I Had 'The Talk' With My Gay Daughter and Got Specific
My daughter's knowledge of sex comes from a combination of school instructional settings—which focus on periods and the dangers of heterosexual intercourse—and various age-inappropriate TV shows. She recently figured out the information she gets on TikTok isn't exactly reliable, so one night last week, without warning, I got hit with the big question: How do gay women have sex?
My daughter knows she can ask me about these things, despite the fact that I'm not gay and, according to her, I am old and I don't know things. That being said, she knows I'm a good mythbuster and I've made a point of plopping myself down next to her when she's watching TV without saying anything. This gives her an opening to talk to me about whatever's on her mind, pressure-free. And so it began.
'What do lesbians do?'
"Do they just lie on top of each other, mashing their boobs into each other?" she asked, stuck on the trope of the male-female missionary position so prevalent on TV. "Do they have to use dildos? And what is a dildo?"
I explained what a dildo was, and she nodded—she'd seen pictures. She'd been indoctrinated with the idea that sex meant penises, real or artificial. But so many different parts of the body can give us pleasure, I told her, and intercourse is simply one option.
"So what do two women do?" she asked me.
I admitted I had limited knowledge of lesbian sex, but I did know it wasn't about trying to re-create heterosexual, missionary position sex. I asked if she knew what a clitoris was; she did. I said I assumed there was lots of touching and kissing, and oral sex would probably be a big part of it…and then had to explain what oral sex was to my 13-year-old. Her response was quick, "I don't want to kiss anybody's hairy pussy!"
Was this a discussion I ever expected to have with my child when I first looked at her wee face for the first time? In a way, yes. I decided to tell her about a conversation I had with my mom when I was about nine years old, which went as follows:
Me: When do you know you're ready to do all that sex stuff?
Mom: When you want to.
Me (relieved): Great! Then I'm never going to want to!
Mom: Then you never have to.
And I skipped away happily.
For my daughter, I added that things would change for her, at some point she would want to do things, and reiterated that then (and only then) should she consider doing them. The old-fashioned cautionary sex tale centers around boys pressuring girls, but even when boys aren't in the picture, there can still be pressure from all kinds of sources: social media (especially the juggernaut of TikTok), friends and future girlfriends, too. She isn't even ready to kiss anybody yet, she said, which surprised me a little—when I was her age, I yearned for it.
But we weren't done.
"And what's phone fucking?" she asked.
I gave her the wrong answer at first. Turns out she's right: I'm old and I don't know things. I assumed she meant phone sex, which was a thing when I was younger, when late-night TV was filled with ads for phone sex lines, and a friend of mine worked for one on the administrative side.
Another mom clued me in. "There are attachments," she told me, "and the whole thing looks very unsanitary." She sent a photo.
I got back to my daughter a few days later to update her on what I'd learned. The whole dildo-attached-to-a-phone concept had no appeal.
What really matters
The bottom line is I want my kid to know sex is normal and beautiful, and is about your own state of readiness and interest. Maybe she doesn't want to lick anybody's hairy pussy because she's 13 and maybe she'll never want to or maybe she'll want to tomorrow. Maybe she needs time to work out the connection between romance and sex.
She took me by surprise, and made me laugh about it later, but I know I'm lucky to have a kid who may be annoyed by me and fight with me but still brings me the big stuff. If she's going to ask, I owe it to her to answer. And I'm thankful for that.