Having The Sex Talk


Having The Sex Talk

I have chosen to live in New York City not only for it’s diversity but mainly because there are so many adopted kids. I adopted my daughter when she was just 11 days old so any issues she may have are all on me. As my daughter entered second grade, I thought it was an opportune time to sign her up for an adopted kids workshop. Let’s face it, I hardly think she and her fellow adopted classmates are likely to be “talking about being adopted” at recess. This workshop would provide her with a safe environment to chat with an experienced social worker and other adopted kids about feelings they may be experiencing.

During the conversation with the social worker, it was recommended that I have the sex talk with my daughter.

“Really, she is only seven going on eight, isn’t it a little early?” I asked uncomfortably. I could deal with almost any topic even raising a child on my own, why I didn’t find “Mr. Right” all seemed like a cake walk but “the sex talk”, I rather poke my eyes out.

“Yes, I recommend you have the sex talk before the class.” Mary, the social worker, said firmly.

“Why???” I asked.

“Adoptive parents seemed to be focused on the birth mother and forget there is also a birth father. At some point, children realize it takes two people to make a baby but not sure how it works. Also, because she will be in a group with kids who are older (the group was made up of both second and third graders) as well as kids with siblings, the topic of sex may come up and you don’t want to her to hear it first in that type of setting.” Mary explained.

So I off I went to the bookstore with the social worker’s recommended titles. I asked the salesclerk where the books about “sex” were. A twenty-something girl guided me to the section and happily told me that she thought the books with cartoons would appeal to a child.

I picked up a couple of books and promptly put them back. Looking at the books, I was somewhat appalled at the “cartoon” people who looked distorted and freakish. Maybe it’s me but a cartoon penis and breasts seemed so unsophisticated like cartoons you would see in a men’s magazine rather than the sophisticated stylings of The New Yorker. On second thought, the New Yorker cartoons are not very attractive either, so scratch that.

That was my signal to leave the bookstore with no visual aids for my sex talk. With only days to go before the support group session and just could not find the “right” time to broach the topic.

On the day of our workshop, I waited for the social worker to scold me for not having done I was told but as I sat there listening while the other parents detailed their adoption stories, everyone admitted that they just could not have the sex talk with their child. Yes, they could talk their children about their birth parents and adoption but sex? Yikes!

The social worker started to laugh and said “that’s okay, rarely do parents have the discussion but it’s at least a start you are now thinking about the topic so you can have the talk.”

I walked away with from the workshop feeling not alone in my fear of having the conversation. That said, it’s been weeks since the workshop and yet, I have yet to find the right time. She may be ready, but I’m not.


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  1. 1

    MamaBug says

    My children are only 2 and 14 weeks, so I feel like I have a little time before I have to start fretting over this.

    But I can tell you two things. First, my kids have a plethora of older cousins and several aunts and uncles that are not much older… So I know I need to get to it before they do. Second, the thought paralyzes me with fear.

    So, good luck to you when you get to it. I can’t imagine any parents relishes the idea. Adoptive or otherwise. ;)

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  2. 2

    Mom Off Meth says

    I waited until my kids asked a question. I told myself no matter what, I would answer it simply and with absolute honesty. My daughter came home from daycare one day at FIVE years old and said, “mama, Riley told me that the man puts his penis in the woman’s vagina to have babies. Is that true?”

    Horrified I said, “NO!!”


    I sat her down after that, and told her the truth, very clinical, simple and without the part about sex feeling good (not yet man.) Just that this is one way to have a baby grow inside of a woman. She stared at me for a second and said, “you and daddy did THAT?”

    Then she went around to every couple she knew that had kids, “Bob and Cathy did THAT?”

    It was awful and hilarious. But it was the truth.

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  3. 4

    Arnebya says

    I think we all dread it to a degree but it tends to get easier. Maybe start out with body changes, not just straight into sex? I think that would help. I had a conversation with my 11 and 9 yr old girls last week and it was amazing. Some things I didn’t want to be too descriptive about (and please please don’t let them ask if daddy and I still “do that”) but there’s something about informing them accurately and having open communication that is so thrilling. Sure, our conversation ended when my husband walked in as the 9 yr old was saying semen, but you can’t win ‘em all.

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  4. 6

    Kelly says

    My sister is a social worker with foster and adopted children. I don’t know of an official statistic, but it seems that teen pregnancy rates might be higher in adopted children. My adopted cousins all had babies before they were married even though they came from good homes. They said they really wanted to know what it was like to have someone that looked like them….yikes. My point is that the sex talk is important at some point, but 7 or 8, really??? I’m so scared for the day to come that I have to talk about this with my kids!

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    • 7

      Beth says

      That kind of sounds like youre saying that usually people who have children before marriage come from bad homes, and I dont think thats the case these days. Marriage isnt the institution it was, its often expensive and a lot of people arent brought up to believe its important – that doesnt mean they dont come from a good home. xx

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      • 8

        Kelly @ In the Mom Light says

        Good point because my mom would like to think she came from the Brady bunch, but she was pregnant with me in college. Although I know that “good homes” can turn out pregnant teens, broken families (not meaning married or not just problems in the relationships) do tend to turn out more pregnant teens… but I think there is a factor about adopted children, no matter how loving their adopted families are, a lot of times desire a blood relative.

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  5. 9

    Meggan says

    I have had quite a few discussions about sex with my oldest, she is 9. I was not afraid to do it at all and the conversations went very well. I don’t know why it was so easy, my parents never talked to me about it, but I am so glad we have that open line of communication. I am very adamant about using proper names for everything though since my kids (I have 5) are born. I don’t call genitals strange names but prefer the real names for them and I don’t get weird or giggly when I talk about them. I present it as a way of life, something beautiful and wonderful and part of who we are. We also have talked to our 3 oldest about proper and improper touch. Trust me, once you talk about it you will realize it wasn’t as bad as you thought it was going to be.

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  6. 10

    Mommy's Always Write says

    I have several friends who are expecting babies now, and my 4-year-old is starting to wonder how babies get in bellies. So far I’ve managed to avoid an actual conversation about it, but I guess I should start thinking about how to answer him. Sadly the kids usually have no idea that sex is an uncomfortable topic…it’s the parents that make it uncomfortable. But it’s so hard to know when they are old enough to handle and understand the truth. I agree that the cartoon book sounds a bit weird. Good luck!

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  7. 11

    Kristen Brakeman says

    I talked to my eldest daughter when she was in about 5th grade – it was horrifying for both of us. I bought some book that had drawings – made for kids – and then left it in her room. Luckily my second daughter found the book herself and so when it was time to talk about the “s” word she said, “I know all about it” Phew!

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  8. 12

    arlete says

    I am a Brazilian living in Germany and german people are very open when it comes to body and sex. When my daughter was four, she asked me how babies get inside their mommy´s belly. I thought that it was better to ommit than to lie. So, I told her that mama and papa love each other very much and when they decide to have a baby, they hug each other very tight and papa gives mama a little seed that will meet a seed that mama has in her belly and the baby starts to grow. I did not lie only put it in a more childish and romantic way. However, Germans prefer the straightforward method as described in a post I wrote in my blog : http://tudodebonn.blogspot.de/2009/08/historias-para-criancas-cabeludas.html

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