How the subject arose I can't quite remember, but today at a friends birthday lunch, the issue of how we would deal with the "sex" issue as our children reached a certain age came to the fray.
I have to admit I was quietly surprised by the fact that some of my friends, who are quite liberal in many ways and talk openly when it comes to matters of a carnal nature, seemed to clam up when it came to the thought of approaching the subject with their children.
It is for most parents I feel, the looming elephant in the room. Like potty training, religion and politics, it falls in the same category of things parents dread bringing up with their children, an area of growing up that many of us wish that children would quietly and easily discover for themselves.
Look, you can't get away from the fact that your children are eventually going to do IT. They are also going to try drinking, smoking (possibly drugs), you know that because you have done it too. Take yourself back 10, 20, 30 years or so - you have to ask yourself how would you have wanted your parents to re-act? Did they do it the right way?
I have to say that I think my parents got it right. They didn't make a big thing about it yet neither did they pretend that they thought we would stay virgins forever. Both mum and dad made it clear that if we wanted to discuss it they were happy to do so.
From a young age we would also happily sit alongside our parents watching comedy films such as Lemon Popsicle http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0079118/ and Porky's http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0084522/, all relating to sexually frustrated young men painfully and usually unsuccessfully trying to lose their virginity, so maybe that helped lighten things up a bit.
I think my dad felt that his remit as a parent was to find as many ways possible to embarrass his children. Let me just take a moment to list some things that we were subjected to
My dad would....
1, Lie on the floor supermarkets calling out our names
2, Sing in the street
3, Walk out in his underpants in the street
4, Sing really loudly during services at synagogue to try and out sing the choir
5, Do the dad dance at wedding, barmitzvah, birthday parties (fortunately not at funerals)
6, Make silly noises and jump up and down pointing at us in the street so that everyone would look
Yet, there is one thing that mostly sticks out in my memory, in fact I can't even call it a memory as still to this day, my dad will hasten to add some sort of sexual pun or innuendo into any conversation, normally relating to a woman's breasts. Now, as much as it did and still does make me cringe, in some ways having this issue so openly and jokingly discussed meant that sex was never really an issue, or something that was seen "dirty" or "forbidden".
My oldest brother started bringing girlfriends home from the age of 17 and my parents were very comfortable with that, better in his bedroom than children's outdoor playhouse in a park (not me a friend).
Had I not developed an eating disorder throughout my teens, I totally believe that I would've been comfortable and confident when it came to sex. I would quite happily have taken boys home with me as it was where I felt safe.
Now I'm not saying that we should be buying vibrators and the karma sutra for our kids, but things are so different now, our kids can get information about anything at the click of a button. So would advice not be better coming from someone they can trust rather than a stranger on a screen.
We all have our own way of parenting and I am not here to preach or persuade, all I can say is that all the issues I ever had in my life were self inflicted rather than as result of lack of parental guidance.