Explaining to children where babies come from is not a prospect many parents relish.
Let’s face it: once a child is beyond being fobbed off with vague tales of birds and cabbage patches, all parties involved can look forward to fantastically awkward conversations that may or may not involve ‘special cuddles’ or several layers of embarrassment hidden behind terrifyingly cold anatomical descriptions.
Now, in a new interview, actor Thandie Newton reveals she went for the straight-talking approach with her daughter – and in doing so, perfectly highlighted the importance of being open about consensual sex.
Speaking to The Edit magazine, the actor – who has three children with film-maker Ol Parker – says she and daughter Ripley, now 16, were discussing sex a few years ago because Newton was pregnant.
“I said, ‘Daddy has a beautiful penis, which enters Mama, and these two precious parts of us join together…’ A few days later, Ripley came home from school saying, ‘Mummy, I had to tell Don he was wrong today. Don said sex is when a man makes his willy go really hard and then beats the woman with it.’
“Lucky I got to her first.”
While funny, there’s also a point to be made about the importance of understanding the difference between consensual sex and assault in formative years – and the Westworld star, who has another daughter, Nico, 12, and son Booker, three in March, also explains she spoke recently to her daughters about how her own first sexual encounter was abuse.
Newton has previously discussed several incidents of assault and misogyny throughout her career, describing ‘casting couch’ situations starting in her teens, including having a camera put up her skirt by a director during an audition and finding out the tape was being shown to his friends in Hollywood years later, as well as a director who lied about not filming her bare breasts in a scene and “serious sexual abuse” in one of her relationships.
The actor, 44, says she told her daughters how at 16 she’d been taken advantage of by an older director, telling the publication: “I told them that the first time I ever had any sexual encounter, it was abuse. Eventually, my 12-year-old stopped me and said, ‘Mum, don’t worry. I am way cooler than you were at my age.’”
She adds: “I talk about misogyny endlessly, because it’s part of everything.”
Newton also speaks in the interview of her relief at getting roles that call for more than the eye candy parts many women in Hollywood are stuck with.
“I am so grateful for work opportunities that allow me to be thoughtful. Also, sharing those things as opposed to sharing yet another underwritten role, written for a woman by a man [...] I’m so grateful to finally be a three-dimensional character.”
Read the full interview at net-a-porter.com.