One of the most important things we can do as parents is to talk to our kids about sex. Sex is an important part of life. Having open and honest communications about sexual intimacy will bless our children for the rest of their lives. Having an appreciation for the human body and a healthy understanding about sex will help them develop. I love sharing ideas on my blog about bringing families closer together. I usually talk about meal planning, fun family traditions, family night lessons, or other ways we can build stronger families. Today I want to share something I feel passionately about. I feel it is crucial that we teach our children about sex. Gone are the days where they can learn about it from that special class talk. Today I want to share why you should talk to your children about sex, when you should have that discussion, what to do before you have “the talk”, and how to talk to your kids about sex. Now I am the kind of person who reads and studies and then decides the best way to do something, when it comes to parenting. Feel free to take what I have to say and apply what you think is best. That’s the beauty of parenting, we can choose how to do it.
Why Should I Talk to My Kid about Sex?
Some people feel really uncomfortable discussing sexual intimacy. Especially with their children. But if we don’t talk to our kids about sex who will? The answer is kids at school and the internet. Now I know I know more about sex than the kids on the playground. And I want my kids to know that too. Do I really want peers to educate my children on this important matter? If we, as parents, aren’t willing to talk about sex with our kids and they hear things from friends, they are going to trust and listen to those kids.
And let’s be real. They are going to Google it. And guess what comes up? Pornography. I don’t now about you but I am doing everything in my power to keep my children away from pornography. Most young children first view pornography by trying to learn more about sex. They hear a word or phrase at school and want to know more about it. We need to talk about these kinds of things with our children openly so that can feel comfortable asking questions. I want my children to learn about sex from me and my husband. I don’t want my children learning warped ideas about sex from pornography.
At What Age Should I Talk about Sex with my Children?
Personally I have chosen to talk to my kids about sex at age 8. I think 12 use to be the norm. But things are different now. I have heard teachers remark a noticeable change in maturity around age 8. And last time I checked 9 was the averaged age of a child being exposed to pornography. And I don’t want my child’s first understanding of sex coming from pornography.
BUT… that doesn’t mean I wait until they are 8 to have the talk. Part of having an open and honest relationship with my children is being frank and open with them. That means answering questions. Kids are known for asking questions. It’s what they do. And how you answer teaches them more than just the answer you give them. If they ask about Dad’s penis and you act uncomfortable, they are going to learn penises are a taboo subject and they should be uncomfortable. If you make your child feel embarrassed or ashamed about their body, that is going to effect the way the see their bodies.
What to do before I talk to my kids about sex?
Questions are going to come. And that is the best way to start having frank conversations with them. In case you don’t have children or your children are very young, let’s throw some questions out there that they might ask. Before my kids could really talk I thought about answers I would give to “uncomfortable” questions. I find it’s best to be prepared…
- Why does you or dad have hair right there?
- Where do babies come from?
- How do babies get out?
- Why do penises stand up?
- How does the baby get milk?
- Why does sister’s butt crack go all the way around?
- How do you make babies?
- What are these seeds I feel below my penis?
- Why do you take those packages into the bathroom sometimes?
These are just a few of the gems your child might send your way. You can see having additional children gives you lots of opportunities to have teaching moments. I find it’s best to answer honestly and simply. And I like to give a little bit more information to let them know they can ask more. Also it establishes that I am an expert and know what I am talking about. My sons know that I know a lot about penises and they feel comfortable talking to me and asking questions. Which is great because Dad isn’t always around. And when my hubby is at work my kids can talk to me.
Another thought about questions is you need to think, “what does my child want to know?”. Is your child really interested in learning about sex at age 4? Or are they trying to understand how babies are born. I once heard from a woman I admire that her husband called her frantically into the room. He said their child had asked how the sperm gets to the egg. He didn’t know what to say. This child was young and the parents didn’t think they were quite ready for that lesson. She reply, “Through the birth canal.” Her child was satisfied. She was just curious. Her mom answered her question simply and honestly.
Let’s try one together. Why do penises stand up?
