Like most men, I don’t know much about sex, except I’m reasonably sure where it goes and where it could go. That’s more than enough expertise to yield two kids. But honestly, I think my sons will expect more explanation about sex when the time comes.
And they will need an explanation.
Right now, I’m sticking with the Weasel Answer: “Why, sex is something that happens between two people who love each other.” You know, like sex is a game of Scrabble™. Eventually, my boys are going to want specifics.
I know a man – a exceedingly nice and spiritual man – who would rather his kids watch a graphic, bloody murder on television than sex. He doesn’t see sex as a beautiful function of pleasure and procreation, but as some kind of corrupting act. It was more moral to kill than to be laid.
My friend has three daughters. I have two sons. Maybe that’s where I have it easy. Because when it comes to The Deed, chicks are screwed. Despite all the church-camps in the world (or maybe because of them), boys are conditioned to seek carnal pleasure, keeping score amongst their cronies in the constant reliving of triumphant pantie raids. Meanwhile, women are on eternal guard of their virtue, chained by social chastity belts, as though the pleasure of sex is one-sided in favor of men.
Then again, a young woman recently put her virginity up for auction. The latest bid eclipsed several million dollars. Maybe there is true value to virtue?
In my teenage years, I didn’t give a rat’s ass about my virtue. As far as I was concerned, virtue was a quality for which I had an intolerable excess. I’d have traded in my virtue points just to cop a feel. In those hormonally slippery days, I envisioned a perfectly lit, artistically composed, surgically enhanced, gate-folded idea of what I wanted. And if I wasn’t such a terminal teenage dork, I might have been in some danger of obtaining the non-fiction version of it.
I can’t count on my sons being terminal dorks.
I had a friend in college who was the proverbial Box of Porn Man – he owned a pile of grainy porno VHS tapes stored in a brown, cardboard box. One of the titles was Action Orientals, which was smartly named as it features Asian women performing assorted action.
Today, you don’t need a Box of Porn Man. An Internet connection and a door with a lock will suffice just as well. Did you know that there is an entire circle of people who are stimulated by SaranWrap?
I didn’t need to know that bad, but I know, and I’m not sure how long I can keep my sons from knowing.
One year, for reasons lost in the ether of history, Angry Mom gave my Angry Dad a subscription to Playboy Magazine for his birthday. Angry Dad kept each month’s edition neatly stacked on the end table next to his recliner. My brother and I were handed down an unbreakable edict: DO NOT TOUCH ANGRY DAD’S PLAYBOY MAGAZINES.
For months, my brother and I watched the stack grow on Angry Dad’s end table, like a snake charmer’s cobra uncoiling out of its wicker basket. By month seven, we were ready to execute an elaborate periodical hijacking that involved dynamite, hang gliders, Judo, and a disguise. However, curious circumstances arose that negated the necessity of this plan.
Once evening, Angry Mom and Angry Dad left the house to attend a pool party.
“Don’t touch my Playboys,” said Angry Dad before leaving, a grave warning in his tone. After assuring him that his magazines would remain unmolested, my brother and I waited at least five minutes before dividing the stack between us.
The treasures that lay within! Boobs, butts, boobs, hoo-has, boobs – Playboy was a publication that had it all! Angry Dad’s collection of Playboy Magazines was a carnal-rich bonanza that fulfilled a number of pubescent issues for me. It was a coup worthy of several high-fives, which my brother and me could only execute in spirit, as we were too occupied by glossy gatefolds. 2-D Chicks ahoy!
We made sure that each magic magazine was returned neatly to its original station before the car headlights splashed the walls. What a perfect crime! Angry Dad didn’t even glance at the Playboys when he arrived home. And why would he? My brother and I were the Zeus and Jupiter of sneaking peaks at dirty magazines.
The next afternoon, Angry Dad demanded an audience with us.
“Did you look at my Playboys?” he asked, using a very sincere, Abraham Lincoln voice.
“No! No way. You said not to.”
“Are you sure?”
Well, crap. I was already going to Hell for getting my jollys with Dad’s softcore porn. You’d think I’d have the wherewithal to stick to my guns. No dice. I surrendered like a Frenchman.
“How did you know?” I wanted to know. I couldn’t believe it. My brother and I had covered our tracks like Apaches. I half suspected Angry Dad to pull put a fingerprinting kit.
Instead, he produced a sliver of cellophane – a piece of wrapper from a package of Kool cigarettes. Comprehension arrived instantly. Angry Dad had placed it between the pages of one of his magazines. In my mind, I could see the cellophane flittering to the floor, unnoticed.
Having had successfully executed his Hardy Boy trick, Angry Dad delivered a not-too-convincing speech concerning the evils of objectifying women. It was a bizarre message coming from a guy with a stack of Playboy Magazines. I don’t think Angry Dad took it very seriously. He was just delighted that his goofy trap had worked.
I have no desire to execute a similar snare for my sons. I want to be forthright on the topic, but we’re such a prickly, uptight, Puritanical society. Miss California poses for a few mildly salacious pictures that don’t even yield a nipple, and there’s righteous outrage. Janet Jackson has a wardrobe malfunction, and the nation is hurled into a moral tailspin. We’re a country of 12-year-olds too immature to deal with sex.
The Angry Family® is no exception. Mrs. Angry was shopping at Wal-Greens for a tube of KY only to find that all the lubricants were under lock-and-key. You had to ask the pharmacist to grab you a tube. Mrs Angry was too embarrassed to request a box of “KY Intense™, please,” from some old guy behind the counter. (Or maybe she didn’t want him distracted from counting the Viagra™.)
Regardless, I wish she hadn’t been sheepish, because I enjoy sex. Yep. It’s the stuff, all right! One day, my son’s will enjoy it too. But when? At what stage in life is dabbling in Nature’s ultimate gift of pleasure appropriate? Is there a time and place? Or are we just waaaaay over-thinking it?
I know several people who waited until marriage before committing to sex. I find that quaintly romantic and sweet. And I mean that sincerely, but I can’t expect my sons to wait because I didn’t wait. (High five!) I have no regrets.
So what will I say to my sons?
You know what? I’d like my two boys to become like Tommy Ross from Carrie. Remember Tommy? He was the nice-as-hell guy who gamely takes Carrie White to the high school prom. He’s the most popular guy at school. But instead of being a jackass, he’s one hell of a guy. And I got the feeling that Tommy could have any girl he wanted in high school. But instead of plucking the low hanging fruit, Tommy dated the intellectual. The good girl. The girl you respect.
And I think that’s what I’ll tell my sons. Be like Tommy Ross.
I’ll tell them that that while sex is not a sin, it is something that is personal and beautiful. I’ll tell them that sex is something you share with someone you respect. Love is preferential, but respect is essential – without it, you Don’t Pass Go or Third Base. Don’t ever let sex make a fool of you, and never allow sex to make a fool of someone else. Furthermore, wear a rubber, even if the school nurse refuses to give you one.
And if you can’t handle that, then by golly I know where I can find a stack of Playboys for you.