By Alex Temblador
For any parent, the sex talk can be daunting. But what if you are a gay dad or mom? Have you ever considered how you might have the sex talk with your kids? And would it be different than the one that you experienced with your parents as a child?
Rob Watson is a regular contributor to The Next Family and the host of the Next Family YouTube channel vlogs, “A Gay Dad Coffee Chat with Rob Watson.” One of his latest videos tackles the subject of the sex talk, but in a way that is insightful and helpful to any parent. He explains how to have the sex talk with children without confining it to hetero-normative standards.
When Rob was considering having the sex talk with his children he noticed something:
“The one thing I noticed as a gay dad…was [the sex talk] always came from the ‘where babies come from’ place. Which is fine because that’s a really big question for kids.”
However, Rob realized that having the sex talk in terms of ‘where babies come from’ as a gay man might present some challenges:
“It was then going to be a talk that I was going to have with my kids that I didn’t actively have a part in. Because guess what? Never had s-e-x for the purpose of having a baby…The talk was going to be about some theoretical thing that other people have done that I was never an active participant in which didn’t make a lot of sense to me.”
So how was he going to go about having the sex talk with his children? Rob shared a message from his cousin Erin who was experiencing something similar with her daughter.
“How are you addressing [the sex talk] with your kids? Because I want to know some pointers on addressing it to my daughter and I don’t want her to feel boxed in by some hetero-normative standards. Whoever she’s going to be—I want her to not look back on that talk like I was forcing her into something.”
LGBT sex education in schools is almost non-existent in the U.S. and many parents don’t consider that their children may be gay, bisexual, or transgender when giving the sex talk. This presents a problem: thousands of LGBT children who aren’t getting the necessary information about having sex, and even more children who aren’t learning that sex is not always concerned with reproduction and that it covers a larger spectrum than just the hetero-normative standard.
Before Rob could even sit his sons down to have the sex talk, they brought it up during a drive to school. His son Jesse said to Rob that his brother, Jason, claimed the ‘F-word” meant “sex.”
Rob had to explain that it did mean sex and then asked his sons: “Do you guys even know what sex is?”
Their response: “People get naked and they kind of do stuff.”
They didn’t know what “the stuff” is.
Rob found himself in a situation where he felt compelled at that moment to have the sex talk.“When you are an adult and you want to be very intimate with someone that you are very close with and feel like you can be completely naked with and want to share that of yourself, these are things adults do.” He then described different sex acts.
He still thought it relevant to explain ‘where babies come from’ but in his own way:
“When you happen to be a man and woman and you do this, that’s how sperm goes into the woman and could potentially fertilize and egg and create a baby. That’s what sex and intimacy is about.”
By the end of the conversation, Jason is covering his ears saying, “La, la, la.”
Rob asks his son, Jesse, “Did that make sense?”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” Jesse said, “Good-bye childhood.”
Rob is also known for his (sometimes controversial) letters that are published on The Next Family, so it is no surprise that he wrote a letter to his sons for when they become teenagers. Rob shares the letter with viewers.
In the letter, Rob touches on the most important part of having the sex talk. It’s the part of the sex talk that parents should always consider when speaking to their children about sex, relationships, and dating. It’s the part of the sex talk, when we stop talking about sex and we focus on something more important: love. In the letter, Rob has the “love talk” with his kids—the type of love he hopes his kids experience, the love he has for kids, and how that love as a father will be accepting of who his children come to love.
“Someday you will fall in love. As we have talked about, there are men who fall in love with women…and then there are men who fall in love with men, like Papa and I did.
As you develop into the men you are going to be your instincts will tell you which of these you are. Your instincts may also tell you that you are both. I don’t know.
Here’s the important point, however. I won’t care. I only care that you be happy and be the best you can be.
I won’t care about your gender or ethnicity of your future spouse. All I will care about is that you honor and nurture each other and support each other as value and that neither lose their identity behind the desires of the other.
There are things you will win, there are things you will lose, and through each, you will have a champion, your dad.
In our house, closets are now and in the future, foreclosed.”