Ah the joys of tweens and tween sex education. Whilst we haven’t exactly had the ‘belt and braces’ talk with the kids about what goes where, they roughly know the, um, ins and outs of sex and are thoroughly enjoying the thrill of dropping the odd swear word and asking questions that would, frankly, make a nun blush.
These questions normally appear from out of nowhere and are quite stunning in their directness. For example in the darkness of a return car journey home “how do women masturbate?” or “what’s sex like?” or “can you have sex after the menopause?” (yes but you don’t bloody well want to).
In today’s climate of sexual equality and gender fluidity, I find these questions even more tricky to answer because, if you’re not careful, your answers can betray your own by-now outdated opinions and mores.
As a child of the 60’s things have changed beyond recognition in terms of what we are publicly able to acknowledge. What many of us privately feel, I suspect, remains largely unchanged.
This means that, when it comes to our kids’ sex education, we have to be politicians – side-stepping potential incorrectnesses and ensuring that we do nothing to cramp our kids’ healthy emotional and sexual development.
Mind you, I don’t remember anyone worrying much about mine. My sex education in my formative years consisted of a book on fruit flies and how they reproduced. It was a very short pamphlet and it was ever entirely clear whether the fruit flies actually loved one another. After that I found the novels of Jackie Collins and Judith Krantz filled in most of the details.
There is nothing so embarrassing, for many of us, as the very thought of our parents indulging in horizontal yoga.
And so it is that if the kids suspect for even one second that the Husband and I might, just might be about to show each other some affection, the house vibrates to the sound of cantering footsteps as one or other of them throw open the doors and give us an accusing stare.
A full account of our activities is demanded which is usually something like “something funny happened on Midsomer Murders” or “I’ve just reminded your father to do the bins”.
No matter. They are convinced that carnal sins have been committed or are about to be.
“Mum”, Caitlin said to me the other day, “I really don’t want another sibling you know. My brother is quite enough”.
Given that my ovaries are on their last gasp and I have all the energy of a stunned ox I don’t think she’s in any danger.
Unfortunately, on our last night at Butlins this week she spotted two seagulls enjoying themselves on a chalet roof. We braced ourselves for the inevitable round of questioning worthy of the Spanish Inquisition.
Happily, we managed to distract her attention with the promise of more ice cream and an extra half hour in the arcades playing the 2p slot machines.
We’re going to need a different strategy now we’re back in Dinas.
Tween sex education – there are some interesting times ahead!