Let's Not Talk About Sex: Having "The Talk"

We walked past the back wall of board games, looking for that unique gift idea that never seem to present itself in retail stores; no, Uno would not do.

"Wha! That is so inappropriate,"  my daughter Lily shrieked.  

Oh goodness, what could it be this time? A Bratz doll with a heart tattoo on her cleavage?  

No...I laughed to myself, as Lily pointed out the culprit.  

There is nothing sexy about this board game.  
It was a board game called: Battle of the Sexes.  

"It says Sexes!" she half yelled to me in her whisper tone.  

So, there, in the middle of the toy section, on an isle painted in every color of not-gender-nuetral pink, I had to explain the dictionary (1a) definition of sex.  The two definitive categories of gender based on reproductive organs. I did not include transgender or omnisexuals or androgynes, as the world is confusing enough to a nine-year, that referencing these "others" was...well, I don't know what the hell I'm talking about anymore. I just know that the board game Battle of the Sexes does not have a game piece for gender neutral individuals. I know, right; discrimination.  

Anyway, I know what SEX she was referring to, even though she doesn't know what that SEX really consists of.   

Which means, sometime soon, I or her mother, will have to give her the talk (please, God, let it be her mother).  

And she still believes in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, and that I'm the strongest man in the world.  

It's not fair, because quite frankly, she isn't ready. She attends a little private school (that we parents can barely afford) and her friends are still heavily interested in dolls and singing Frozen songs. She only has a few years of carefree living before the fission of hormonal lunacy and emotional drama turn her into a temporal irrational Medusa.  

I'm not making it sharper.  I'm dulling it,
so it will cut through flesh slower...
And I'm not ready to be turned to stone (or permanently stoned, now that Oregon legalized weed), although I somewhat understand why many parents want to "check-out" during the middle years of their children's existence.  

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I'm not ready for my little girl to grow up. I don't want her to be a woman. I'm not ready to deal with boys or men. I haven't even built my axe grinding stone near my front entrance to deal with potential suitors, yet.  

But she has so many questions, mostly because of the crap that gets plastered all over media. The other day she was singing Salt 'N Pepa's "Push It" song because somebody in the GIECO advertising department has no lyrical analysis skills, and used a song about SEX to sell insurance. (Well, sex does sell).  

And then she's discovered music. We couldn't stop it. She hears songs. She thinks she likes Katy Perry (even though she "dresses gross"). And she and her sister (Nadia age seven) love Christina Perri. And because we (her parents) are too cheap to buy these CDs, they access them through the Pandora app, or worse, through YouTube on our computer.  

I don't think Salt 'N Pepa were talking about "Pushing it"
in regards to childbirth, either. But nice try GIECO.  
For a while, I was adamant about not watching the videos, just like my mother was about MTV. Most of the messages that popular music portrayed went way over my head in the 1990s (like Naughty By Nature's OPP)...although others, like Baby Got Back didn't need Sir Mix-A-Lot's risqué video to convey the theme (although now I understand the "anaconda" reference).  

Many of the songs, though, have neat little messages to go along with the video. My girls fell in love with Taylor Swift. Love Story was a sweet little song, and a harmless little corresponding video. Swift is a smart girl. I like how she challenges the music industry, and her songs are often ironically criticizing her critics. She isn't trying to do the challenge the morales of the times, Madonna-thing, either.  

But YouTube doesn't let you just listen to one song. It entices you with "other related" videos.  Each video is a doorway drug that leads you to something a little harder, a little edgier, a little more sinful.  

Maybe the song is about "shaking off" the pounds?
My girls traveled down this looking glass, and wound up listening to Swift's Shake It Off. Sadly, I like this song (and again, it's message of ignoring critics). But halfway through the video, a strange twerking montage ensues as Swift snakes under the legs of some bustier butted women nearly bouncing their backsides on her head.  

Now, I think this is Swift maybe showing solidarity to Miley Cyrus, and the whole twerking VMA fiasco of last year.  Or Swift is owning the fact that she herself has very little backside (as she attempts to twerk and laughs it off). Again, I like her as an artist for this.

But my daughter watching said, "why do girls do that with their butts?  Isn't it gross?"  

She asked me, and not her mother.  I'm not sure how I feel about twerking. I like the female body, of course. I like backsides. I think there are about a billion sexier or more erotic things a woman can do than shaking her rump like arm flab...but...on some basic chromosomal level, the dance is appealing (even as I don't want it to be).  

This was once risqué. Now it's a huge statue.  
I wanted to say, "Well, you see, for the last forty years, sexuality, and more correctly, pornography, has devolved from exposure, to debasement. Playboy, a magazine that many men grew up salivating over even though it had a stigma of "sin" attached, has become almost mainstream. Even Playboy set up many men for disappointment, even though it only showcased nude women. Then the internet came along and said, "Playboy is for sissies, check out what we got some women to agree to______."  Most men initially looked at some of these fetish-like images with disgust...but then this became the new normal "porno."  And if no woman looks like the images in Playboy, no woman can (or will) do the stuff in most of these internet sites and porno movies. Yet some men still expect this kind of debasement to get turned on.  When women twerk in videos, it is really some music executive saying, "We need more sex in this video, because we need more guys watching it." Sadly, the secondary message is "Girls, this is how you attract guys...just like how hookers attract Johns by shaking their ta-tas on the street corner."  

Of course, I didn't say this.  Because my daughter is 9. Instead I said, "Umm...it is gross. Music producers like gross, and encourage their female artists to show off more and more of their flesh, because people are unnaturally curious if famous people's bodies look better than their own.  Unfortunately, having a great voice and catchy songs is not enough to sell CDs. A singer also has to sell the idea that she (or he) is physically superior to the average person as well. Swift isn't necessarily exposing herself in this video, instead she is having dancers do it for her...all in an attempt to sell her music."  

Thankfully, Lily accepted this answer and said, "That's dumb."  

Yes it is, Lily. But most of our over-sexualized society is dumb. The world is going to keep "pushing it, real good" when it comes to glamorizing sex. And as your parent, I'm going to eventually explain the deep connotations of sexuality, and I'm going to say that innocence is blissful, that purity is a virtue, and that someday, when you bring a boy over, I may or may not club him with an axe.  


  1. I've never had this experience from the adult side, and all things considered, I don't envy you. Wishing you patience and a damned good sense of humor.

    1. Well, I pretend to have both patience and a sense of humor...so I might be okay.

  2. My daughter, also 9 years old, gets grossed out when a couple on a Hallmark movie kisses. On the other hand, she informed me yesterday that she doesn't have a crush anymore on the boy she used to have a crush on. She has a crush on a different boy now. When something fell out of her desk at school, they both reached to pick it up. Their fingers touched...and she felt all funny inside. ("Good grief!" I thought. "It's started already? Please, NOOOOOO!)

    1. Hahaha. I remember that feeling when I was young. Ugh. We are in so much trouble.

  3. Great post, Chris! I'm going to share it on my Facebook page. :D