Father’s Day: I Blame My Dad

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”

Practicing the face

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.

Posted in sex

3 thoughts on “Father’s Day: I Blame My Dad

  1. So how did 3rd-grade Sandra get the notion that the word”sex” was super-icky? Did that come from other kids and teachers? Anyway, this is a very nice article, not only because it describes what sounds like a really special father-daughter relationship, it focuses on the importance of family sex education.
    I’ve been thinking a bit about that lately, since my wife and I are preparing to start have children in the next few years, and the topic happened to come up in discussion with some friends. We live in Oklahoma currently, which is absolutely *horrendous* about school sex education (which is probably why it has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the country), to the point where one of the only two discussions that ever occurred on the subject in my wife’s school involved the librarian explicitly telling them that she would be fired if she answered any of their questions or told them anything other than “don’t do it.” My schools in Illinois and New York were a little better, though they were still pretty vague and obviously uncomfortable in talking about it.
    I have all these great ideas about what a great parent I want to be, and how I would like to discuss gender, biology, and sexuality with my future kid(s) openly, honestly, and continuously (as in, piece-meal, as appropriate to their current age-level) so that they can go into their young adult-hood (infused as it is with crazy hormones and peer pressure) confident about their own knowledge and decisions regarding the subject. I’m just worried, though, that when it actually comes down to it, I’ll flub it, or be too embarrassed to be as open or honest as I want to be or any number of other unforeseen problems. So it makes me feel a little better to hear your story of how your dad was able to do so in much the manner I am hoping to use.
    I was wondering, though, if you were planning on devoting a podcast to the process of discussing sex with children — and particularly teens — also focusing on the subject of young-adult sexuality. I think that would be a fascinating and informative conversation.

    1. How funny you bring this up! I just went camping and we had a few teenage gals in our group. Yes, I would love do eventually do a podcast about talking to kids about sex and especially about how to help budding teens process their own awakening sexuality and the world around them in that new perspective.

      So, thank you for the input. It’s on the long, luxurious list of juicy podcast topics I’ve got planned đŸ™‚

Nerd out here & at the Sex Nerd Sandra facebook page!

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