It all started with a call from my 7 year old son's principal. Antonio had written a word down in-front of his class mates and said it out-loud. It was a bad choice and he didn't want to talk about it to his teacher etc. etc. Finally..."he said (stage whisper) sex".
At this point, with all of the build up I was a bit let down. I also had to fight the urge to laugh at the discomfort with the word (I'm the adult, I'm the adult..). I have a child, she's an adult, and my son is the one who said the word - none of us were new to it. That lead me to the realization that it was time.
I walked over to the school so he could walk home with me that day. We talked about language and how words are symbolic for things, actions, or ideas. Then we moved on to some biology about who has sex (all plants and animals) and because it propagates the species. I.E. if people didn't have sex, there wouldn't be any more people. Then the idea that the word sex means, basically, if you have a penis or vagina.
Waiting a little longer and for a relaxed atmosphere when we had time to sit and talk he got some more education.
First, dating. I tell him to date, not worry about relationships until he has had time to experience life. That the most important thing to know before getting serious is who he is, what he wants from a relationship, and to be comfortable with both. This lead into the idea that most long term relationships are between only two people and sex is important, so understanding it will make that relationship better.
The next step was to explain that it is not shameful or bad. If he finds boys attractive or girls, or both that is his business. The bottom line is to only have sex because he, and the other person or persons, wish to have it and never feel bad or dirty about it. Then he asked if you can have it with yourself so there was the explanation that everyone masturbates. Winding down to people have sex because it's fun, and always wear a condom. Then, of course, condoms were explained.
We ended with advice not to bring this up to his friends yet, but correct them if they try to tell him anything silly and to ask his parents if he has any other questions. Then I taught him a phrase I will reinforce at all ages:
"Condoms. So it doesn't burn when you pee!"
Nothing demystifies sex like hearing your mom talk about it. He can learn about the mechanics later.
Have any of you started to have these conversations? At what age? Did the child(ren) bring it up or did you?