Transcript of the Sex Talk With My 6-Yr-Old

Background: The Tooth Fairy Brings a Science Book

Last week my daughter lost her first tooth in the evening.  She wrote a note to the Tooth Fairy requesting a science book in lieu of a dollar.  The Tooth Fairy chose a beautiful, well-illustrated biology book about the human body.  The Tooth Fairy, in her exhaustion, flipped through the book but failed to pre-read every page, and she did not note that the book included a detailed description of reproduction.

For two days, my daughter was glued to the book.  “What’s your favorite part?” I asked.  “The brain,” she responded, without hesitation.  “The heart is really interesting too,” she added.

On Friday night, after the kids went to sleep, I picked up the book to check it out.  Oh, wow.  Sex is covered. I told my husband that I was going to ask our daughter in the morning if she had any questions about anything she had seen in the book.  Maybe she had skipped that part.

Setting: The Couch in the Kitchen, 9 am

Me: “I was looking through your new science book, and I was wondering if you have any questions about things you have read.”

6-yr-old: “Yes.  How does the seed meet the egg?”

Me: “Um, okay, well, it comes out of the man’s penis and it travels up the woman’s vagina to meet the egg.  Here, look at this drawing.  See how the egg comes out of the ovary, and it is waiting to see if it will meet with the sperm to form a zygote, which is a fertilized egg.”

6-yr-old: “Yes.  But how exactly does it come out of the man’s penis?”

Me: “It comes out in a fluid.  Kind of like when you need to pee and the pee travels down a tube and then comes out.”

6-yr-old: “Okay, so then what happens?  How does it get to the egg after it comes out?  Where is the penis?”

Me: “The penis is in the vagina when the seed comes out and it swims up.”

6-yr-old looks at me with her mouth open and her brow furrowed in disgust.   Then she looks at her daddy.  He nods.  She is quiet for about 15 seconds.  I think we are done with the talk. But then . . .

“Did you and daddy do this thing?”

Me: “Well, we had you, didn’t we?”

6-yr-old: “Where does it happen?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

6-yr-old: “Like, in what room?  Where do people do this thing?”

Me: “Oh.  Well, it’s not kids who do this.  But when two people who care about each other do it, it is usually in a bedroom, you know, in a comfortable place.  On a bed.”

6-yr-old: “But what exactly happens? Like, what happens before you do the thing?”

Me: Is she talking about foreplay? I try not to giggle. “First the two people usually snuggle and kiss and hug and get comfortable.”

6-yr-old: “Okay.  How many minutes does that part last?”

Me: It depends on how late it is. “It depends.  30? 10?  I don’t know.”

6-yr-old: “Then what?  Like do you say to each other, okay let’s do this thing now?  And then do you take your pants off?”

Me: “Well, remember, kids don’t do this.  But when the two people are ready, then it happens.”

6-yr-old: “How does the man know when the seed is out?  Does he tell you?”

Me: “He just knows.  Kind of like how you know when you are done making pee pee. And you feel better.”

6-yr-old: “What does it feel like?  Is it weird?”

Me: “Yes, it is weird.  But if you are with someone you love who cares about you, then it feels nice.  Like scratching an itch.”

6-yr-old: “So then what happens?  After it’s done?  What do you do?”

Me: Uh, the daddy goes to sleep, and the mommy reads a book. “You hug and snuggle and spend time together.”

Setting: The Shower, early afternoon

I am trying to wash my hair.  My daughter has parked herself in the bathroom and is perched on the edge of the tub, grilling me about sex.

6-yr-old: “I have more questions.  What if you want to get married but you don’t want to make a baby?  Is that allowed?”

Me: “Of course.  There are lots of people who choose not to have babies.”

6-yr-old: “So people with one baby did that thing once, and people with two babies did that thing twice, and people with three babies did that thing three times.  But you adopted (K) so you didn’t have to do that thing to make her.  Why can’t you do that thing once and make all the babies you want that time?”

Me: “Well, usually only one baby is made.  But sometimes a woman may have two or more eggs waiting to be fertilized, like when there are fraternal twins or triplets or more.  And sometimes a fertilized egg splits and makes identical twins or triplets.  But that is much less common than one baby.”

6-yr-old:  “My book says that when a man gets excited, blood goes into his penis and makes it erect.  How does that happen?”

Me: “The blood moves there automatically.  It’s not like the man has to tell it to go there.  Kind of like when you have to pee, and the pee moves automatically from your bladder down the pipes.”

6-yr-old: “It says after the man gets excited and the blood moves, then he is ready to do that thing.  Daddy gets excited when he watches the White Sox.  Do you have to do that thing after baseball games?”

Me: “It’s a different kind of excited.”

6-yr-old: “But how does it feel?”

Me: “If it is with someone you love, then it is nice.  Listen, there is nothing wrong or shameful about sex, but it is a topic that every family talks about with their kids when they feel ready.  It is important that you not go to school and talk with your friends about this.  Not because there is anything wrong with it, but because their parents will want to decide when is the right time to have the sex talk.  And it is a conversation that goes on and on with parents and kids. Do you understand?”

6-yr-old: “Yes.  I won’t talk about it.  But can I ask you?”

Me: “Yes.  And daddy.  We are always here to answer your questions.”

6-yr-old: “So is it weird?  It sounds so weird.”

Me: “it’s supposed to sound weird to kids because kids don’t do this.”

6-yr-old: “Well, it doesn’t all sound bad.”

Me: Oh, no. “What part sounds not bad?”

6-yr-old: “The hugging and kissing and snuggling.  I do that with you and I like it.  And the part about having a little baby to snuggle and cuddle.  I love little babies.  They are so cute.  Do you miss when I was a little baby?”

Me: “I do miss when you were a tiny baby.  It’s funny, though, because I love watching you grow up and I love you more and more as you learn new things and say new things.  And we can still snuggle, as much as you want, even though you aren’t a tiny baby.”

6-yr-old:  “It’s amazing how the cells turn into a baby.  I have another question.”

Me: “Yes?”

6-yr-old: “The part about it turning into a baby.  Is it more science or is it more God?”

Me: “That, my love, is a question that people have been asking since long before you were born.  And different people have different answers.  I think it’s both science and God, but that’s just me.  You will have to study and come up with your own answers.  I can’t wait to hear them.”

Carrie Goldman is the award-winning author of Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher, and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fear. Bullied addresses issues of sexualization, gender bias, and bullying.

To continue receiving posts from Portrait of an Adoption, type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button.

Follow Carrie Goldman on Twitter and Facebook

Leave a comment