APART FROM BEING the filmmakers behind plenty of R-rated movies (Horrible Bosses, Vacation)—and the cowriters and directors of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein are also both parents of young-ish kids.
Kids who are starting to ask those questions.
They texted each other about “the talk” from their seats on a flight to Brazil for a comic convention.
John Francis Daley: First off, I want to say how impressed I am that Men’s Health knew we were cool dads.
Jonathan Goldstein: Men’s Health is always after me for something. Last year it was “Best Abs Over 40.”
JFD: You have over 40 abs?!
JG: Yes, I have a 40-pack.
JFD: I suppose we should talk about our kids. Have you had the talk with your son?
JG: “The talk”? You mean like “Where is this relationship headed?”
JFD: The sex talk.
JG: It’s more of an ongoing conversation with increasingly specific questions. For example, last week he asked me if it’s illegal to have sex in a hotel room.
JFD: What did you tell him?
JG: I started to tell him it’s okay as long as it’s with a consenting adult, but then I remembered Samson is 11 and that wasn’t a great scenario.
JFD: That hotel question is somewhat legitimate. Like, I kinda wish it was illegal. Not for me and my wife. But for everyone else.
JG: Same for Airbnbs.
JFD: But he knows what sex is?
JG: I walked him through the mechanics of it and was expecting him to be freaked out, but he just said, “Okay,” and went back to his Nintendo.
JFD: That’s kind of how my six-year-old reacted when he asked why his baby sister’s private parts look different. I said, “Because she’s a girl,” expecting a ton of painful follow-ups. But he said, “Oh,” and went back to Peppa Pig.
JG: Thank God for short attention spans. In any case, it was a lot less traumatic than how my mom did it when I was his age. She had this black-and-white photo book of naked people that was intended to teach kids about sexuality. I think it was from Germany, because all the men were uncircumcised. And everyone’s pubic hair was out of control. It was horrific.
JFD: When I was in elementary school, I had one of those anatomy books for kids with the plastic overlays showing the skeleton, circulatory system, etc. And if you lifted up the last page, there was just a full-on naked lady. It was like the ultimate life hack. If my parents would walk in on me looking at it, I’d just quickly flip some veins and bones over the photo and I’d be set. The only thing separating porn from science is veins and bones.
JG: That’s the new Chalamet movie, isn’t it?
JFD: Do you think that parenting is easier for us than it was for our parents?
JG: It’s easier in that there’s much more acceptance of nontraditional paths. But it’s also more complicated. The Internet and social media have created an accessible minefield of depravity. When I was growing up, all we had was whatever spank mags we could find in our friends’ dads’ sock drawers.
JFD: That’s why I’m determined to keep my kids away from the Internet. My son was obsessed with this wannabe Mister Rogers–type guy on YouTube. I did a little research and found out he first went viral with a video of someone literally shitting on his face.
JG: People can change. Don’t be so judgy.
JFD: We’re all just doing our best out here.
JG: Did you feel comfortable asking your parents questions about sex?
JFD: Hell no.
JG: Same. I guess that’s what makes us cool dads. We create a nurturing, nonjudgmental environment where our kids feel safe to ask us anything.
JFD: What’s weird is, my parents were extremely open to talking about anything. I just couldn’t do it. Which makes me wonder if, when my son is older, he could be just as embarrassed to talk about it with me as I was with my dad. Maybe we aren’t that cool after all.
JG: Men’s Health knows what they’re doing. We’re cool. Now, when does the photographer get here? I’ve been doing crunches all week.
JFD: I hope it isn’t the same photographer of your mom’s German sex book.
A version of this article originally appeared in the April 2023 issue of Men’s Health.
Writer and Director
Jonathan Goldstein, along with John Francis Daley, are the cowriters and directors of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
Writer and Director
John Francis Daley, along with Jonathan Goldstein, are the cowriters and directors of Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.
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