This is a conversation that was recently repeated to me by a father that he had with his 7-year-old daughter:

Daughter: “Daddy, why do you and Mommy talk about sex so often?  That’s all you ever do is talk, talk, talk about sex!”

Father: “Uhhh…When do you hear us talking about sex?”

Daughter: “All the time!  That’s all you ever do, is talk, talk, talk about sex!  Especially when me and [younger sister] aren’t around!  Talk, talk, talk!”

Father: “Hmm!”

Daughter: “Yep, you and Mommy just sit on the couch with your computers or your cell phones or your iPods and you talk about Sex in the City!  That’s all you ever do!”

Aha!  The father was able to stay mostly silent, keeping his daughter talking until he really understood what she was asking.  He didn’t blunder into an answer that was far over his daughter’s head, accidentally creating the very situation he was afraid had already been created.  By maintaining his calm, and continuing to listen, he was able to answer his young daughter’s question correctly:

Father: “Sex and the City is a TV show that your mommy and her friends like.”

Daughter: “Oh! Okay!”

Freak-out diverted, question answered, big sighs of relief all around!