Parental Rites: Queerty Readers Weigh In On Who Gives The Sex Talk To A Gay Child

photo-31This week, Raising My Rainbow covered the topic of talking to LGBT children about sex and puberty—how much do you say, and who says it?

Queerty readers had some good insights and suggestions for parents of young people of all orientations and gender expressions.

Here’s a sample:

My partner and I raised a boy and a girl. When it came time to give the sex talk, it was much easier to talk to our son. With our daughter, it was awkward and there were questions she had that we really didn’t have good answers for.

Ultimately, I took our daughter to our local chapter of Planned Parenthood. She was 12. The folks there were fantastic. A nurse took my daughter into a private room and talked with her for about an hour. I told them I wanted them to answer any questions she had, that I didn’t need to know what she asked unless she wanted to share it with me, and I told them they could give her any material they felt she needed to better understand the changes her body was going through.

My partner and I did discuss heterosexuality and homosexuality with both our children, and our daughter had a girlfriend for two years in high school before marrying a young man. Our son was definitely heterosexual, with many beautiful girlfriends that left my partner and me actually wondering what the attraction was!

So in raising your sons, I would say give them general information at first, explain both hetero- and homosexuality and let them take the lead with questions. They will ask what they want to know about.   —Mark Allen


Honestly, I don’t think it important, who gives the sex talk only that it is given. My ex-wife was adamant that I not even talk to my son about such matters and I was just as adamant that I would be. My ex-wife is an ultra religious, heterosexual, conservative Republican while I, on the other hand, am a spiritual, bisexual, liberal Democrat with a sprinkling of conservative ideals.

I talked to my son about sexuality in general, not in terms of hetero/homo. I think most parents fail to realize that a lot of same-sex experimentation happens before an opposite-gender encounter. There is a lot of “you show me yours, and I’ll show you mine” experimentation, truth or dare, circle jerks, breast comparison, practice kissing, penile comparison, pubic-hair flashing, ball/ass slapping, locker-room anxiety etc.

I explained to my son at a young age the differences between and fundamental practices of heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality and transgenderism. Letting him know each was valid and would depend on his innate being. A comprehensive talk on STDs is also important but can be done a little later than the initial talk.

Personally I believe an open talk with both parents is the most beneficial, because the child will feel they can come to either parent with questions and not feel ashamed. —Chad


Wouldn’t it be nice if the “sex talk” wasn’t just a one time deal? It bugs me that we look at it like peeling a Band-Aid and that kids only get to hear the info once from their most trusted source.

It should be an open dialogue: If we quit treating sex like a taboo subject, there would be a lot less feeling like we need to hide the information (and that they need to hide from us). I’m sure in this day and age kids are gonna find porn before you can give a sex talk. We should just accept the fact that sex exists, kids are gonna experiment probably before they even hit puberty, and it’s a parent’s responsibility to protect them from the real harm of sex which is STIs and unwanted pregnancy. —dkmagby


Lots of great ideas here. I never knew that Planned Parenthood offered the kind of service that Mark Allen mentions. I definitely agree with dkmagby that there needs to be an ongoing dialogue. Our culture seems to have embraced this idea that the sex talk is some sort of painful ordeal that the family must reluctantly endure like a tribal initiation ceremony. Nobody wants to do it, nobody likes it, but if we don’t do it, or if we do it carelessly, something terrible will happen.

For me, I think I learned about sex mostly from reading: My best friend’s parents, who were quite enlightened, kept a copy of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Sex* on the bookshelf in their living room. And then there was Cosmopolitan magazine, which… okay, I probably shouldn’t even go into the stuff I learned from Cosmo, but let me just say that the  dessert-topping industry owes a huge debt of gratitude to Helen Gurley Brown.

So, yeah, I agree that there should be an ongoing dialogue. But also there needs to be an understanding that you, the parent, might not know all the answers—or  be able to anticipate all the questions—and you don’t have to be the only source of information. —Kurt


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  • ScaryRussianHeather

    I didn’t read the original story and appreciate the thoughtful comments.The headline is: Having a meaningful dialogue with a GAY child about SEX? That’s deep like everyone said.

    This starts WAY before puberty. Like, at BIRTH.

    Sorry ’bout the essay (scroll, then :)) but this is what I think I learned as a sister of a gay man and mom.

    Yes, every kid needs to have the technical body questions addressed by someone who knows what they’re DOING and I would never turn my kid over to ANYONE in private without knowing the person’s intended dialogue and their “philosophies”. For example if you’re going to talk about abortion, the kid has the right to know the physical facts about what that fetus is composed of in what month. This is a hard thing to tell a kid but it has to be done (at the right time) because they’re going to hear about it sooner rather than later and you want to stage it properly. Even if you’re a man and have no clue yourself, it’s a choice you made by parenting.

    Right, it’s an integrated process. Don’t make the mistake of separating physical from emotional. Every kid is born a sponge. Help them absorb. The best gift you can give your kid is the gift of becoming an independent well rounded adult who can create their own healthy productive happy lives. This doesn’t happen easily from overprotecting them or letting them figure it out themselves.

