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Damn Those Birds and Bees!

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Michelle Kemper Brownlow: When my son started asking "those" questions, I tried to put him off.

mom and son talking

I tried to get out of it by saying, "Bud, listen, there is no rush for this. My only deadline for having THE conversation is that I be the one to have it with you, and NOT your friends." His response? "Then you better tell me this weekend."

Oh, God help me!

We planned a date at Ruby Tuesday's. Just me and my firstborn (sob).

The waiter came and got our drink orders (strawberry lemonade in a fancy glass for him, and a large, unsweetened iced tea for me). We talked about ... I have no idea what. I was just composing the speech in my head: "Horrible diseases ... pregnancy ... not until you are married ... horns will grow out of your eyes if you do, and then I will know -- and you will be grounded until you are married!" I was ready. Bring it on! Please forget!

The waiter took our orders. My son leaned across the table, took my hands in his and said, "So, ya gonna tell me the facts of life, or what?!"

I took a deep breath and started with God. "You have heard the word 'sex'? (He nods.) Well, sex is something God created for married people to do to show how much they love each other. It is also something they do to make a baby." The room started to spin .... (WHERE ARE THOSE SHOTS?!) Some more was said, and then I moved on.

Periods, eggs, sperm ... oh my! I remember saying,"The sperm has to find the egg to make a baby."

This is where the smoke appeared. The gears in his brain were fighting this connection tooth and nail! His eyebrows formed shapes I had never seen before. And then it got gory. I gave it to him. The whole shebang.

There is something wrong with saying "p----" and "v-----" to your 11-year-old son. So, here I was: "P----," blah blah blah. "V-----," blah blah blah. DONE!

My son's head dangled between the palms of his hands, held up only by his elbows on the table. He looked at me with a glazed-over, not-so-sure-what-to-say stare. His mouth dropped open a bit, and before the drool started to form in the corners of his lips, he uttered six words I will giggle about for as long as I live: "I am so sorry I asked."

Seeing his need to have some time to make sense of it all, I asked, "Do you want me to go grab my salad and give you a minute?" He nodded as well as he could -- the pressure of his hands on his temples risked causing brain damage.

When I got back to the table, he had changed positions. He was now in the fetal position in the corner of his side of his booth. Poor kid.

"You OK?"

"Um, well, that is the GROSSEST thing I have ever heard of," he said. "I am NEVER doing that. Well, actually, I will do it ONCE but ONLY ONCE!! I want at least one baby of my own that is from me and my wife, but after that I am SO adopting!"

He ate NOTHING that night. We took his whole dinner home in a box. He was nauseous and horrified and has no interest in S-E-X! He now gags when Ruby Tuesday commercials come on TV!


next: Meet 'Real Housewife' Countess LuAnn de Lesseps
16 comments so far | Post a comment now
chris April 26, 2010, 8:32 AM

I’m actually a little sad and surprise by your post. First off, waiting until your son is 11 to talk to him about the facts of life seems alittle too late to me. The discussion of sex should be a on going discussion that starts when a child is a lot younger (you certainly don’t need to go into all of the details but start preparing them to understand the concept of love and sex) and I firmly believe you should always use proper names for your body parts so it doesn’t feel ackward later on. But what really makes me sad is your happiness in the fact that your son is now so gross by the thought of sex, that he says he doesn’t want to do it (which I’m sure he’ll change his mind by time he’s 14) you really need to explain to your son how special and beautiful sex is between two people who love and/or care for each other is. I hope that your “talk” doesn’t leave him feeling that sex is somehow dirty or nasty and warp him for life.

