My children are getting older... which wasn't part of the deal when they were infants, but OK, whatever. And as they get older the challenges I face as their mom change. Homework, playground politics, personal responsibility, and also Big Important Issues are now at play. What is death? What is all this scary stuff on the news? What is sex? How do we, as parents, answer these questions? What can kids handle? What's appropriate? A lot of people, reasonably, discuss sex in terms of "making babies." I think that's an important component, but I'm not telling my kids that sex is about reproduction.
I mean, obviouslysex can be about reproduction. But, usually, it really isn't. Think about your own sex life and the sex you've had over the course of your life. Your honor, I rest my case. So while I think describing it to kids as "the way people and animals make babies" is probably easier for parents and caregivers, it's also painfully insufficient and far from a satisfactory answer. I think they can know, in various age-appropriate ways, that human sexuality is a rich tapestry, full of lots of different motivations. And, honestly, even with the most open and honest parents, there's a ton about sex and sexuality that we'll never explain or discuss with our kids. That's OK, too! To be honest, I'd rather not get into the subject of blueberry fetishes with my kids if I can help it.
But I do think it's important to let my kids know that sexuality is, in fact, a tapestry, and not, like, a strictly functional but sort of nice dish towel (to continue with my textile metaphor). Not only do I think the approach is more accurate, but I also think the messages it sends (and doesn't send) is important for kids to hear. So with that in mind, here's why the whole "we only have sex to reproduce" sex lesson isn't a lesson I'm willing to teach my kids: