How Did Your Parents First Tell You About Sex?

My twin sister and I first heard the gory truth about sex when…

…we were on the bus in kindergarten. We came home that afternoon and promptly told our mom that it must not be true, right? Taking it in stride, she told us that it was true, and that it might sound strange because we were kids, but that grown-ups didn’t mind it.

Then she bought us the genius book Where Did I Come From–first published in 1973!–which we both still vividly remember. (Has anyone else read it? It’s awesome.)

A few years later, I told my mom that some kids at school had been talking about balls. “What do you think that means?” she asked me. I rolled my eyes at such an obvious question. “Boobs!” I said and walked out of the room.

Ha, kids are so clueless!

How did your parents tell you about sex? Was it awkward? Awesome? Or did they decide not to mention anything and hope you’d just figure it out from movies, sex ed, etc.? Where did you think babies came from before you found out?

P.S. My friend even threw up when she was little and her parents told her about sex. She told them it was because of her chocolate milk, but it wasn’t.

  1. sheeba says...

    I never did. Growing up in India in a semi-conservative family meant that they expected me to find out when the time came. Friends, even in college, were shy and equally clueless. I figured out when I fell in love with my now husband. It’s ridiculous that I had no idea until at least 21. :)

  2. Thanks for share this interesting article with us, I found out by watching some silly day-time talk show at my grandma’s house when I was home sick from kindergarten. When my mom took me home, I stood up on the toilet while she was washing her face in the sink (so I could look her in the eye) and said “Mama – I know what sex is now!”. The next day I gave “the talk” to my best friend in kindergarten.

  3. Hello,

    Excellent article, thanks for share this great post with us, I love this kind of topics are really interesting, health is really important, we have to be careful to obtain a healthy life and this way enjoy everything everyday with our family or people around.


  4. I was never told by my Mother about sex. I learned about it & related topics from an high school handbook, TV & the Internet.

  5. Jaymii says...

    I rememeber when I was six or seven my mum was a midwife and had all these books about sex and so on and so forth. I remember picking a book of the shelf that had the title ‘An Introduction to Sex’ so I started reading. When I got to a part about sperm a cracked up laughing because the pictures of sperm looked like tadpoles! I went and showed my mum and asked if I was a tadpole and my mum looked at me weirdly. I went and got the book to show her and she had to lie down for the rest of the night. LOL!¡!¡!¡

  6. OH MY GOD I’m 20 and just found this post and that’s totally the book my mom used over 10 years ago! I would recognize those cartoons anywhere…they’re burned into my memory haha

  7. We had a pair of cats – a boy and a girl – and I really wanted them to have kittens, but my mom told me they couldn’t because they were brother and sister. Then she explained why that would be so gross, and I promptly agreed. I do remember one of my silliest questions: “If they do it for twice as long, does that mean they’ll have twins?” Ha!

  8. My parents and I never hasdthe ‘talk’. I think I learned it from school. After reading your blog post, (even though I already do understand sex) I’m curious and tempted to get myself a copy of the ‘Where Did I Come From’ book!

  9. My dad actually forced my sister and I to watch “The Miracle of Life” videotape. Yep. I’m serious. And yep. It was as traumatic as it sounds.

  10. My mother in law had this book for my husband and his brother. “Mysteriously” the binding is worn so it opens directly to the page with the breasts on it.

  11. This conversation is too good not to add to!

    The only part of the “talk” I remember was feeling shocked and asking in disbelief “You and dad did this?” And then I felt the need to make sure all my friends at school knew the facts, too.
    One aspect of my education that was severely lacking though, was female anatomy. I assumed that the clitoris was in the vagina somewhere, and it wasn’t until honors biology in high school that I revealed my ignorance on the topic by asking a very naive question. All the boys in the class teased me endlessly, and my brother (3 years younger than me) heard about the event and said to me in disgust “I heard you asked where the clit is in biology.” Good grief.

  12. I was 10 when I watched the “Where did I come from?” video.

  13. Jill says...

    I remember knowing about sex before my mom came to talk to me about it, and when she did, I was so freaked out that I covered my ears, shouted gibberish and ran away! haha.

    Another funny thing is I went to a small, Christian private school, and our band teacher was a hunter who made “Christian inspiring videos” about nature, which they would show in chapels sometimes. Needless to say I saw enough animals having sex to know just how things work. :)

    I think the American Girls book “YOU” helped mostly, and then I learned more in health classes later.
    such a funny thing to remember!

  14. ha! Oh, so hilarious! My parents had the book “Where do Babies Come From?” with VERY anatomically correct illustrations! I don’t actually remember either of them reading it aloud to us – maybe by that time, we could both read and they just gave us the book? I cannot even IMAGINE.

