Poll: Did Your Parents Have ‘The Talk’ With You?

It’s a moment that inspires dread in both teen and parent alike — the moment that the parent closes the door to the teen’s bedroom and gently but nervously says, “[your name], it’s time we talked about a few things.”

That’s at least how I’ve seen these kinds of conversations go down on TV, because I don’t know about you, but I don’t have any first-hand experience in being on the receiving end of “the talk.” My mother once told me in the heat of a pre-adolescent argument that twelve was too young to have sex, and that was about the end of it. Surprisingly enough, I’ve remained relatively abortion and STD-free, and generally I feel good about the way that sex has turned out for me.

At the same time, I’m always a little curious about whether I’m in the majority or the minority in not having received any semblance of a birds and bees lecture. So:

Sorry! This poll is now closed.

Share This Post:
    • Leah

      When I was 6, my mom got pregnant with my sister, and she felt like she had to tell me. She explained pretty much every factor of sex to me over a couple years, so that I was very well informed. Her thought was that it’s easier to tell kids stuff like that when they’re young, before they become embarrassed about their bodies.

    • Sarah

      The closest I ever got to the talk with my mother was second semester my sophomore year of college, when she found out that I was having sex with my boyfriend. She very awkwardly asked if we had “used a rubber”, and I stared at her.

      Still, I can’t say as I’ve ever felt misinformed about sexuality or safe sex, and I don’t feel like I have an unhealthy view of it or anything.

    • Lo

      I voted for “model parents,” even though that’s not entirely accurate. Like Leah, my mom had my brother when I was 6, and since bath time/diaper changes made it impossible to ignore that we were different, we had a pretty good running dialog throughout my childhood. Since she’s very traditional, she always made her values clear, but never made it taboo for me to voice a different opinion.

    • Abigail

      My dad was absent from the conversations completely. He would have been horrified if I’d asked questions, and he never would have brought it up himself. My mother gave me one talk about the medical side of it, when I was 12, and I came away thinking that if I stood in the general area of a boy, I would get pregnant. And to make it worse, she did it in the middle of a restaurant, so I was completely humiliated thinking that people were listening in. It was very confusing, and that was the end of it. I try to be a “model parent” as you call it, with my boys. I want them growing up with the total opposite. Even at 3, my son knows that boys have penises as girls have vaginas, and that they are different, and we need to be modest and respectful of each other. I don’t have much experience with older kids, because I only have toddlers, but as they get older, we’ll continue to talk and keep an open dialouge.

    • sara

      No my mom didn’t and I really wished she would have. She couldn’t even talk to me about my period. I remember I didn’t tell her for a month because I felt so ashamed. And then when I did tell her she got super uncomfortable and quiet and wouldn’t talk about it. Honestly–if someone had talked to me about that stuff I wouldn’t have tried sex so young and then been so ashamed to tell anyone!

    • Lindsey

      So, you know how you’re not supposed to talk about sex or politics at the dinner table? Or other such things? Yeah, that was my childhood.

      (I turned out ok with self-education.)

      • Ninargh

        Me too. Not only are both my parents are pretty conservative, my dad is an elderly Nigerian man – so talk of sex, relationships or homosexuality was practically unheard of. When I was around 9ish, I asked my dad what a condom was and he totally bulshitted me with some ‘rubber hosepipe’ explanation. Firstly, what else are hosepipes made of? Also, how stupid did he think I WAS? Not only did I know he was lying to me, I could tell he was from the discomfort in his voice and on his face, but I never asked him (or my mother) any sex-based questions again.

    • Arnie

      I don’t remember ever having any specific conversations, but I always knew the basics of what sex was and everything. And my parents knew I’d done plenty of stuff on it in school, because it had been mentioned a few times about the place, and my mum is a teacher, so knows the curriculum on such things.

      Shortly after I got my first boyfriend my dad did sit me down and offered me condoms. That was something of a highly awkward conversation. I think I just mumbled out a “no thanks”, and left the many, many reasons for another time. I still find it amusing that my parents thought I was having sex several months before I ever actually let him into my pants.

    • Laura

      Well mum read to me and my brother from books designed for this kind of purpose when we were less than 10 (no idea on actual age) and encouraged us to ask questions. I don’t remember it being embarrassing at the time. She kept buying more books along those lines just geared towards teenagers but thankfully didn’t feel the need to read them out loud!

      All I can say is that when the time came that I thought I wanted to become “sexually active” I asked my mum first and she went with me to see the GP about the pill.

    • Hanna

      Thankfully I had a good sex education in school and I was brave enough to ask a doctor if she could refer me somewhere to get the pill. My parents first ignored that sex existed, than forbid me to have it (didn’t work) and then ignored me having sex. I was glad about that because a “talk” would have been excruciating. Just the thought of it makes me nauseous.
      Oh, wait, I remember something. I had my first boyfriend, we were having sex and one day my mom came home and asked. “Do you and [insert boyfriend name here] have anal sex?” I was so shocked I couldn’t say anything. After a recovery period of a few seconds I answered “no, why?”, so she said “because you’re not pregnant.”
      I think I never talked about sex again with them. Ever.

    • jess

      my mom gave me a book… the what’s happening to your body book for girls… i read it while i was home sick with the chicken pox. i still bust that shit out from time to time. it’s a handy reference guide.

    • Anne

      My parents kind of just handed me a couple of books on the subject and said that if I had any questions, ask away… and that was kind of that. Oddly enough, it worked out pretty well.

    • Nikita

      I never had the talk with my parent. Though, when I turned 18, my mother awkwardly came up to me and told me that boys will want to get “friendly” with me and that’s okay as long as I didn’t let them touch me until I got married. I already had sex by then, but I never felt misinformed about sex and I’m pretty glad I never had that awkward talk.

    • Nikita

      Also, I my parents come from a traditionalist cultural background so sex before marriage is a no-no. Once my mother told me that if a man ever “touched me, I will be a ruined woman that no one else would want to marry.”

    • Magda

      I was raised primarily by my mom and aunt.

      The first time my mom talked to me about sex was when I was around 5/6 and I walked in on her and my dad..

      The next exposure was a year or two later when my aunt herded all us kids, me and my older cousins ranging in ages 7/8(me) to about 13/14. I remember it was summer time and we always rented videos, so when she popped on in, we weren’t surprised until people started talking about sex and such.

      But both my mom and my aunt, and my dad when he was around were always fairly open. If I, or anyone else, had a question it was answered. Now that we’re older, its more of a dialogue than an Q&A sesh.

    • Sarah

      I picked “other”.

      My mom said “No sex until you’re 16 at the earliest, and when you do we’re going for birth control.”

      My dad said “If you have sex, I’ll kill that SOB.”

      And that was it. Very informative.

    • Tania

      I picked “model parent.” My dad wasn’t around at all, but my mom was always really open (possibly a little too open!).

      Sex ed in school covered damn near anything you could need to know. Grade seven involved how to put condoms on bananas (an important life skill), and grade 10 involved pictures of advanced STDs so you’d know why the insistence on condoms. And there were condoms available from the counsellors, as well as the address to the local youth clinic.

      Seriously, pictures of penises that looked liked heads of cauliflower from the advanced warts will scare even horny teenagers off unprotected sex.