Eva April 26, 2010, 8:36 AM

You know the sooner you tell them, less likely it will be for them to get diseases or having to deal with teen pregnancy when they do start having sex.
I think 11 years old is way to old to be told for the first time, tell them when they are young so it will be a natural and normal thing to them. I mean is there any thing more natural than sex? :)

whyzz April 26, 2010, 8:50 AM

At, the source for kid-friendly answers on how the world works, the birds and the bees are one of our most-asked about topics! With the help of qualified experts, here’s our advice for discussing this tough topic with kids ages 4-7:

Louise April 26, 2010, 10:33 AM

I read your story and I’ll share mine, my son was 4 when he noticed a pregnant woman and wanted to know the baby got there.

My son hated Turnips and I really wasn’t ready for this discussion, so I came up with the “Turnip Factory”, “when mommy and daddy are ready to have a baby they go to a place called the “Turnip Factory”, it’s like a garden and mommy and daddy look around for just the right little turnip bud, a doctor puts the baby bud turnip into a mommys belly and the turnip grows and becomes a baby, and when the baby is ready, mommy goes to the hospital to give “birth”, THIS BACKFIRED MISERABLY, A COUPLE OF DAYS LATER MY SON AND I WERE AT THE MARKET, ALL OF A SUDDEN MY SON GRABBED A BAG OF FROZEN TURNIPS AND PROUDLY AND LOUDLY ANNOUCNED ‘LOOK MOMMY BABIES”, EVERY ONE IN THE STORE BEGAN TO LAUGH AND MY FACE WAS BEET RED.

A year later after a lot of reading and asking child psychologists how to handle this properly without ruining my child, we finally had the discussion.

My advice READ alot, their are some great books out their to help parents deal with this discussion, and ask a lot of questions from health care professionals. Once I knew what to say, it wasn’t bad at all, my son understood and he was/is fine and I survived.

TH April 26, 2010, 11:29 AM

I find your article very funny. & i will say that I find it refreshing that your son still has innocence at age 11. Ppl may say that its too late to have that talk, it may it may not, but I think there is something wonderful about a kid still a kid not tainted by the world we live in with sex etc. I wish every kid would grow up in a world like that where they dont have the pressure of adult content and being a prents by age 12 or mentally damaged from indecent behavior inflicted by adults who r suppose to protect them. I dont think he sees sex as “dirty” and will warp him for life, its jus like when they r 4 they r grossed out by the thought of a girl or boy but get over it when they are about 9. Bottom line I thought ur article was very cute and innocent between a great mom and her kid.

Connie April 26, 2010, 11:40 AM

I am actually quite shocked at how immaturely you reacted to your sons question. Sure, you told him what happens, and great, now he knows, but it should never have been such a horrendously awkward situation for you as his mother. Sex is something normal, not disgusting, and the fact that you are happy that he now finds it repulsive is childish and ridiculous. You should have told him that it’s something that’s not advisable to do when young, and obviously by your beliefs, it should only be done after marriage. Fine. But you should also have made him understand that it’s not wrong to do, and that if he wishes to do it then it’s a choice that should be respected. Sex is a part of human nature, so to let him believe that it’s something vile is wrong. You should correct that.

I apologise for being so blunt, but your ‘MISSION ACCOMPLISHED’ at the end really irked me.

Shannon April 26, 2010, 1:40 PM

Wow. Way to mess up your kid, lady.

Annie April 26, 2010, 2:04 PM

I had to laugh a little when I read this. My son and I had talked a little about the subject when he was much younger and I only gave him as much information as he asked for. But a few yrs later when he was about 7 or 8 yrs old he wanted to know more. So we sat down and had the talk and it went much like the conversation you described. He had pretty much the same reaction. Only he swore to never have sex. He said he would just adopt! Because I am so open with my children and have always tried to make sex and our bodies something that they shouldn’t be ashamed of he is much more comfortable with the whole idea now. He was probably the only child not giggling when they showed the sex education video at his school…but he still thinks sex seems pretty gross and stands by his commitment to adopt. With that I had the same reaction as you…mission accomplished!

