Harriet stopped by to visit briefly on her way out Christmas shopping. We were in the middle of eating dinner when she arrived, so made her sit down and eat with us. She confessed that she had just eaten a cheeseburger from BK, so we were content to have her nibble on some garlic bread.
The news was on and a story came on about my favorite Cornhusker, Rex Burkhead. Let's just call him the perfect man.
Harriet looked over at Bing and smirked. "Does she always salivate when she sees Rex?" she asked. Bing laughed and shook her head.
"Pretty much," she answered. "Pretty much. Even in front of me. The woman has no shame. But, what the hell? I mean, sometimes even I want to salivate over him too."
After Harriet left, Liv and I were doing dishes.
She looked over at me and I could see it coming. The question.
"Mama, have you always been bi-sexual?"
I thought for a moment. How far did I want this conversation to go? To be honest, Liv has never asked me any sexual questions. None. Nada. I decided to just be truthful, but not detailed.
"Yes," I said.
Deep, I know.
"How old were you when you first had sex?'
"18," I said.
I know, such a jabbermouth.
Liv looked at me, questioning.
"With a woman or a man?" she asked.
"A woman," I answered.
"Was it Bing?"
How old were you when you had sex with a man?" she pressed.
"18," I said.
She was quiet. Then she said, "It wasn't at the same time was it?"
"God, Livvy. NO!" I said, probably too forcefully. I sighed. Knew she needed just a little bit more but there was this line that I don't think parents need to cross. I want to be truthful. But my private sexual life is just that. Private. I expect her to respect that, just as I will respect hers.
When she is about 30 and has sex for the first time.....
I leaned against the counter. Dried a dish. Spoke.
"I started having sex with both men and women when I was 18," I told her. "But, I didn't sleep around that much. I was just...curious. One day, you will be too. Hopefully, you will also remember to keep yourself safe."
Liv wrinkled her nose. I don't think sex is even much on her radar. She has told me that she hasn't even really been attracted to a boy (or a girl) yet.
"So, did you have sex with both men and women to see which one you liked best?" she asked.
"No," I told her. "I knew that I liked them pretty much equally. I just..well...I had sex with people that I was attracted to and that was both sexes. Liv, are you concerned that you might be bi-sexual?" I asked.
She shook her head, thoughtfully. "No," she said. "When I get that swirly feeling in my stomach, it is always about a boy. Haven't felt that with a girl yet. I just wondered, because you comment on both cute men and women. Like, Rex Burkhead, for example..."
I nodded. "Liv, you DO know that this is just a silly crush thing, don't you? I will NEVER be with anyone but Bing."
"I KNOW!" she said, irritated. "I'm not stupid, Mama. I know you and Harriet just josh around with Bing. But, I just....wondered, you know?"
I knew. Tinton, her father, told me that when she visited him this summer, she asked him if he was bi-sexual and when he said no, that he just liked women, she asked him if it bothered him that I liked both men and women. He told her that no, it didn't bother him. That he thought lots of people in the world were bi-sexual, but just were predisposed to be one way. She hadn't pushed it.
"Liv?" I asked her, tentatively. "Do you need to know anything else or are we done here? I want to answer your questions, and I am happy to do that, but I am your parent and you are never going to know the specifics of my sexual experiences, okay? Because sex is a private issue. For all of us. But, on the other hand, I never want you to feel that you can't discuss things with me."
Liv shuddered. "GOD, NO! I do NOT want to know the details. I just...I think it is interesting. You comment on both men and women. I don't know whether you are unusual or not. I think Dad is right. I think maybe a lot of people could go either way, but are just more interested in one sex, don't you?"
Yes, I told her. I agreed.
I braced myself for more questions.
"So, can I have some ice cream?" she asked.
Yes, I told her. Have some ice cream.
How will YOU answer those sex questions if they come?
Because, honestly, I would have rather died than talk to my mother about sex when I was Liv's age. I once heard my mother say the word orgasm when talking to one of my Aunts, her sister, and I blushed even though I was sitting in another ROOM.
So...tell. If your children are older, did you talk about sex?
If your children are younger, do you plan to have a sit down with them or just wait for the questions, if any?
And how was the topic of sex dealt with in your family?