Giving The Talk in 2022

Matthew Arnold Stern
4 min readJul 6, 2022
Families should feel comfortable explaining where babies come from—especially now.

Our granddaughter has reached the age when it’s time for The Talk. This has always been an awkward parental duty. Here is your child, who you diapered and bathed as a baby, and you face the prospect of them someday romping passionately with someone else, even if the intended outcome is to produce the grandchildren you’ve been yearning for. It’s harder in the United States because our views of sex get twisted by puritanical ideals of chastity and the commercialized hyper-sexualization of everything. Now, we must contend with a post-Roe society.

As a husband with a daughter and a granddaughter, I know America has never been a safe place for women, as well as transgender and intersex people who are female presenting or have a uterus. For all of them, it means not walking alone at night, sticking a key between your fingers so you can use it as a weapon, not leaving your drinks unattended, and having a friend who can get you out of a bad date. You can’t dress too revealingly, get too drunk, or flirt too much. And if something terrible happens to you, it’s always your fault. And now, if you get pregnant, it’s considered God’s will for you to carry that baby.

While states have been eager to penalize those who get and perform abortions, they don’t show equal zeal to prosecute and punish men who commit rape, incest, and the abuse of minors. In fact, the new laws against abortion will discourage women even more from pursuing justice against their assailants. They fear they would be the ones facing prosecution if they end that pregnancy, while the men who harmed them avoid consequences. (Should I mention that two of the Supreme Court justices who voted to overturn Roe had credible accusations of sexual harassment? Or that justices base their stance on abortion from religious organizations with long histories of sexual abuse?) The anti-abortion movement has never been pro-life. It seems like it’s pro-rape.

But these attitudes of fear, rage, and dread put us in this situation. If we didn’t look at sex with shame and embarrassment, we wouldn’t be so afraid to discuss it with our children. Or be willing to educate ourselves. We wouldn’t have so many ignorant and judgemental people, especially those in power. We would be more accepting of those whose lifestyles differ from ours. We would make birth control free and easily accessible. Women can get…

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Matthew Arnold Stern

A novelist and award-winning public speaker and technical writer. My novels Amiga and The Remainders are available now.