagers don’t have to “figure it out” at all.
          But gays?
          My first experience of love for another woman happened when I already had 10 years of romping and rutting experience. Yet my desire for her was like a frustrated shadow play — vague fantasies beginning with getting up the nerve to kiss her and fast forwarding to the next morning, both of us waking satisfied and shy in her bed.
          Sure, there’s a lot you can find out from sources other than your parents. But if you’re coming out very young, you might not know that such sources exist or how to find them, and you might rather die than ask. You might not even know that other gays exist, as apparently the all grown-up parents on the CBC panel didn’t.
          With the silence and ignorance of parents on the topic of gay sexuality, sex education is pretty much the role of the gay community, in the form of educational organizations, agencies, social groups and, of course, first (and subsequent) lovers. It wasn’t until I was happily seduced a few years later by a woman with experience that I could start to fill in the blanks.
          It can be a sweet experience to be someone’s “first”, to introduce gay pleasure or ways of pleasure never imagined before. It’s an element of sexuality more specific to gays than to straights, and one we maybe don’t want to lose.
          But there will always be “firsts”. In the meantime, parental sex education could stand to be way more inclusive (not to mention public school sex education, but we won’t go there). Straight or gay, parents should take seriously their responsibility to be a source of information, protect against a child’s vulnerability and ignorance, and give them a solid send-off into the mysterious and exciting world of sexual pleasure.

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Who talks to gay kids about gay sex? Who wants to talk about pleasure?