I kinda figured I was in for doing most of the awkward biological convos with my kids when I ended up with two girls. My husband wasn’t going to be able to really coach them on tampon use or how to find a comfortable bra—though come to think of it, I clearly still need some more help with finding that holy grail of comfortable bras. But I was really hoping he could give a helping hand on some of the talks where he’s just about as well versed as I am—things like where babies come from, or the mysteries of guys’ changes during puberty, which the school’s sex ed class glossed over for the girls.
No such luck. In fact, my husband managed to be taking a shower when the largest and most in-depth conversation happened about the origins of babies. And lately, he looks as if forks have been stuck into his eyes every time periods, the fellow 6th grader who’s sweet on our daughter, or anything about penises or boobs comes up in conversation. And because I try my best not to be too awkward about addressing our daughters’ questions and concerns about these topics, these topics do come up. A lot. (Or at least, it sure does seem that way.)
Maybe it’s because as a dad, he feels it’s a little too creepy to talk about sex with his daughters. Or maybe he’d be just as gun shy about sharing his thoughts and feelings on the subject if we’d had sons. But either way, I see a few pretty darned good reasons why he should be taking on his share of the sex talk duty.
1. She needs to understand that talking about sex is okay. Yeah, I’m not exactly looking forward to having discussions about the complexities of sex, but the only way to ensure that we keep the lines of communication open with our kiddos is to keep talking. Even if it’s awkward. And even though he’s a guy, my husband is perfectly capable of talking about girl stuff.
2. Sometimes, the guy perspective is really helpful. When my daughter’s eager “boyfriend” was being a little overzealous with the texting—and being a bit too complimentary for the no-nonsense target of his affections—my husband was able to provide the guy’s POV and explain exactly why he was acting so nutty, and give her great advice on how to convince him (gently) to take it down a notch.
3. Dads should get what their daughters are going through. Even though my husband is enlightened enough to pick up a box of tampons, he hasn’t really delved too deeply into the inner workings of my period and I don’t really care to share the ickiest parts of it. But my daughter bravely overshares, so I think he’s starting to understand a little bit more of what we’re both going through. And that’s a good thing!
4. Let’s face it—the sex talk is so much more complex now. When my mom was growing up, my grandmother never even gave her a heads up about her period, let alone a primer on sexuality. But it was definitely a much simpler era. There was no sexting, no online porn, no AIDS. I mean, even TV and movie couples slept in separate beds and everything faded to black when a love scene was about to transpire, so there was no whiff of romance there that could lead to questions and conversation. That means there’s a whole lot more ground to cover today—and it’s tough to manage as a solo act.
5. She’ll know that her dad always has her back. We haven’t (yet) prescribed to that old-fashioned notion of the father scaring off a suitor by showing off his weaponry collection or his boxing trophies. Instead, we’ve focused on helping our daughters become strong and confident (and brown belts in karate and jiu jitsu). But if there ever comes a time that there’s a problem she can’t handle, I hope that she’ll know that she can always count on her dad to help her.
6. It shouldn’t just be the mom’s job. We’re in this parenting thing together, and so it makes sense that we present a united front on our thoughts on dating, premarital sex, and everything else that our kids need to make decisions on as they get older. And the only way for our kids to understand the family line on these is if we both present a united front. Even if it freaks us out.
More on Raising Girls:
- The Best Girl Power Movies to Watch with Your Daughter
- 24 Things I’ll Never Say in Front of My Daughter
- I Refuse to Apologize for Being ‘Attached’ to My Daughter