The common question in parenting is, “at what age are we supposed to have ‘the talk.'” you know the one…. it’s all about SEX.
Children are so innocent, why would we want them to know about the disgusting ways babies are made?
My husband and I decided we were never going to have the talk. In western culture we seem to take things that are normal, things that happen every day, and turn them into something we don’t talk about. We become ashamed of them.
Body parts get weird names,
Breastfeeding gets hidden under blankets,
Sex is a word we are ashamed to use,
Parents don’t show affection in front of their children,
And children when confused about their own anatomy, own sexuality, and own sex life, turn to their friends. Their friends in turn laugh it off, make up the weirdest answers, and they don’t get the scientific, truthful answers.
So why don’t we have “The Talk.” because we have “talks.” Many many “Talks.”
When asked questions, we never laugh, (sometimes it is hard not to.) We answer to the best of our knowledge, if we do not know we google.
Here are my tips to talking to your children about SEX
- Use proper language for body parts. – Normalizing the vocabulary for sexual organs makes it more comfortable for a child to talk about them to a **safe adult, when there is something they are confused about, ie “Is it supposed to do this? or feel like that?” Stay away from nicknames for penis, testicles, vagina, vulva, etc.
- Don’t Say “Now is not the time or place for me to answer that question.” This sentence adds a feeling of embarrassment or shame to the question they asked. Answer their question with a shorter response if you are uncomfortable, and explain that you will have a more in depth conversation later. And here is something VERY IMPORTANT…. Have that conversation later!
- Use sources. I love anatomy books, they show scientific pictures that are not sexual. Mayim Bialik has two very good books out on puberty that attack it at a very scientific level, while being an easy read for children. (I own the audible books) “Girling up” “Boying Up” I HIGHLY recommend these books for any boy or girl wondering about the changes in their body, and the best part is, they can read them alone and discuss with you later.
- Answer questions as they come up. Don’t wait for your child to ask the question again when they are older, because they won’t. If they ask you a question and you turn them down, they are likely to find a source with the answer somewhere else. The sad thing about that is that the source they do find, may not give them the correct answer, or may give them a misleading answer. The Scary thing for you is… If they are asking the question, they are ready to know the answer. Even if it is a basic version of the answer, it is important you give them one. Remember we have the internet now, and even my 8 year old knows how to google, if you don’t get them the answer, they will get it for themselves, and may be disgusted and confused when they find the answer.
- Remind your child often that they can come to you, and should if a problem ever arises.
- Be honest, Scientific, and age appropriate, but never condescending. When a child asks a question, answer it. Please don’t make them feel naive, or silly for asking a question. Thinking that something is one way, when there is no way it could be like that. Their friends will feed them information that will be incorrect, and you have to break it to them that their friends are not always right.
There are so many benefits to being open about sex, and sexuality in a home. These are my top 5 reasons for having a “sex positive home”
- When you are open about sex, sexuality, gender identity etc, children are less likely to feel confused, and uncomfortable with sex. They are also more likely to talk to you when they are confused and uncomfortable with something.
- When it comes to sexual harassment, and abuse, many believe that not talking about the subject, means it is less likely to happen. However it has been proven time and time again that the more that you talk about sex in your home, the more likely someone is to be safe from sexual abuse, and speak up when they are being sexually harassed or bullied. This to me is my number one reason I talk to my boys. Educating them on both sides, why consent matters for both them, and others. – Don’t do anything to anyone else’s body without getting consent, and if it is awkward to ask for consent… then don’t do it. Consent to be allowed into someone else’s personal space, or to allow someone else into your personal space.
- Teenagers and youth will be more understanding of the RISKS of SEX, as well as the benefits. Both girls and boys who understand sex, and have an open relationship with their parents when it comes to talking about sex, have a lower rate of pregnancies, as well as contracting an STI. While this may not prevent a teenager from exploring the benefits of sex, they are more likely to have SAFE, protected sex.
If it is awkward to ask for consent… then don’t do it
List of some other great blog posts and recourses.
If you have any other resources, or comments, please feel free to comment below!
Love, Light, and Bright blessings.
“Talk to her about sex, and start early. It will probably be a bit awkward, but it is necessary.”
― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie,