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AmWiser's avatar

How did your parents tell you about the 'birds and the bees'?

Asked by AmWiser (14927points) March 15th, 2011

I don’t remember what my Mom told me (too many years ago to remember). I vaguely remember talking to my oldest daughter about the ‘birds and the bees’ although she says she can’t remember. Than I remember giving my youngest daughter a book to read and telling her if she wanted to talk or discuss anything to come to me. I know, I know that was the cowardly way out.

What do you remember about your parent(s) telling you about the ‘birds and the bees’? Is it still called talking about the ‘bird and the bees’? Did your parents give you good information that helped you in your love life or growing up?

If you have children coming of age now, are you prepared to discuss the ‘birds and the bees’, or are you going to give them a book to read?

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56 Answers

everephebe's avatar

A large book was given to me by my mom. [300+pages w/diagrams]

nellybar's avatar

My mum gave me a booklet about it, but that was as far as any discussion went. It did help somewhat, but made me less likely to approach my mum about any of it. I learnt more through school education.

When I have children Id like to think Id be more willing to talk about it, but I may just give them a booklet to read in the end!

DominicX's avatar

I remember learning about puberty in a biological sense in school before my parents talked to me about it, though they did not long afterward (especially since I had questions for them). I remember my mom was the first one who actually told me what the act of sex consisted of…of course no one said anything to me about homosexuality, not my parents or the school. I will definitely talk to my kids about homosexuality when the “sex ed” age comes up.

But basically, my parents were telling me about it at the same I was learning about it in school. 5th-6th grade, when I was 10/11. Of course, being a later bloomer, it was a long time before I myself would go through puberty, so I was ahead of the game a bit. :P

SpatzieLover's avatar

Being exposed to farm animals at a young age, I had to be told very early. When you see cows do it as a child it can be a bit horrifying I thought the bull was killing a heifer

My parents just told me what sex was in very plain, no holds barred speech from about 3 on.

I chuckled when I saw this question. I got a “Birds” question today from my 5yr old son. “How do the baby birds get in the egg?” I asked him what he though happened, after I said “The mommy and the daddy bird had to have sex first”. He then replied, “So that’s a lot of kissing, right?...I think the mommy and daddy share germs when they kiss, then God puts the baby in the egg and makes their eyes and wings develop”. I said “Wow, you’re pretty close. I’ll explain it better after I have some lunch”.

Now I have to go find a couple of books in our home library. ;) He’ll find out all of the details soon. I left him with, “In this house, the rules are you have to be married before you have sex to make babies.”

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

From a distance…in hushed tones.;)

xjustxxclaudiax's avatar

Never…I learned about the birds and the bees at school.
Of course my parents wouldn’t dare tell my little sisters either….I had to tell them myself >_<

Austinlad's avatar

I didn’t get much info from my folks about the birds and bees, but I do recall asking my dad when I was very young what masturbation was and wondering why he raced out of the room just mumbling. Years later my mother told me he had come to her and said I was asking something he didn’t feel comfortable answering, would she handle it. She didn’t. It took my friend Paul to provide the lurid details.

TexasDude's avatar

They didn’t, really.

If the word “sex” was ever even mentioned, mom would go bonkers God bless her, she just doesn’t want to think about her baby growing up.. Dad, being a devout Christian, as well as a healthcare worker, took a rather awkward, but slightly more constructive approach. He basically told me, in timid tones, that he had sex before he was married and that I shouldn’t, but if I do, I should use a condom, but I really shouldn’t anyway and if I had any questions I should ask him. I didn’t. He also told me, for some reason, that girls would still like me even if I wasn’t tall, blond, and muscular.

My paternal grandmother gave me a book called “What’s Going on Down There” that talked about how dick size doesn’t matter lol and that sex is messy, but fun, and that STDs (illustrated as little monsters and trolls) could totally fuck up your day if you aren’t careful. Problem is, she gave me this book when I was 17 about the same time I had started experiencing the joys of vaginas first hand, sans penile penetration. That didn’t happen until I was 20.

Most of my formative experiences with sexual knowledge, however questionable they may be, came from a guy named Eric in elementary school. He was a real hoodlum, pushed back two grades from 5th grade into my 3rd grade class. He told us all as we sat in stunned silence that if you didn’t masturbate daily, your penis would turn green and fall off, that you had to put your entire package in a girl’s vagina for sex to work, and that the average penis was 15 inches long. He was eventually expelled for bringing a pair of boob ear muffs to school that the little blue haired cafeteria ladies discovered.

