When Sir Noel Coward was asked by a five year old girl what two mating dogs were doing, he replied:

“The doggie in front has suddenly gone blind, and the other one has very kindly offered to push him all the way to St Dunstan’s”.

An eleven-year-old friend took it upon herself some time back to enlighten my then-ten-year-old daughter about sex. Not in a facts-of-life way; but in a pornographic film’s scriptwriter’s way, with drawings to pale the illustrations in the Kama Sutra.  She also explained oral sex and masturbation.

I had prepared to, when the time came, deal with this side of my child’s education in the wonderful manner that my mother had when I was a child; with some books (I’d bought Robie Harris’s books; “It’s So Amazing! A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families” and “It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health”) and to explain to her the importance of love and respect in the equation. I wanted to give her the warning advice of Philip van Munching:

“Boys will put you on a pedestal (so they can look up your skirt”).

What I didn’t want, was the whole business lumped in an ugly pile and flung at her like a slap in the face; forever tainting lovely bedtime stories of horny toads and princesses with another interpretation of the word horny.

We both felt a little cheated.

Perhaps I am terribly old-fashioned, but I just wanted to wait a while; to let her be an innocent little girl for a little longer. I’d love to have been able to stay in the Noel Coward School Of White Lies for another year or so…

A babe in the house is a well-spring of pleasure, a messenger of peace and love, a resting place for innocence on earth, a link between angels and men.

Martin Farquhar Tupper

For more contribution (and if you wish to partake in the theme) go to:



  1. I grew up very naive. My sister who is 8 years older than me, told me the basics. But there were big gaps in my education. My parents were from the old school where you only needed to know about sex on your wedding day.
    My most embarrassing sex question, was when I asked my matric history teacher what did “Celibacy” mean. He went blood red and started talking about the Nuremberg Trials.
    Have a great weekend!

  2. What a pity, Cin…must be one of the bigger challenges of bringing up children. Given your guidance, though, I’ve no doubt love and respect will prevail.

  3. Ah that’s such a shame that you were robbed of this experience.

    I remember being 11 though and knowing much more about sex than what my parents thought I did. After all, it’s all over the magazines & tv (even the so-called “family” ones), it’s almost inevitable that kids will learn about it some way or another. I was also a voracious reader, so that helped too.

    Perhaps the answer is that we should talk to our kids sooner? But then how soon is too soon?

  4. Pingback: Tweets that mention SIDE VIEW’s WEEKEND THEME : INNOCENCE « The only Cin --

  5. I’m with you – Noel Coward and a gentle introduction at the right time would have been great. At least you can discuss it with your daughter, and why you wouldn’t have chosen that way to tell her.
    Hello, fellow Capetonian – good to find your blog!
    (slightly homesick) Sunshine

  6. I’m sorry. That’s so sad…seems there’s a child like that out there everywhere we look. I wish they could all stay innocent children a bit longer. Growing up is so rushed these days.

  7. It does feel like a cheat; I like that she felt cheated too – shows an innocence…

    Love the Noel Coward School Of White Lies – doesn’t he just have the perfect name for that?

  8. We live in world where the pressure on the youngsters is much more than that with which we had to contend.

    Just the other day a family member aged 13 was worried about his self-image because his cellphone wasn’t “too great”.

    They live in a world that is pretty much like “Pandora’s Box”, there for the opening and exploring.

    I’m often glad I’m not a parent, I would’ve lost it completely if something even less sinister were to happen to my “child”.

    The symptom here is from a larger disease called “lack of boundaries”. Anything goes, and I feel genuine empathy towards the generation who should still have been playing at make-believe instead of “believing they are entitled to everything”.

  9. I had a similar experience. My daughter has a friend who has a 14yr old friend who is having sex and all the bits that go along with it. My daughter started having trouble sleeping and eventually it came out. It was a sad day for me when my 10 year old said: “its inappropriate for me to hear what she does with her boyfriend AND the worst part was that she had UNPROTECTED sex”. Its all just too early and there is no going back.

  10. Too funny! I really enjoyed this! my sister had a very innocent out look on things as a 5 year-old and this reminded me so much of her. When she was 5 my dad was watching a movie where a crazy woman stabbed a man in the back…my sister was standing there watching the show as well. My mom came in and criticized dad for having the show on in front of her and she said…”but mommy aren’t we supposed to help people? mom said “why yes…why do you ask?” answer: “well… you don’t want me to watch that lady helping that man get the knife out of his back?”…and even to this day she always has a very optimistic view. Thank you for the fun story.

  11. Unfortunately, children are being forced to grow up too soon…losing years of wonderment and cheating parents of precious times together. So sorry you didn’t have more time to enjoy the innocences of youth.

  12. I had a similar experience as a young girl. My informant came from a very religious, single parent home and lived part time in the city. When she went into detail, I chalked it up to her being a wild, city kid.

    I asked my brother about one detail that seemed preposterous and he told me I was never to play with her again. He told me she did bad things with boys and if I ever spent time with her again that he’d tell mom everything.

    Though there were few other girls around my age to play with, I heard his seriousness so I did not spend any more time with her.

    In my 30s, I learned she did, in fact, become a prostitute.

  13. It is a token of the kind of parent you are that your daughter chose to tell you what had happened. I would love to be the sort of parent a child could tell anything, but I have a feeling I’m not….
    Sorry it happened this way, Cindy.

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