Growing Up White: Communication and…SEX!!!

As I’ve written in the past, we talked about anything and everything in the family as we grew up. Probably the most hard to accept by others I have encountered over my life is sex.  Many simply cannot believe how at ease we were discussing sex with our parents, especially mom.  Even the woman in my last relationship (and probably the last I will ever have – more on that later), a medical doctor, was uneasy with my frank nature.  But it was simply one other topic open for discussion.

Mom wanted children who would become adults that were respectful and empathetic with their partners in every way.  Part of this is likely due to her relationship with dad.  We “found” (okay, it was left out on their dresser, so not really hidden) a book: How To Make Love To A Woman.  Of course mom had no problem talking about it and explaining it: “your father needs to learn what foreplay is”.   We were encouraged to learn what our partners enjoyed, to pay attention to their needs.  Mom knew that kids talked, and she wanted us to have accurate information and not the hearsay and misinformation of gossip.

Part of “sex talk” included being able to ask any question we wanted.  Of course, “I won’t get into the specifics of what your father and I do…” but we could ask anything.  Mom saw sex as a natural expression of love and intimacy  It is something that both parties should enjoy.  While mom had hoped we would limit our activities to marriage, she was also realistic.  She knew how emotions, hormones, and physical needs are a part of life. That included masturbation (“I would prefer you took care of it yourself rather than get some girl pregnant”) and premarital sex (“if you’re going to do it, for God’s sake use a condom”).  And this was all before that era of AIDS.

This openness extended to talking about when we lost our virginity.  I won’t go into the specifics of my siblings, you’ll have to ask them.  But I still remember when I told my parents that I was no longer a virgin.  I had the good fortune to have my first time (well, first three times) be with a girl who was, and still is, a beautiful person, both inside and out.  As with many people’s first, she still holds a special place in my heart more than thirty years later.  We were both kids, seniors in high school, and I thought I was in love. Our relationship didn’t last all that long (how many did in high school?), but obviously long enough.  Anyway, one of the awards I received in high school was winning the local Elks’ scholarship (and third in the state, and in the top 125 in the country, blah blah blah), so my parents and I attended an Elks meeting where I would receive special recognition.

If you remember the old Elks lodge in Kellogg (don’t remember if it’s still there), you know it had a lounge in the basement and their meeting hall upstairs. We were sitting at one of the tables, waiting to be allowed upstairs, drinking soft drinks.  Dad had gone to the restroom, and mom and I were talking.  I don’t remember what she said that prompted it, but I know it was somehow related to waiting until marriage or something like that.  I think I just smiled “that smile” and looked away.  That prompted a “Randall!!!” So I spilled the beans.  No, I was no longer a virgin. No, it wasn’t this girl it was that girl. Yes, we used protection. When dad got back to the table, the first thing mom said was, “I think your son has something to tell you…”

Were my parents shocked?  Nope.  Were they surprised?  Nope.  Were they upset with me?  Nope.  Did they want me to feel at ease talking to them about it?  Absolutely.  The point was always open communication, sharing of accurate information, being able to talk about any topic at any time.

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