What Is Sex?

What Is Sex?

From Chicken Soup for the College Soul

What Is Sex?

One day in an emergency waiting room, a little girl turned to her mother and asked, “What is sex?” People turned their full attention to Mom. I mean, this was better than whatever was on the waiting-room television— better than Jerry Springer. I mean this was real life. Exciting. What was Mom going to say? How do you answer a six-year-old girl? What is sex? This is one hot topic. You know, kids seem to know so much more than I did at their age; they are exposed to so much more these days on television and at the movies. How was Mom going to answer?

I’m the kind of guy who just goes ahead and answers the question right away, like I not only know the answer, but understand the question. So I’m curious how Mom is going to tell this little girl about how babies are made. Or how Mom is going to dodge this difficult question. I mean, is Mom going to talk to a little child about safe sex? I’m pretty sure Mom is not going to talk about ways to have sex; although you just really never know what might happen in the emergency room.

But she surprises me; she doesn’t think in the way I think or respond the way I usually respond. Instead, she pauses. I hardly ever pause. She then thoughtfully asks her daughter, “What do you mean, dear?” The little girl responds, “Well, Mom, I was looking at this paper, and it says sex—M/F. Am I an M or an F?” Mom’s face breaks into a huge smile. The waiting room patrons resume their usual chatter.

And I laugh. I would have answered the wrong question. I had heard the question, but I really did not listen to what the little girl was saying.

Adam Saperston
Submitted by Kathleen Kelly

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