I know, I know. Father’s Day is not a sexy holiday. It’s a time for family! But it’s also a day to reflect on those who have shaped who we are today and for me, the award for most influential goes to my dad.
You know me as Sex Nerd Sandra. You have my dad to blame for that.
MY DAD, THE STAY-AT-HOME TEACHER
It all started when I was a baby. My parents decided early on that my dad would stay at home while my mom rocked her nursing career. This was perhaps a bit nontraditional at the time, but boy did it work out for me and the kids to follow.
As a stay-at-home dad, he made excellent scrambled eggs, read us bedtime stories and always picked us up on time. However, what I’ll always remember first about my dad is what an excellent teacher he was.
He did more for me than just teach me how to chew with my mouth closed. He taught me how to listen to classical music, how to swing an axe, and possibly most important, my dad taught me about the birds & the bees.
Oh, those bees! Good ol’ Pops knew to sprinkle the sex talk throughout the years instead of saving it up for one epically awkward conversation burned into my shuddering psyche.
So instead, I was able to explain to my fellow fourth grader how babies were made in biologically accurate detail. That might sound weird but this along with other tidbits were very helpful to dispel inaccuracies as we kids grew up.
He also made sure I understood the importance of the foreskin while the society around me has continued to judge it obsolete.
And, funny enough, my dad is the first person with which I learned to negotiate my boundaries around sex.
HOW I LEARNED TO SPELL “SEX”
Although I soaked up every detail when he would patiently tell me about sex basics, I felt utterly uncomfortable. My squinting eyes and wrinkled nose made that pretty clear. I remember being faced with a decision one day when my dad said,
“You know we don’t have to talk about this if you don’t want to.”
Little 8-year-old me was faced with a decision: take the out or face the awkward. I knew I wanted to know about this stuff and I could tell it was important. But there was something super icky about it.
And then my meek little 3rd-grade voice piped up:
“We can talk about it. But can you spell it instead of saying it?”
“You mean, s*e*x* instead of sex?” my dad asked cautiously.
My nose wrinkled at the mention of the word.
“Mm, yeah. That’s better.”
So it became okay when the topic would come up because my dad would spell it, and that gave me the safety I needed to listen. And so it was, for the rest of my growing up, a good thing.
And here I am today, a sex nerd. I blame my dad for this. I blame him for my quest for understanding instead of passing judgement. I blame him for my endless curiosity and my rejection of the status quo.
I blame him for so much because he has taught me so much. And now I’m a teacher, too. Heck, I hope someday someone might blame me for a thing or two.