I was driving my daughters and one of Cindy’s friends home from school the other day and I had the radio on. I’m usually listening to NPR or my iPod but my daughter’s friend requested a specific station. When I tuned in to that station after the ads it played Rhianna’s song “S & M”. Immediately they started singing. I bit my tongue while I drove, fully aware that the three girls knew all of the lyrics to this song and were singing at the top of their lungs. But I didn’t say a word.
Then, the other day I was again riding in the car with Marcia and Cindy. Rhianna’s song came on the radio again and the girls started singing it loud and proud.
I may be bad, but I'm perfectly good at it
Sex in the air, I don't care, I love the smell of it
Sticks and stones may break my bones
But chains and whips excite me
Na na na
Come on, come on, come on
I like it-like it
When the song ended, I asked my daughters if they knew what the song was about. Cindy answered right away,
Cindy: “It’s about sex.”
Me: “Well, the song is called S & M. The S stands for sadism and the M stands for masochism.”
Cindy: “What do those words mean?”
Me: “Those are words that roughly mean inflicting pain on someone or having someone inflict pain on you.”
Marcia: “But what does S & M have to do with sex?”
Me: “It’s funny because most people think S & M is about sex. S & M isn’t always just about sex. Sometimes it’s about taking control or giving up power. Or sometimes it’s about pleasure and pain.
Marcia: “How can sex have anything to do with pain?”
Me: “Well, have you ever been spanked and instead of hurting it actually felt kinda good?”
Marcia chuckled and smiled: “Yeah.”
And that was it. I start the conversation by asking a question, seeking to find out how much they know. But I allow the girls to drive the conversation as far as How Much they want to know. Then I try to answer as best I can with one sentence.
This very frank conversation with them is intended to be simply information sharing. I’m doing this with my 7 & 8 year olds but I think they get it because we’ve been talking about this stuff for a while now. If your kids are older it’s not too late. You will probably be amazed by what they do already know. I guess this dialog above is also an example of how to start such a conversation with your kids. I’m not saying it is always easy; just that it gets easier with practice. And please note, these conversations are not about sexual positions, or STI’s, or reproductive biology. It’s about the stuff we encounter on a daily basis while living our lives.
If we can just be honest with our kids they can begin to understand the intricacies of sex and sexuality. So many adults I talk to wish their parents would have been comfortable talking to them when they were kids…well here is your chance; if we talk about these topics openly and honestly our kids won’t have that same complaint. Bigger, more complex conversations will come, I’m sure. But having these little chats, early and often make those that will come later easier in my honest opinion.
As for Marcia’s comprehension of the spanking aspect, some of you may have a similar recollection. Personally, I recall birthdays growing up where each kid had to go through “The Spanking Machine”: The birthday kid had to crawl on their hands and knees through the legs of the other kids and get one spanking along the way from each kid. Or another variation was to get the same number of spanks for your age. (Core Erotic Theme anyone??)
As for me I enjoy the power and control aspect. At our elementary school, every parent is requested to fill a slot in traffic duty to make traffic run smoother for kid drop off and pick up. This has to be one of my favorite parent volunteer opportunities because I get to boss other people around. There are always parents who don’t follow the rules when arriving at school and I’m pretty good at whipping them into line. For a while I’ve joked about dressing up as a dominatrix to do traffic duty at our school. I would if I didn’t think it would cause too much trouble. Haha! Just kidding. Like I said, sometimes S & M is not about sex.