How To Talk To Children About Sex

Not many of us will jump at the chance to talk to our kids about sex! It’s probably one of the most daunting conversations we can have with them, which usually comes from our own fears; as though talking about sex will encourage it more or we have a fear of destroying their innocence.

Yes, it can be an awkward and embarrassing chat, but we all know it's an important one. So where do we start when the topic of the birds and bees comes up? Here are ways to talk to children about sex.

Don’t Avoid the Conversation

Remember that if you don’t educate your children in this area someone else will. Children learn by behaviours and attitudes. It’s important we empower them by being comfortable and approachable in discussing our bodies, sex, and consent.  

Talk Early And Often

Leaving the conversation until your child is on the verge of delving into relationships is too late. Begin the conversation surrounding sex early and continue the age-appropriate conversation as they grow.

Use The Correct Anatomically Terms

At a very basic level, use the correct words. Watching our language and using the correct terms might sound intimidating, but even from a young age, we should say penis and vagina rather than using slang terms for our body parts.  

Listen To Their Questions

Depending on the age of your child, they will have varying questions. A younger child may ask what sex is, but be referring to gender; whereas an older child may ask where babies come from; while a preteen may be more inquisitive of the act. Listen to them and interrupt what it is they are interested in knowing.

Use TV And Social Media

We’ve all sat there squirming in our seat when a sex scene comes on TV, our parents on either side of us equally squirming. But we can use what we see on TV and social media to begin a conversation around certain aspects of sex and intimacy.

Knowledge Is Power

Our kids are not as naive as we may believe. They see, hear, and know more than we probably would like them to through social media, TV and talking to their friends. We need to teach our kids not only about the mechanics of sex, but also about intimacy and the various intimate activities related to sex. Shying away from the topic will lead to more questions.

Be Honest

If you are finding the conversation uncomfortable or embarrassing, let your older child know. It’s okay to say so and your child will appreciate your honesty. They may be feeling equally awkward, so you can help each other become more relaxed and comfortable with the conversation.

Geraldine Walsh

Mum of two Geraldine Walsh happily works from home as a freelance writer chatting about parenting, wellness and mental health.

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