Sex is one topic we don't shy away from in our house. While uncomfortable at times (most of the time, really), I don't want my kids to think there's anything wrong with the act itself, because (with two consenting adults) it's a beautiful thing. Still, when I look at my children's innocent faces and think back to the ways I learned about sex, I know how important it is they hear it from me. This is why I'll be the one to talk to my son about sex, not his dad.
When I was younger than my daughter is now (she's 10), I learned about sex from things like movies, television shows, and, unfortunately, my dad's porn stash. Needless to say, none of those sources provided me with adequate information. My mom and dad didn't take the time to sit me down at any point and explain any of it. Instead, I relied on all of the above, and whatever kids at school had to add, which was usually incorrect. All of this combined with living in a household where sex was to be saved for marriage meant I had next to no real knowledge about what sex was, how it's done, and, mostly, the consequences of not using contraception.
What really saved me from not catching an STD or getting pregnant (since I didn't know about any of it) was puberty, ironically. When I went through it, I gained so much weight, I retreated into myself, losing any sense of self-worth I'd accumulated. Already an introvert and publicly shy, my body shielded me from romantic attention. I was the girl invited to the parties, only to sit in the corner while everyone else danced and had their first kisses. I remember my heart aching; I longed to experience the same things, but something deeply seeded — my understanding of sex, romance, and intimacy — affected everything.
My kids have their father in their life full-time, which is vastly different from splitting my childhood between two divorced parents, but even in having my partner here and willing to speak to our kids — particularly our son — about sex, I much prefer to take the responsibility because, from my point-of-view, the woman's position in regards to sex is so much more delicate and should be treated with a certain level of respect. As a feminist mother hoping to raise self-aware, compassionate beings who will one day make their own decisions, I insist on being the one to handle the one topic I struggled with most of my life. Because maybe, in hearing my views, opinions, and reassurances, they'll understand how powerful sex is — good and bad.