    The most important factor in the sex talk starts when the kid is a BABY and YOU have to help the child develop a sense of self and family (real or created) so they aren’t victim to a continuous string of poor choices trying to fill a void with sex. This all happens before the kid develops sexually. First make sure YOUR relationship is solid or that you can at least agree on the fundamentals presenting a united front. There’s a big difference between recreational sex and getting attached to thinking just because you’re having sex it’s more than it is.

    You don’t have to preach monogamy if your kid realizes that their body is a gift to another person not a bribe.

    Create family rituals. It’s not easy. Yeah, everyone’s busy yada yada. PRIORITIZE. Your family’s health is #1 not having “stuff” or “chilling out”. Start off reading to the kid and having them read for entertainment, bedtime etc – not watching the idiot box. Shut off the TV. If your kids’ lives are busy they won’t need to spend hours alone on social media and cellphones. Control the computer, internet and cellphones. Don’t allow pop culture shallow morons to become heroes. Introduce fabulous gay icons of course because, well it’s obvious. Some of my family’s best memories were blasting show tunes at brunch on Sunday and laughing.

    Do family things together. Get up early and do things. Have breakfast seated without rushing out the door or yapping on your phone all the time about “work”. Discuss things together. Give them little family group chores as young as possible and make it fun – this is VERY IMPORTANT no matter how special your snowflake is. Eat meals together. Cook together. If you can’t cook learn to do it together as a family at least with a few basic meals that aren’t frozen prefab. People grow up remembering these moments. They are going to try and recreate what they experienced even if it’s subconscious.If they’re lucky they’ll try and NOT recreate the negative if they can define and execute the opposite. Create positive rituals not negative ones.

    Go to all the town’s resources like museums or events. Find what turns the kid on and/or provide opportunities to discover like theater, music, art, computer skills, creative writing, dog walking, sports (YES SPORTS if they want)…. whatever. Have fun. Include other like minded families as extended family members giving your kid a sense of self and life goals. If your kid is veering towards poor choices in friends, NIP IT IN THE BUD, stop with this nonsense of “the other kid needs us” type of thinking. Save it for your community service.

    Teach your kid to care about others by doing things for others but in a program. Don’t allow your kid to bring bad choices in your house. And do NOT let your kid go to other people’s houses that you don’t know WELL. Some idiot family I knew put Freddie Kruger on the VCR when my poor 6 year old was sleeping over. And Arachnophobia. A nightmare for US. They also left the house in the hands of teenagers and had a pool and hot tub and I found pics of my kid unsupervised in the pool and in the hottub with drunk teens. The parents were both physicians.

    When it comes to sex, assuming the parents are hetero and you think your kid may be gay (as per the headline) you should have already joined a group like GLSEN to educate yourself. And network to find other gay and lesbian people to coach you and your kid.

    There are some very technical things in the “SEX TALK” that need to be addressed that parents of the “other” orientation just know nothing about. I remember my friend hoarding books on lesbian sex as an adult because she was completely at a loss, in the 90’s. That wouldn’t happen today. Hopefully.

    Don’t let your kids react to life, help them be their own creation with a good foundation in YOUR house. :)

    This speech comes to you compliments of my brother’s life , who at 15, working as a bus boy learned the art of becoming a hustler compliments of a long term 2x a week parasitical relationship with a sugar daddy 30 years his senior and in the bathhouse. What a waste. He got named in the will from the former, but inherited the gay plague legacy from the latter.

    Things are better now for our kids and we know so much more. :)

  • Fitz

    Here’s the simple reality (imo): as a parent, you have to get over it ASAP. Cuz if YOU don’t have the sex talk with your queer kid, there is some creep who will. And he will NOT be trying to educate your baby. The whole idea that there is a gay lens to it is pretty homophobic to me, though.

  • dazzer

    @ScaryRussianHeather: You’re lovely. So much practical common sense in a relatively short post. Excellent advice for any parents – gay or straight – and thank you for taking the time to write it. It’s appreciated.


    Take junior to a farm to watch the animals fucking in every conceivable permutation.

    When junior asks what those two doggies are doing in the middle of the road, dont say “playing”, simply say: “they’re having sex.”

    Do this from the earliest possible age and build on it. No drama. Nothing heavy. Simple as.

    Disclaimer: we do not accept liability for any advice being accurate, complete or up-to-date. In the event that the aforementioned strategy may have proved a little too successful we distance ourselves expressly from the contents of juniors hard drive containing “Barnyard 4: Now the feathers really fly!”

  • hudson

    @PRINCE OF SNARKNESS aka DIVKID: hey Prince. I have to agree with you. I grew up on a farm and saw the facts of life from a very young age. Saw animals being born too. The questions naturally follow. Mom didn’t shy way and made sure we had basic reading material at an early age. That said, it was a simpler time and place. Kids now are WAY more savvy at a much younger age than we were. There is some very good advice for any parent from the post and following comentors.

    Cheers, Daryl

  • Coby

    The straight sex talk I got from my brother and my mom was odd, because I wanted to tell my family about the odd feelings I had when I was around this boy at school. I was so young I didn’t understand that I was crushing on him hardcore. at 17 I had to sit my mom down and give HER a sex talk. It wasn’t that difficult, usually if I need to talk about something uncomfortable I do it with humor. Explaining gay sex to anyone is really hard to do with a straight face…no pun intended.

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