And this is why one should always ask about context.

So N is 10, and even though we’ve provided him with books about becoming a teenager, sexuality, and the like (which he’s devoured, of course, because they have printed material, and could probably recite back to me ad nauseum), I’ve been feeling like we need to be making sure he understands what’s to come. After all, this is a world in which cnn.com says, “About 10 percent of the teenagers surveyed said they had had sex by age 14, while 20 percent said they had sex between the ages of 15 and 16.” My hope is that once he knows what’s going on, knows how his choices have repercussions, etc, he’ll be better situated to make intelligent choices. (And yes, I know he’ll still be a teenager. That’s what worries me!) That said, N is a very YOUNG ten and hasn’t shown any interest in girls, sex, etc, which makes it difficult to have these conversations when he’d much rather be playing with LEGOs or reading a book, so I’ve pretty much been waiting until he asks, primed with all sorts of information to share — casually, of course, not like it’s a Big Deal Conversation or anything — when he does.

How’s that for a lead-in? Anyway, we’re all sick, and N was cuddled up with me (both boys get lethargic when they’re sick; it’s sad), all feverish and pathetic, and out of nowhere he asks: “What are shriveled genitals?” I made him repeat himself, because that really is a strange question to have appear out of nowhere, and asked where he learned about it. (Three guesses? Of COURSE he read it in a book!) Then I started talking. (Always a mistake. Always, always a mistake.) I talked about how men and older boys can become sexually aroused, the mechanics of what that does to their bodies (bigger, harder p**ises, in my feeble attempt to keep people from coming to my blog after a web search for things I hope they won’t find here!), etc. I talked about how when men and boys get really cold their genitals can get smaller and want to hide. I talked about how if a man was sexually aroused and suddenly something happened that was shocking and dreadful he could all of a sudden not be aroused any longer, and if it was bad enough (we spent a little while coming up with “bad enough” scenarios) his genitalia could feel like it had shriveled up. In other words, I told him more than he probably ever wanted to know about the mechanics of male arousal. (He probably already knew it, too, since he’d read the books already, but it never hurts to have it reinforced … right? right?)

Then, when I’m finally out of breath and proud of myself for seizing the opportunity and not completely flubbing it (hey, this is difficult for me, okay?), N says: “Huh, that’s odd. In the book I just read, this boy was taken to a robot factory where they wanted to make him a robot and when his friends rescued him he was fine except he had shriveled genitals.”

*sigh*
*sigh*
*sigh*

So then we had a quick conversation about how when damaged, genitals could be shriveled, and he might not be able to feel sexual arousal or have children. But still. Next time I WILL ask for context, I will.

(And yes, I swear that each and every time. I only remember to do so about 75% of the time, though. Ah well…)