Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sex and A Good Father by Diane Chamberlain

Diane Chamberlain is the international bestselling author of twenty-one novels.  Her books are part suspense, part mystery, and one hundred percent family drama. A former hospital social worker and psychotherapist in private practice, Diane began writing while waiting too long in a doctor’s waiting room and she will always be grateful for that doctor’s tardiness.

Her most recent novel, The Good Father, is a May release from Mira Books.  It’s the story of a young single father who, after losing his home and job, takes desperate measures to provide for his beloved daughter. About The Good Father, Diane says, “I hope readers will imagine themselves in Travis’s shoes, because his situation could be ours in a heartbeat. None of us is immune to the hardships that can come from a personal catastrophe coupled with a poor economy. How would each of us respond if we were suddenly homeless with a little child depending on us to keep her safe?”

Diane lives in North Carolina with her significant other, photographer John Pagliuca, and their two Shelties, Keeper and Jet.

Sex and A Good Father
by Diane Chamberlain

I was listening to NPR the other day when Dan Savage was being interviewed. Dan is a journalist, activist, and creator of the It Gets Better Project, which he founded to prevent suicide among gay adolescents. When I tuned into the show, he was talking about how people learn about sex. Dan said he learned about it from a combination of Ann Landers’ advice columns and a Penthouse magazine forum. Dan wasn't talking about the birds and the bees--he was talking about Sex with a capital S. The discussion brought back a memory. A sweet one.

It was the day before my first date. I was a new high school sophomore who’d been asked out by a senior from a neighboring school. I’d had a boyfriend over the summer, but apparently my parents had ruled him harmless. This senior boy, though—he was the real thing, and it was time for The Talk.

I knew The Talk was coming, although I'm not sure exactly how I knew. Somehow, it was common knowledge that my sister, seven years my senior, had received the talk and my brother, eleven years older than me, had endured it as well. My siblings and I weren’t close back then, given our age difference, so I don’t think they told me. Somehow, I just knew.

So when my dad came into my room and sat next to me on the little step by the bookcase, I knew what was coming. He was so good. Even at the age of fifteen and despite my embarrassment at having him mention the words erogenous zones, I knew he was doing something rare and remarkable for a father. I was quite certain none of my friends had a father with the guts to talk to them about how guys felt when they got close to girls and how girls could keep their wits about them. I remember thinking, even at that moment, how proud my mother must have felt to be married to a man willing to take this on. I felt his trust in me. I felt his love. And now, many decades later and with Dad gone, the memory puts a tender lump in my throat. He was, in so many ways, a good father.

I know how lucky I was. How about you? Did your parents teach you about Sex with a capital S?


Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Diane, Hi and Welcome!!!!

Good to have you here, as always.

I loved this piece. And the photo of your dad holding you as a baby touched my heart.

Truthfully, I do not remember either of my parents having "The Talk" with me. I remember a very vague film being shown in school to all the girls after the boys had been escorted out of the room, but that's the extent of "sex education" I remember having. At least of the formal version.

Diane Chamberlain said...

I bet the informal version was far more interesting, Kaye. ;)

lil Gluckstern said...

My aunt was having a baby and took it on herself to give me the talk. I was 8. To be honest, I don't think I understood a word of it until I went to summer when I was 11, and then very quickly. i always wondered about my mother's reticence. :) I love your picture too.

danielle-momo said...

Kaye, thank you for having Diane here today. I love her books and will look forward to read The Good Father.
Diane, you were very lucky to have this talk from your father.

I had good parents but not eager to speak about sex.
They wanted to protect me. So my mom said:if you go to sleep with a boy,you'll become pregnant. My father said: if you are too loose with boys, they won't respect you.
So I've been wary of boys for a long time but life has always a way to reach and to teach you.