    (that part about the chocolate milk is the BEST! poor girl!)

  15. Yes, that book is the answer for parents around the world, because my mom gave me the same book, portuguese version, here in Brazil when the questions started.
    Funny thing, my little sister didn’t have questions, while my mom was avid, waiting the questions to give THE BOOK to my sister, but my sister took some time…

  16. That book was fantastic. Having older brothers and lots of my Mum’s birthing books around, I learned pretty quickly. It’s amazing how much your brain lets you take in as you grow.

  17. So my mom is a doctor – and ob-gyn too – and that made for interesting sex conversations.

    I was the only 8 year old kid who knew about spermatogenesis and ovulating and etc. because I used to read her medical books (okay, more like stare at the photos) but I had no idea how the ovules and sperm got together. My mom then told me how a fetus is made and develops after two people really love each other.

    When I was a teenager my mom was so scared after seeing a lot of 13yo with pregnancies and STDs that she went into crazy mode, aka “You have sex, you get an STD, you DIE!”. Luckily, I did not pay her any attention and brushed up on my reading of Cosmo.

    So yeah, sex lessons from a doctor – just as interesting and funny as one might think :))

  18. They never said anything!

  19. Zoe says...

    I learnt it quite by accident from a dictionary. Prior to that, I’d thought sex just involved kissing and nakedness. The dictionary definition of ‘sexual intercourse’ told me it was more than that.

    I now know the many ways sex can be sex, but the first horror at finding out that when I have sex with a man, his penis will be inside me will never be forgotten. Not a happy thought for 10 year old me.

  20. joanna- this is SO funny! my mom read this same book to me, too! I vividly remember that cartoon couple, all hairy & naked, lying on top of each other in the bed. I was so embarrassed. my mom read it to me because she caught me & my friend watching “Look Who’s Talking” (my friend’s young, single-parent mother let us check it out from Blockbuster) and saw us laughing at the beginning part with the sperm swimming to the egg. too funny!

  21. My dad sat me down along with my older sister to give us “the talk”. I guess he didn’t want to explain it twice. I remember how he told us, but what I remember more was that he interupted an episode of The Bionic Woman that I very much wanted to watch. I was a bit put out about that!

  22. I had “Where Did I Come From?” too! I was proud to be the only kid in school who knew the actual facts!

  23. Um, my mother took the approach of TEARING OUT EVERY PAGE EVEN VAGUELY RELATED TO SEX from the various my-changing-body pamphlets given to me at school.

    I figured it out through friends and my own ceaseless covert research.

    When I have children I will tell them the plain facts of it, from a young age. And make it less scary/shameful.

  24. What a great topic!!! I think its very important that children understand their own bodies, and then can take ownership of their private parts as “theirs”. If they are comfortable with them, it is easier to talk about OTHER very important things like molestation and other issues that unfortunately our children might be confronted with! What a great topic to get out in the open! I also like this book, “I said No!” about what happens if you’re confronted with molestation.

  25. Anonymous says...

    I don’t know if anyone will read this, since it is so far down the list, but there is an important issue that is missing. I was told very early, around two or three, because my dad and aunts had all been molested by family members. I think most parents even these days only sugar coat sex, and only talk about the good stuff. But what about the bad? Many children who are molested feel that something is wrong, but they are convinced that it is ok by the molester saying things like, “I love you.” Weren’t they told that “people who love each other do this”? It’s confusing to them. I am sooooo thankful that my parents kept re-explaining not only good sex, but also bad sex. Because as we have learned molestors can be anyone, not just the creepy guy down the street. They can be women, men, teens, grandparents, neighbors, brothers, sisters, even other older children; like the boy who was just eleven when he molested and raped his sister. Not fun things to think about, but kids need to know the difference.

  26. I sort of always knew. Is that weird? The only think I asked my mom (according to her) at age 5 was “whats a Fallopian tube?” She explained EVERYTHING haha

  27. my parents sat all five of us down with a book (maybe that one?) and explained how it worked. I was six, I think. my younger sister’s reaction, “but my hole isn’t big enough!” :)

  28. haha I, too, was 5, and was also given that SAME book! And maybe I got in trouble for reading it to my classmates…

  29. My mom vividly remembers the day she found out: She had walked home with her brother from school and had asked him where babies came from because kids had been talking about it at school. He told her that a boy pees in a coke bottle and then the girls drinks it. She took off running for home, burst through the door, and exclaimed to their mother “I AM NEVER HAVING A BABY! I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT FOUR TIMES!!!”

    My grandmother then had to explain that she did not drink pee out of a coke bottle four times :)