‘What I did when my son turned to me and asked, “Dad… what’s a rim job?”’

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“Dad. What’s a rim job?”

My kids, aged 10 and 11, appear to be years ahead in everything except school work. 

I’m living in a sea of expletives and sexual innuendos and have all but given up on punishing them for swearing.

The strange thing is that this gutter mouth never finds its way into the classroom or other people’s homes.  It’s a special treat reserved only for us.

“Oh he is so polite.”

“His manners are impeccable.”

“What a delight he was with our young ones.”

“He’s such a good boy.”

“He even took his dishes to the dishwasher…”

Eh. What? Really. We talking about the same kids?

So should I really come down hard on them at home when they want to blow off some steam, stick their hands down their pants and discuss rim jobs? 

“Dad is anal sex when two penises touch?” I’m asked on the way to footy training. Oh boy.

“No. Zak. It’s not,” scoffs Max, my nearly 12-year-old, who proceeds to tell him what it really means.

“Gross,” says Zak.

“How often do you and Mum have sex?” asks Zak.

I pause.

“So. Some things are not appropriate for me to discuss. That is one of them. I’m glad you feel comfortable asking me. But I won’t be answering that.” 

“At least two,” laughs Max.

 I have a couple of comedians.

 “Dad have you ever given someone a blow job?” I swear this came out my kid’s mouth one night at dinner.

As my broccoli splattered the wall like the final scene in Bonnie and Clyde, I coughed and gagged. 

 “No. Mate. I have not,” I responded. “Do you know what it is?”

 “Yes… I think so.”

 “Have you watched porn dad?” was another late night question.

 Christ.

 “Where is this coming from?” I ask.

 “Have you?”

 “Yes. Have you?”

 “No-oh,” Max replies in semi-disgust.

“Do you want to?”

 “No way.”

 “Ok when you are ready and want to. Let me know. I’ll show you.”

“Anything else you want to know?” I asked, hoping that would be the end of it.

Silence.

Since day dot I have talked penises and vaginas – not doo-doos and front bottoms. We have encouraged openness in this way. Perhaps this is an explanation as to why they feel comfortable asking me all kinds of questions.

 In our family each body part has its proper name.

 There are a number of reasons why I think it is important to use the correct terminology:

  1. Knowing the terminology may make a child less vulnerable to persistent sexual abuse. I have read that prospective offenders may understand that children who are comfortable with the right names for body parts are children whose parents are willing to discuss these subjects, and children who probably will have been told about the kinds of touching that are not OK.
  2. If something inappropriate does happen, knowing the names can help a child get help.
  3. Without proper terminology, children have a very hard time telling someone about inappropriate touching. If a child says someone touched her ‘moo moo’, it would be very difficult for a listener to know.
  4. Teaching children the correct names for body parts helps children develop a healthy, more positive body image, instead of using nicknames that their genitals are something shameful or bad. 
  5. The social discourse in the playground.  When little Jonny tells his friends the ball hit him in his winky tinky you may as well start looking for new schools.

And so it goes on.

Drugs is a blog for another time. But we have had many conversations about weed, cocaine and the impact of ice. I hope early conversations will give them enough confidence and knowledge to say no when the time comes.

Boys are inquisitive. They want to know about everything.

I want them to feel like nothing is off limits. But that can backfire.

“Dad. How many times do you wank?”

Oh for f*ck sake.

For more from Rob Harris, follow him at his blog ‘Dads Not Mums’ or on Facebook.

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