A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: talking to kids about sex

How Maroon 5 taught my daughter about rape.

One in three.

That’s the current global statistic about violence against women.

L-R: R. Vahey / D. Hunter / D. Richards - women star golfers at Kernwood Country Club, Salem

Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.


One in three women around the world will be raped, beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. (2003 UNIFEM report “Not A Minute More: Ending Violence Against Women”)

Next time you are hanging out with two of your girlfriends, you can pretty safely assume that at least one of the three of you has been the victim of violence at some point in her life. You might not know it though, because the shame associated with it is so strong that the majority of us don’t ever discuss it or report it.

But this week In The Powder Room, we’re talking about it. We’re ALL talking about it…all day, every day.

I encourage you to join me and my colleagues as we explore various facets including how to raise our sons to not be rapists, surviving childhood sexual abuse, a man’s perspective, is a woman ever to blame?, what is a “Slut Walk”?, and many more tough issues. We all poured our hearts out this week and I hope you’ll get as much out of our work as we put into it.

I am truly so proud to be a part of this group of phenomenal writers and leaders.

Now join me, won’t you, as I share the story of how I accidentally taught my 9 year old daughter about the issue of rape, with unwelcome help from a couple of pop songs.

not lightly,


Me so horny…

Last night my 11 year old son pulled me aside and asked: “Mom? What does ‘horny’ mean?”

Oh Lord. Here we go.

First I had to give myself the Heimlich with the back of a kitchen chair to dislodge the partially masticated Cheez-Its from my windpipe. Note to self: teach the kids basic life saving skills so they don’t have to watch me choke to death someday. As if my general parenting skills aren’t scarring enough.

As soon as I started to breathe normally again, Nature Boy and I sat down for a little mother-son sex pow wow. Wait, that sounds wrong and grossly Oedipal. It wasn’t. I swear. What I mean is: we talked. About sex.

It wasn’t the first time. God only knows why, but he always seems to come to ME for these little talks instead of his big strapping virile Daddy. I think he enjoys the entertainment value of watching me choke and stutter and blurt out words like penis and vagina and multiple clitoral orgasm. Oh stop it, I’m just kidding on that last one. For now.

But anyhoooo, just to make sure he wasn’t referring to horny toads and their reptilian relatives,  I decided to ask him for a little context. “Can you use it in a sentence for me please?”

“Oh, sure. The boys in my class are always saying things like ‘Taylor’s feeling hooooor-ny!’ or ‘Me so horny.'”

Okay. In context. Got it. This isn’t like when he heard the word “gay” on the school bus and thought it meant happy like in the Flintstone’s theme song. Nope. He knew this was dirty and he wanted more info. And God damn it, how many times do I have to tell him to not start a sentence with a prepositional object?

Fine. If it is to be, it’s up to me, I guess. Besides, I did NOT want him to get wrong information from someone else and end up using the word inappropriately. Knowledge is power! So I told him everything he wanted to know. And it was fine. No big whoop. I’m a little miffed that his innocence is gradually being stripped away by kids who are clearly more hormonal and/or ignorant than he is, but I’m glad he’s comfortable enough to ask me things.

I was even younger than Nature Boy is when my Dad, a single father with weekend visitation, took me to see Grease in the theaters with one of his dates back in 1978. Poor guy… he only had us on the weekends, he loved movies, and he was dating. Can’t fault the man for trying to kill three birds with one stone. (Except for those times he took me to see Jaws, Alien, and Blazing Saddles… all before I was 10 years old… probably explains a lot about me, doesn’t it?)

So yeah, back to Grease… after the movie, I remember very clearly asking him: “Dad – what does ‘chicks are gonna cream’ mean?” And he told me: “It means they are excited.” So naturally, wanting to be as cool as Danny and the T-Birds, I started saying things like “Wow – that’s SO cool; I’m gonna cream!” and let me just assure you, my third grade teacher didn’t like that kind of talk at all. Thanks Dad.

Speaking of which… that reminds me of another film classic my dear old Dad took me to see when I was 10 years old: Coal Miner’s Daughter. God, I love that movie. Coincidentally, Loretta Lynn also was confused about the proper usage of the word ‘horny.’ Remember the baloney scene? Lordhavemercy.

Shoot we been driving so much, I don’t even know where I am half the time. Oh it’s fun though, you know, we sing, and talk, and Do…that’s my husband, he gets to acting horny. And the more I laugh, the hornier he gets! And he’ll say: ‘Lorettie, spread me up one of them baloney sandwiches!’

Cracks me up, every time! But really, with vocabulary lessons like that, it is a wonder I even graduated from middle school. And it definitely explains my penchant for fried baloney sandwiches.

My point? If my kids are gonna talk dirty, they better get it right. And in case you don’t know, it’s “I’m so horny,” not “Me so horny.”

Sincerely and grammatically yours,


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