Being a smart kid, I pretty much figured everything out for myself, despite the fact that nobody really talked to me about it truthfully. At least I developed mostly normally, I suppose.

erichw1504's avatar

They didn’t, I had the internet.

Scooby's avatar

The only thing I can think of that my mother had to do with me finding out about the “birds & the bees” was hiring the sitter who basically showed me :-/
she was studying biology so hit the books when she was over… that’s all I’m saying.. ;-)
Yeah ya gotta love them sitters…..

janbb's avatar

Not sure if they even had birds and bees back then.

wundayatta's avatar

They didn’t. They took us to a movie at the school. Warped my idea of sex for years. I thought you needed to be animated!

theninth's avatar

I think I was about five? It was a picture book that started with animals (chickens, dogs, cats, cows, and then ended with humans. Nothing graphic, kinda scientific. I don’t even really know why the “where babies come from” talk was had, except maybe my friend’s mother was pregnant and we had questions.

What I really remember more than anything was that the illustrations for the dogs were really cute and I wanted a puppy.

downtide's avatar

My parents didn’t teach me anything about it at all. I learned partly from spending most of my childhood on a farm, and partly from porn.

filmfann's avatar

Mine didn’t as well. Learned part at sex education classes in school, more from talking with other guys who didn’t know anything they hadn’t read in Playboy, and from the movies.
By the way, Playboy is the WRONG place to learn about sex. You end up having sex with a girl for the first time, and trying to fist her.

TexasDude's avatar

Playboy has fisting in it now? Shit, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a Playboy, apparently. 0_o

YoBob's avatar

Well, having grown up spending quite a bit of time at “the ranch”, they really didn’t have to do much explaining. Anyone who has ever had anything at all to do with livestock learns pretty darned quickly about how that whole breeding thing works.

JustJessica's avatar

I wasn’t told. I had to figure it out by myself, or in school, or by other kids at school.

ragingloli's avatar

They did not.
School FTW.

OpryLeigh's avatar

My mum sat me down when I was about 5 years old, with a sex education book and, basically, told me. I’m really grateful to her for that.

Anemone's avatar

I learned about it in school, for the most part. However, I do remember asking my mom when I was little and she said something like, “when a man and a woman love each other, they get very close….” Of course, after hearing that I was afraid to be anywhere near boys for years afterwards!

JLeslie's avatar

I remember being very young, maybe 5 or 6 and asking how babies are made, and my dad told me the man puts his penis inside of the woman’s vagina and it can make a baby. I remember being kind of like, huh? I still don’t get it. A year later more or less, my parents bought the book, “Where Did I Come From?” And so then I understood more, but still seemed kind of odd.

For several years I was after I was disinterested in the whole thing. Until sex became more of a topic of fun and social pressure, rather than focusing on how sex made babies.

I also will mention that we had sex ed in 5th grade, basically learning about our periods. I think in jr. High? And, for sure in 10th grade.

Sunny2's avatar

My mom borrowed a physician’s chart from a friend. It showed a diagram of the female organs. Mom was so embarrassed and nervous that I didn’t get the message at all. I learned the details about menstruation from 14 year old friends as we, one by one, experienced it.
Having sex was not mentioned by my mom. When I was in 4th grade, a third grade boy told me about that fucking and that you could get a baby doing it. I didn’t learn that it was the only way you could get a baby until I was about 13. (They didn’t have artificial insemination etc at that time.) Maybe that’s part of the reason I was a late bloomer.

lonelydragon's avatar

My mom was like @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard.‘s She was allergic to the mention of any sexually related topic. When I was in elementary school and I asked what it was, she told me to look it up in the encyclopedia (which, being a voracious reader, I did). She was equally reluctant to talk about menstruation with me, and I couldn’t ask classmates about it because I started before just about everyone else. So medical textbooks and Judy Blume books were my primary source of knowledge.

