“The Talk” about sex varies as much as relationships between parents and children. If we’re very lucky we had a maternal figure with an open, positive attitude towards sex and the body, who was able to have a supportive, informed chat with our younger selves about what to expect from the rest of our lives as sexual people on this beautiful planet.
Many of us weren’t so lucky when we were young, but that shouldn’t stop us from having The Talk all over again now that we’re grown.
And just so we’re clear – our relationships with our biological mothers can sometimes be fraught and challenging.
So we’re not necessarily talking about actual mothers when we talk about the Talk With Mom. She could be an auntie, grandma, BFF’s mom, family friend, or anyone who loves and supports us and has spent a little more time on Mother Earth.
No matter how old we get, we still have a lot to learn from her – and she can learn a lot from us too.
So let’s get talking!
Why You Should Talk To Your Mom About Sex
Unless you come from a very liberated family, talking about sex with Mom is likely to be a little bit awkward. It might even be a lot awkward. So why try?
- • Because sharing wisdom and experience between generations is a time-honored human tradition that has fallen by the wayside, to our great detriment.
- • Because female sexual health is still neglected by modern culture and modern medicine. Thanks to the internet, you may have more information about sex, menopause, new and innovative tools, and how to care for the body than she does – and she may have more hands-on experience.
- • Because the world is changing rapidly, attitudes towards sex are changing too, and both of you could be a little bewildered about how to contend with intimacy of all kinds in this day and age.
- • Because there may be many things she wishes she’d handled differently, and the same may be true for you. Talking about challenging subjects can be a wonderful way to build trust, shine a light on what’s hidden, and cement your loving bond.
- • Because, if you’re totally honest with yourself, aren’t you just a little bit curious about what she’d have to say? (We’d bet that she is too.)
So there are some compelling reasons. Now to the tricky part – how to get that conversation started. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Tips and Tricks for Talking To Mom About Sex
Pouring her a cup of her favorite beverage and saying “So Mom, how about that whole ‘sex’ thing, huh?” may work for many people, and their moms too – but those people are unlikely to be reading this far down.
If you haven’t talked to your mom about sex recently – or even since puberty – it helps to grease the wheels a bit by starting the Talk somewhere adjacent to sex, but not right on the button.
Think about subjects she speaks to easily – her family, her hobbies, her personal history or the one you both share – and ease into it from there.
Some more ideas:
- Share funny memories. “So Mom, I just watched ‘Last of the Mohicans’ for the first time since I was a kid, and I think I know why you wore out that VHS tape – it was all the shirtless hunks, wasn’t it?” If you have any funny sex-related memories – especially of you as a clueless kid and Mom as a Grownup – humor can be a wonderful icebreaker.
- Ask her how she learned about sex. Who gave her the Talk and how did it go? Did anyone give her the Talk in the first place? What was her middle-school health class like? What were the silliest ideas about sex that her peer group actually believed? What did she wish she’d learned sooner than she did?
- Ask her perspective on how things have changed since she was young, and how things have changed since the last time you had The Talk. Current events can be a great point of entry here, provided the two of you are generally on the same page morally and politically. The Sex Talk shouldn’t become The Politics Fight. But if she saw something on Facebook recently that reminded her how far we’ve come, or how far we still have to go, she’d probably love to discuss it with you.
- Thank her for doing the best she could. Tell her what she did right when she’s talked to you about sex. Did she give you a really good book? Did you know you could always come to her with questions? Let her know! And if she didn’t give you the Talk in the first place, share what you learned from her as a role model. Moms and mother figures often doubt themselves so much, and both of you will be much more comfortable if you can put her mind at ease.
- Lead with health. Childbirth, menopause, other physical changes that come with getting older and wiser, and so forth are often “safer” subjects to start with than S-E-X itself. And again, female sexual health is an area where public and medical discourse is often much less adequate than real-life experience. You may be armed with more information than she has, too – like the existence of CBD melts for cramps, which many moms in our community swear by.
- Ask her what she wishes she knew back then. When she was young and figuring out sex and intimacy for herself. When you were young, and how she would have talked to you about sex differently. When the world was different, and attitudes towards sex and relationships were too. Give her space to speak on changing bodies and changing times, and the chance for both of you to reparent yourselves.
Giving Your Mom The Talk
All of the above should give you some ideas about how to get her talking about sex, but don’t forget that she has a lot to learn from you as well, now that you’re both grownups!
Once the ice is broken and the conversation flowing freely (maybe a little too freely – perhaps you didn’t really need to know about your mom’s crush on Morgan Freeman), be sure to ask her if there’s anything she wants to learn from you.
Brace yourself, cause here comes the awkward! Now you know how she felt, but we’re all adults here. And when in doubt, just say “Lube, Mom. For real, lube.”
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