As of yesterday, my first- and fourth-graders can tell you. And no, I don’t mean “lube and filter” lube. I mean, LUBE lube. Yes. Sexy sex lube.
How did this all come about? Well, sit back and lemme tell you about yesterday. It started innocently enough, with a run-of-the-mill drive to school. We either have 96.7FM or 95.9FM on for the drive. The morning show on 96.7 is very family-friendly, but we love the fun they have on 95.9. And 95.9 is usually fairly tame. They had a segment on yesterday, a sort of a “What would you do?” kind of thing, as they called it. They had a guest explaining an incident he’d had while he was out seeing Saving Mr Banks (the one about Walt Disney and the Mary Poppins story). The segment went like this:
The caller was explaining how he was in the back row, and about 3 seats over there was a couple. When the lights went down, he began to hear kissing. He looked over and they were full-on making out. (We kept listening.) He then went on to explain he heard a change in breathing, and looked over to see the male whisper something in his companion’s ear, heard a zipper, and she pulled out hand lotion, and then a Kleenex about five minutes later.
Should I have turned the radio station sooner? Maybe. Do I want the kids to think sex is a bad thing because I turned the station? No. Did I think I was going to have to explain public sex/masturbation/lube? No. I didn’t quite think the segment was going to go that far. Ha. Oopsie. (Not at all blaming the radio station, to be clear.)
So, my nine-year-old daughter asks, “What did they need hand lotion for?” as she’s getting out of Tawny, our beige minivan. I said it was time for them to get to school and we could talk about it after. I also mentioned maybe talking about this at school maybe wasn’t the best idea, and to save it for when we saw each other later.
Fast forward to the end of school.
We chatted a bit in the van about how school was, and my son said he mentioned to someone else heard something on the radio. This prompted me to ask what he might have said. “Just that I heard something adulty on the radio today.” So, I asked if they had any questions about what they heard that morning. My daughter asked, “What was that all about?” and I replied, “What do you think it was about?” “Sex stuff.” I told her she was correct. And so the conversation began.
“What were they doing and why did they need hand lotion?” she asked, echoing her query from earlier in the day.
I paused and replied as simply and age-appropriately as I could. “You know how when you rub your penis, or your vagina and vulva, it feels good?”
“And you know how if you keep rubbing something for a long time, like even your arm or something, it can start to hurt or not feel good?”
“Well, that’s why they were using hand lotion. So it wouldn’t hurt.”
I continued. “There are some things that are good to use for that, and some that aren’t. Why do you think it’s called HAND lotion?”
“Because it’s for your hands.”
“Right. And do you think it would be smart to use it on other parts of your body like they did?”
“That’s right. If you’re ever going to use something on your penis or vulva and vagina, you’re going to want to make sure it’s not going to hurt. People get hurt using stuff you’re not supposed to.”
And my six-year-old pipes up and says, “Yeah. That’s why I don’t used soap on my penis, because it hurts.”
And then we had a talk about making sure our whole bodies were clean and yada yada yada…
Then my son asks, “Why did they need Kleenex?”
And my daughter says, “To wipe up the hand lotion?”
Now, this is where I had to made a quick decision and either answer yes and let it drop, or continue on with the honest, yet still age-appropriate answer.
I went for it.
“Ok. Let’s step back a moment. How are babies made?”
“The sperm gets together with the egg.”
“Yes. And how does the sperm get to the egg?”
“The penis touches the vagina.”
“Yes. The penis goes INSIDE the vagina.”
Then I continued, “And to get the sperm to come out, the penis needs to get rubbed for a while.” (I had an internal chuckle about how long – or short – that may take when they are teens, but I obviously kept that to myself.)
I forget exactly how I concluded this one, but I think the kids got the rub penis – sperm – clean-up part.
As we were arriving back home and it was brought up again. “Why were they doing that in the movie theatre?”
“It is something that we usually do in private. I guess they thought it would be kind of exciting to do that in the theatre.”
I then went on to explain doing that in a place such as a movie is actually against the law, and you’re not allowed to take out your penis in public, or show your private parts.
“What about if you’re on your front porch?”
“No. Not even then because people can still see you.”
“What about in the backyard?”
“Well, that’s kind of a grey area. You still need to be respectful of others around you. And we’re really not supposed to do it in the backyard, either, because people can still see you.”
After all was said and done, I let it sit for a few minutes, then brought up the fact that these topics may not necessarily be appropriate for the schoolyard or classroom, and that parents like to be the ones to decide when to talk to their kids about stuff like this.
Now I’m not so sure I made the right choice adding that last part because I turned it back into something that is taboo and hush-hush… I think I may have to rethink that one.
Where’s that damn parenting manual?!