Berserker's avatar

They really didn’t tell me any weird fairytales. My dad pretty much just explained to me how it happens, although he wasn’t descriptively graphic with his words. It sounded more like a science teacher trying not to use too many big words lol.
Although for the longest time, I used to think that when people had sex, they didn’t need to move. I thought that the man put his penis in the woman’s vagina and they just stayed still like that and the work did itself lol.

etignotasanimum's avatar

I had a sex ed class, and the parental units may have said something along the lines of “we know that you’ll want to do that sort of thing eventually, but know that you never have to do that sort of thing unless you want to. Don’t be pressured into it,” and so on. However, my dad was actually the one who explained menstruation to me. I had a friend in third grade who had started hers, and the parental units figured that I needed to know in case I was an early bloomer as well. It was really awkward, because my dad didn’t really know what to say so started off the conversation and then left for work. This left my mom with my sister and me, confused about what the hell Dad had just said to us (we were 9 and 7 years old), and having to continue where he’d left off. I managed to forget about that incident until a few years later when I had to take sex ed in school, and then I realized what Dad had been (poorly) explaining.

talljasperman's avatar

I had cable… I told them

shego's avatar

My dad told me that the firetruck had to go inside the station, and relieve pressure.
My parents were very open, and were willing to answer any questions I had. I know I threw some curves in their path. My parents both sat down with me when I was about 5 and told me. My best friends mom was pregnant, and I wanted to know where babies came from.
They told me truthfully, and showed me pictures in from a book. I then told them that I never wanted to have sex.
But by the time I got in 3rd grade, and had the “how your body works” class, my parents went over it again.
But I even when I was in high school, I asked my mom questions. I respect both of my parents for their honesty.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Wow, so many of our parents were incompetent on the topic, it’s a wonder we mostly made it okay. My parents never talked to me about sex. When I was young, mom mumbled something about it being about intimacy. Later on, when she caught me masturbating, she took me to the doctor in horror. I learned about everything on my own and I was a good kid, mom knew that. I always used protection and when I had sex, I told her and she said ‘Well, as long as you keep a good head on your shoulders…’ and that was that. Father never talked to me about anything of value.

Facade's avatar

My situation was kind of like @Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard in that my parents were Christians and never spoke about sex.
My mom left a book on my bed the day after she caught me masturbating. Woopsie! I don’t remember if I read it or not, and I guess I just learned about it on my own.

MacBean's avatar

They didn’t. I learned from books that I hunted down myself. And a little ‘playing doctor’ with friends, based on what I’d read. If I hadn’t been curious, seventh grade health class would’ve taught me what I found out on my own when I was six or seven years old.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

They didn’t. I was a pretty precocious kid and went to a private school that went over the process of pregnancy and birth for animals and humans.

My parents were more mortified by what I knew and understood because it made other adults uncomfortable. I got a serious beating one afternoon for detailing to my very pregnant babysitter exactly how she got that way.

When I was a teenager, I wasn’t having sex but I wanted to so I told my mom I wanted to go to a Planned Parenthood and get birth control pills- she scoffed at me and told me I didn’t need them. I think I was so humiliated that it contributed to me avoiding sex until several years later.

XOIIO's avatar

A laptop.They typed porn into google, hit enter and left the room.

lol jk, they didnt do shit

Bellatrix's avatar

My step-mother sat with her back to me, she was sewing on an industrial sewing machine. I sat behind on a sofa, trying to listen over the roar of the sewing machine. Thankfully… (since this woman SERIOUSLY believed gender was determined by the ovary the egg is released from) I couldn’t hear much of what she said and had already talked about sex with friends and had the sex ed class at school.

cak's avatar

@Fiddle Playing Creole Bastard- lurve for “God bless her”...I was thinking the same phrase for my mother!

My mother’s answer was the same as some of the jellies above me. She bought a book. I think, though, with me she knew the cousins and my older sister would step in and inform me of the details. She was right, they did. they did have me convinced that babies came from watermelon seeds. I was pretty young.

I’m surprised I ever had sex.

I did the opposite with my daughter. I answered things in an age-appropriate manner. Now I have a son that is starting to ask a few questions. Right now, he’s stuck on kissing, particularly French kissing. thank you, older boy on the bus that is holding sex ed on the bus.

Bellatrix's avatar

I should say with my own children, I answered their questions honestly and at an age appropriate level as they asked. That worked perfectly for us. I also bought my children books so if they were shy about asking questions (they never appeared to be though) they had a reliable source of information.

SavoirFaire's avatar

My mother is a nurse, so I got the technical version from her around age 12. My father taught me about respect for women. Rather than just sit me down and tell me what to do, that was a long series of conversations that took place between the ages of 3 and 18. Some of them wouldn’t have looked like they were “birds and bees” conversations, but they were.

