This was how my mother started the conversation.
“Do you know…”
“Do I know, what?”
“Do you know how women have orgasms?”
(AAaaaaaakward pause…avoiding eye-contact now…)
“Um, yes? …  Yes. I mean, yes. Mom, Seriously!” (laughing erupts)
 

How did your parents bring up the sex talk?
But, my mother didn’t stop at this first shocking question. She did not accept my protest that I already knew all I needed at 16 years old.  She knew me deeply despite the fact that it would be 11 more years before I truly understood the depths to which she knew me, when I had my own daughters to love.

(aside: isn’t it funny that as we grow up, we think our parents don’t know us? now that i am a mom myself, i could hardly think of anything i know more intimately than my daughters.)

See, my mother became a teenager in the 60’s and a single mother to two small girls in the 80’s. She is neither large in stature or personality.  Caring, loyal, sensitive, Indigo Girls-singing… this is my mom.

She gave me space to discover my way in the world. She usually held back advice or opinions. But, this conversation, this was just too important to leave to chance, I suppose. Too important to hope my sister and I learned it somewhere someday.

And so, one night at the dinner table, surrounded by flowered wallpaper in our little kitchen nook, my education in sex and/or “feminism” began with a loving, blunt question.
 “Do you know how women have orgasms?
There is a part of your vagina called the clitoris…”
“Wow, Yep. Yes there is… Thinking about it right now, Mom. Thanks.”
************

Within that awkward, sweet conversation, my mom enunciated one of the most important things I have ever learned […]