As my son approached middle school, my daughter insisted that he needed “the talk” before being thrown to the wolves. “Just trust me on this one, Mom,” she would say whenever I acted like bringing up sex didn’t feel urgent. Taking her advice, I called my son aside and delivered what I thought was a perfectly executed talk—covering all the birds and all the bees. Upon finishing, I said, “Do you have any questions? You can ask me anything!”  Without hesitation, he said, “Do you know how to keep score in a Pokémon tournament?”

It’s hard to orchestrate an organic “sex talk,” but I was confident that wasn’t it. I knew one talk wasn’t enough, and I started questioning if I was the right person for the job. Rather than continually fumbling, I turned to an expert. Pediatrician Cara Natterson wrote the book Decoding Boys, and here are 5 of my favorite takeaways for how to talk to your son about sex and puberty.


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