And of course, both taught me to respect women through their actions.

El_Cadejo's avatar

They didnt. I more of a look and learn type anyway :P

Seelix's avatar

I got the period talk from my mom when I was 10 or 11. She was pretty awesome about it, now that I think of it. She told me all the details and answered my questions. We didn’t talk about sex, though – I had learned the basics of how babies were made in school, and after that I just consulted the “Sex for Dummies” book that my best friend was given by her grandmother.

mattbrowne's avatar

I got a book as a present when I was 14.

erichw1504's avatar

The birds go “chirp, chirp” and the bees go “buzz, buzz”.

Wait, what are we talking about?

Scooby's avatar

I think my Ex-wife read that book but misinterpreted it ‘how to have sex like a mannequin’ :-/

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Mom finally talked to me about it last year a month before I turned 49 and she was 85. It was an interesting conversation considering that she’s never had sex. And if you don’t believe me, ask any of my siblings, and you’ll get the same story.

TexasDude's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer Mom finally talked to me about it last year a month before I turned 49 and she was 85. It was an interesting conversation considering that she’s never had sex. And if you don’t believe me, ask any of my siblings, and you’ll get the same story.

…does not compute.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard Silly, it is tongue-in-cheek, at least 50% of it. Mom told me that the elder two were conceived because she had been putting her diaphragm in upside down. #3 was teased by the others for being so different from the rest of us, and #4 (me) has a strong belief that my older sister is really my mother.

MajorDisappointment's avatar

At my mother’s insistence, the subject was completely avoided in my family of origin.
I overheard my father telling my mother, that in order to discuss the subject with me,
he needed a push over the cliff, that he did never got.

Since then, I paid to be trained to be able to discuss anything, with anybody, even my kid.

TexasDude's avatar

@Pied_Pfeffer, ah, I gotcha. My apologies, m’dear!

KennyTheWolf's avatar

Nope, I already know…...everything.

incendiary_dan's avatar

I figured it out for myself. Still haven’t totally figured out why I need to swallow so many bees, though.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m a third child. So that meant that my mom told me, when I was 10 or 11, that I could come and talk to her about anything. By that time I had long since found, The Joy of Sex which is a very complete a-z how to have sex book, although the people in the original are very hairy lol. We (my sibs and I) would all talk about it. I remember asking my older sister just what a blow job was (apparently I hadn’t gotten to that section in the book). I could never have gone to my mother about sex at that time in my life.

I learned all about my period from a class at school.

I was determined to raise my kids in a manner in which they wouldn’t feel awkward. My oldest started asking me questions when he was 4. I put him off for two years and then started answering his questions. He was 6 when we ended up having a three hour conversation because every answer I gave him morphed into at least 4 more questions. We ended up covering everything from heterosexual sex/relationships to gay sex/relationships and many alternative sexual relationships. I emphasized respect throughout the conversation.

My daughter has been a bit different. She doesn’t ask questions. So a couple of years ago we went for a drive together (so she couldn’t run away) and we talked about it. We’ve had more conversations since then, but those conversations have always been like pulling teeth.

I ended up messing up with my youngest. But since that time I’ve had more conversations with him and I have more to do.

Kayak8's avatar

I have always had interest in medical things, so I pretty much learned what I wanted to know from the Taber’s Medical Dictionary.

When my mom decided to sit me down and have the talk, she said (and I am NOT kidding):

Don’t sleep with boys
You’ll get VD
You’re allergic to penicillin
And you will die

Any questions?

The only question I had was “does all your hair turn grey as you age (Taber’s didn’t cover that). My 30 something Mom (at the time) said, “I have absolutely no idea.”

And that was the end of the conversation. Now I suppose we can chat about the impact of my mother’s “talk” on my sexual orientation. In my mind, “obviously, if I sleep with girls, I won’t die.” And that has worked for me for the past 30 years.

SofaKingWright's avatar

When I asked when the ‘time of the month’ starts, I got ‘masturbation’ and ‘menstruation’ confused. I ended up asking my mother when I start ‘masturbating’. Anyway she looked pretty confused and shocked, but I couldn’t understand why…

AmWiser's avatar

@SofaKingWright Welcome to Fluther.;-)

El_Cadejo's avatar

@SofaKingWright lol thats brilliant. I can only imagine the look on your mothers face :P

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