Could You Face Jail for Teaching Your Kids the Birds and Bees?

Jeanne Sager

beesIf you don't already dread having the sex talk with your kids, this will leave a knot in your stomach. A dad in Texas is facing criminal charges for talking about the birds and the bees with his 8- and 9-year-old daughters.

As always, there's more to the story. Jack Buckner screwed up. He was allegedly drunk when he showed his girls porn to illustrate his talk. He didn't touch them sexually. He didn't force them to do anything. He threw on a video and talked to them. His ex-wife freaked and called the cops.

But it's perfectly legal to show kids legal porn (it wasn't kiddie porn, folks) in the State of Texas, so Randall County District Attorney James Farren has gotten creative. He's charging Buckner with child endangerment, claiming what he did has put his children in danger of "mental impairment" by forcing them to view sexual images.

Wait, what? One guy is a jackass, and now parents have to worry about a DA subverting the law every time we pull out some illustrations for the sex talk? Land in a district with a prude for a district attorney, and some very good parents could be in some very big trouble if this gets through.

I was probably in fifth or sixth grade when my mom decided to have "the talk" with me. I don't remember much other than plastering my hands over my ears and refusing to listen. Literally. I was immature, yes, but I was just about Jack Buckner's daughters' age. And listening to my mother talk about the "dirty" things I'd learned about on the school bus was jarring and uncomfortable. I was feeling pretty darned mentally impaired at the moment, I must say.

My mom was frustrated because this was an important talk. So she did the best she could. She pulled out one of those "your body" books, threw a rubber band around the pages that detailed sexual encounters, and sent me off to my room to learn about masturbation and menstruation on my own. Of course the first thing I did was pull the rubber band off and pore through the naughty pages, then throw it in my bookbag and take it to school. I had already learned everything I needed to know about sex on the bus, I figured I'd return the favor.

Now compare the two instances. My mother wasn't drunk, but she also technically provided sexual materials to a minor child. How is it different? Because her heart was in the right place?

Playing with the law to charge this dad may feel right because he acted like a jerk with his kids, but it sets a dangerous precedent. If it's inappropriate for one dad to show his kids porn and talk about sex ed, how is it OK for another dad to do it?

The fact is, some kids are visual learners. And plenty of them get embarrassed hearing the dirty details from Mom and Dad. Can you imagine hearing words like "penis" and "thrust" from your Mom's mouth? Case closed.

Jack Buckner sounds like a bonehead. But should this make him a criminal?

Image via James Bowe/Flickr

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