For many of us, having the "sex talk" with your parents is a cringe-worthy memory. My dad sat my brother and I down, and started reading from a book called 10 Talks You Should Have With Your Children. After he got three sentences in, he just rolled his eyes and said we could go back to our rooms. Sexual education complete.
But having "the talk" with your parents can be hugely helpful — because sex education is letting young people down in a big way today. "The biggest issue with traditional sexual health education is that there is too little of it," Debra Hauser, President of Advocates for Youth tells Bustle. "...There is a movement afoot and more schools are beginning to implement a comprehensive approach to sexual health education. But too many continue to teach abstinence-only education, failing to educate young people about the health benefits of contraception and condoms and leaving them unprepared as they develop into older adolescents." So "the talk" can make a huge difference.
But how many people actually have "the talk" — and just how awkward is it? Well, in a new Reddit thread users shared their own experiences about how old they were when it happened and just how uncomfortable it was. There was a huge range of ages and experiences, so it's interesting to see how different families approach it. Here's what they had to say.
1No Big Secret
I wish more parents were like this. Kids are naturally intuitive, so there's probably going to be a time when they just straight up ask — why not take the opportunity to be honest about sex?
I really don't understand what went on here, but it seems about as coherent as the one I got. They both seem to be pretty chill about it, though.
3An Awkward Book
I love the idea of an awkward mom leaving a sex book and then trying to ask really nonchalantly if they've seen it. But hey, it's better than nothing.
Yup, a surprising number of people just didn't have "the talk" at all. Here's hoping their schools had decent sex ed programs.
4The Big 2-0
That's some parents for you — they catch you having sex as a teenager, but still awkwardly trying to give you the talk four years later.
5Porn Has All The Answers?
OK, full disclaimer, porn does not have all the answers. It's often not a realistic portrayal of sex at all, but, like many people, this person basically had it as a sex-ed replacement.
6Nothing Could Save You
Thirteen seemed to be a really popular age for parents to give "the talk", which means you're just old enough to know you're probably going to have to sit through it, but not old enough to escape by claiming you know it all.
7Something About Condoms
Can we just take a minute to appreciate the phrase "whilst my dad was a horndog"? because that's my new favorite thing.
8Periodically Over The Years
This probably isn't a bad way to do it. I bet it's less awkward than one big talk.
9They Just Want One Thing
Well, that's one version of "the talk". A lot of young women I knew were told similar things. It's amazing any of us grew up to have healthy relationships.
10Roseanne To The Rescue
ALL LIFE LESSONS SHOULD COME VIA ROSEANNE. THE END.
11Good Old Dial Up
Lesson learned. Hopefully many of us will take advantage of our parents' mistakes as a learning opportunity for if we're ever parents.
12YOU SHOULD READ THIS
At least it was a biology textbook so, you know, there was hopefully some actually useful information in there.
13The Guy From 'Star Trek' Talking About Wet Dreams
I really, really don't remember that episode of Reading Rainbow.
I think very few people feel genuinely comfortable having "the talk" with their parents, but it seems like the more honest and frank adults are about sex, the better. It may be awkward, but it's a really important discussion to have.