Christian April 26, 2010, 2:56 PM

I loved this post! I’m gearing up to have the “talk” myself with my 9 year old. I think that every kid is different on when they are ready to know the specifics, some later than others. It sounds like Michelle and her son have a great relationship, and that she in no way is messing him up! jeesh.. some people need to lighten up!

Mayda Garcia April 26, 2010, 3:07 PM

Since they talked, I had a book of a roster and a hen, and the eggs and the litle chicks, that is when they first found out about how babies are made. It was a piece of cake when I introduced them, at age about 6 to a more close version.
I was pregnant and they knew the baby was inbside and how it came out of my body.
You should start small talk versio no when they are small.

Echo April 26, 2010, 10:21 PM

Wow. I feel very sorry for your son, but also slightly hopeful that the poor kid is now so traumatized by the idea of sex that your screwed up ideas are not passed on to yet another generation. Unfortunately, nature and hormones will have their way, so when this boy hits puberty and becomes REALLY interested in sex he’s probably going to look back on this conversation and decide he’d much rather ask his friends any questions he has rather than risk another embarrassing conversation with his mother trying to gross him out.
If that turns out to be the case, in 4 or 5 years when you title an article “Damn Those Unplanned Teenage Pregnancies!”, I hope you at least have the tact not to put “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!” at the end of that one.

SAHD's Wife April 27, 2010, 3:35 AM

This is one of the more disturbing articles I’ve read on MomLogic, which frankly is full of articles that make me loose all hope for the future. Your goal was seriously to make your son so disgusted by sex he never ever wants to have it? And you waited until 11 to even have a talk with him? Are you trying to screw him up for life or is that just a happy by-product? Scaring your kids for life does not make your kids not have sex in their teen years, morals, values and constant communication is what HOPEFULLY helps your kid make good decisions when they have enough independence to make bad ones. Want to help your son have a healthy attitude toward sex - tell him how great it is - WITH THE RIGHT PERSON - how many problems it can create when done with the wrong person.

Michelle Kemper Brownlow April 28, 2010, 12:40 PM

I hope those of you who commented will come back to see this.

I am not the monster you all think I am. Actually, I am fortunate enough to live in a part of the country where it is not necessary to tell your kids about sex earlier than I have. I actually know plenty of people with kids the same age who have YET to have “the talk.”

When I said, “MISSION ACCOMPLISHED” I was simply referring to the fact that we were both clear he was NOT ready to be considering sex as an option.

Our family has a very open and honest relationship = he was made WELL AWARE tha someday he would NOT feel disgusted by it.

Wish everyone lived where I do so children could have a MUCH longer innocence!


Shannon May 2, 2010, 9:44 AM

There’s a difference between innocence and ignorance, Michelle. If your son is already 11 then some girls his age will start menstruating within a year and he’s already beginning puberty. Do you want him to be totally ignorant of what is going on in his own body or what his friends are talking about? Because that is ALL you accomplish when you insist on maintaining “innocence,” as if it is somehow impossible to have childlike innocence and a little biological intelligence at the same time. I strongly suggest you reevaluate your own feelings about sex and sexuality before you attempt any more advice articles.

Christy May 2, 2010, 2:47 PM

Wow Shannon, you sure do know everything don’t you?
Michelle, I think you did a wonderful job, and its YOUR child that YOU know. Nobody else here knows your kids or when they are mature or ready for the talk. Just like menstrual cycles start at way different ages so are the childrens ability to handle any sex talk.
I don’t have to talk to my children unttil they are ready which is going to be later than most kids because we homeschool and when they go to co-op I am THERE with them all day!!!!
You all have no right to tell her when the right time to talk about ANYTHING is!

Sara June 25, 2010, 7:23 PM

Haha, ok well number one: your kid will be fine. don’t worry. he will grow up into a normal, sexually active adult like all human beings. you didn’t mess him up at all. in fact this will probably all be forgotten in a couple of months and you will have nothing to worry about. and second of all: my parents never had “the talk”, either serious or funny. and i turned out just fine.

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