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A Stiff Conversation with My Boys

By Carol Duncan - 5th August 2011

"No darling, stiffies aren't a type of dog."

Wednesday is much like any other day around our house, except that Mr 8 has soccer training. So picture me, if you will, perched on the lounge with Mr 8 trying to squeeze his feet into the always-too-tight soccer socks, shove his shin pads in, boots on and get to the ground by 5pm.

Then picture me 10 seconds later when Mr 8 asked, "Mummy, do you know what a stiffy is?" Without batting an eyelid I said, "Yes, do you?". To which Mr 8 informed me that it's when your penis goes hard.  Well done, son, you actually were paying attention during all those readings of Where Did I Come From?

The grown-ups in this house, that would be my husband and I, always try to be completely honest with answers to the children's questions and observations, so I don't really think there's much that they don't know. But this afternoon the conversation continued.

"Mummy, they feel good."

"Yes darling, they do. And that's a good thing, but you'll probably start to find that they occur at some pretty inopportune times" I say.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, you might find yourself at school assembly up on stage and suddenly find that … it's happening! And that's okay - that's why you have pants!"

Never being one to knock back an opportunity to talk about stuff with them (as by this time Mr 9 had joined in the conversation), I asked: "Have the kids at school talked about masturbation or wanking yet?"

"No. What's that?" asked Mr 9.

And I went there. I explained everything. Up to and including, um, nocturnal emissions. I get asked then: "You mean like when you wet the bed?"

"No darling, only a tiny bit, not like your bladder has opened the gates of hell into your bed."

"Oh, that's good then." I'll say!

And it continued: "Mummy, why do we have stiffies?"

"Erections, honey. Stiffies is just a silly slang term. Well, it's all about making babies, and you know how that works when the mummy and the daddy …."

Mr 9: "Ha!"

" …. when the mummy and the daddy love each other very much … but it's not just about making babies, it's also just nice! It feels good."


Mr 8: "But girls can't have stiff ….. I mean, erections."

"No honey, but sometimes Mummy likes to borrow Daddy's …."

Mr 9 - laughing his head off: "Well you've done that TWICE!"

"Twice? Um, well, no, actually a lot more than twice. People also have sex just because it's nice and it's about love and feeling good."

Mr 9: "HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA"

"Why do you think I keep trying to get YOU to sleep in your OWN BED!!"

Mr 9: " ……………."

Exactly.

"Now, aren't  you glad you have a mummy who will tell you all this stuff so you know the truth about your body, and about sex, and about 'stiffies' before it all becomes a joke in the playground and you feel like a bit of a duffer because you don't know something?"

Both boys: "Yep, you're a cool mama."

"Okay But there are rules. Yes, your penis feels good when you touch it, but that is about 'the-most-private-thing-you-can-do'. So, you don't do it at school, you don't do it on the lounge, you certainly do NOT do it at your grandparents' house … you only ever do it in the privacy of your own room. Okay?"

And then, I needed a drink. A stiff one.

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