Well that’s just what penises do. Sometimes more blood is sent to your penis and it does that. And that’s okay. It will go back down again.
Well it was easier because I use the proper names for body parts. Which is another important element is teaching our children about sex. Can you even image trying to explain sex using terms like “wee wee” or “who who”. The words penis and vagina are not bad words. They are body parts just like elbow, toes, and shoulders. Being comfortable using these words will help give them a positive view of their bodies and sexuality. Another great thing about using terms like Penis, Vagina, and Vulva is that it helps to prevent sexual abuse. I really enjoyed this article here where educators believe teaching plain language helps children have healthier lives.
We have always taught our children proper terms. My sons would point to me and say penis and I would correct them and tell them, “Mom has a vagina,” One time my 7 year old son asked me what a ‘girl penis’ was called again. My two year old daughter beat me to it by saying, “Vagina!” I had a friend tell me he didn’t want to teach his kids those terms because it might put them in a embarrassing situation. But why should we be embarrassed?
One time my young son yelled during church, with perfect dictation and clarity, that the lights looked like penises. And not just anytime. It was during the passing of the sacrament, the most quiet and spiritual part of church. The time when we think about Christ’s atonement. Bless those sweet 12 year old boys who were passing the bread and water. They were doing their best not to crack up and to remain reverent. I’m pretty sure everyone heard within a 5 pew radius. But in his defense, they kind of look like penis heads. What would have been really embarrassing if he would have used some weird nickname for penis. If you feel uncomfortable using words like penis or vagina try practicing with a friend.
Answering honest questions and teaching body part names are important parts of preparing for teaching our children about sex. We talked about modesty and covering our private parts because they are private. We teach them that NO ONE should touch their private parts. We didn’t make a big deal if they saw us naked. There isn’t anything terrible with a naked body. And as they got older I would ask for privacy sometimes. I asked my older friend when your kids should stop seeing you naked. She told me when they seek out privacy for themselves. One time our kids came in our room and my hubby was getting ready for work. He was about to jump in the shower and my oldest told him it was inappropriate to be naked in front of them. Grady told him “This is my room. If you don’t want to see me naked, don’t come in here.” It was a good teaching moment for him to learn being naked isn’t inappropriate. Walking around the house while company over is not appropriate. (Something we had to remind our sons a couple of weeks ago) It’s okay to be naked in your room or bathroom. And as parents we never leave our room naked.
Having three boys doesn’t really encourage privacy. They are pretty open about sharing a bathroom and getting dressed. We have had to go over the importance of locking bathroom doors at school and shutting bathroom doors when we have guests. I am grateful they aren’t ashamed off their bodies, but they are still learning to be modest and respectful to others.
Also, weird side note, nature books are another great way to prepare for learning about sex. They learn pretty quick that mating leads to eggs or offspring. So make your life easier and pick up some nature books for your kids every once and awhile.
Talking to Kids about Sex
Again this is the list I used to talk to my oldest. Grady and I talked to our son for about an hour. It went really well. He asked some really great questions. I would encourage you to talk with your spouse before hand to review how you want to lead this discussion. At first my husband thought maybe he should just talk to our son, man to man. But I wanted to be involved. Especially because Grady is often working and isn’t home when the kids need to talk. Another bonus of talking to your kids at age 8 is that they aren’t too embarrassed. Sometimes at 12 they have started to figure things out, and it might be uncomfortable. But our son was young enough that he didn’t feel weird. And I told Grady I want him there when we talk to our daughter.
Also choose a setting that you won’t be interrupted. Now if your kids ask questions and it seems like the right time you can have this conversation, you can have it anywhere. Lots of questions are asked while we cooked together or during a car ride. And talking to your kids should be informal and should happen anywhere. But for this talk we called our oldest into our room while the young two boys watched a movie or were in bed. We did have baby Georgiana there with us. And that was the perfect start! I sort of want to borrow a baby for when we talk to our second oldest later this month.
The Powers of Procreation and the Gift that it is
We started by explaining The Plan of Happiness. Our family believes that everyone existed before they came to this earth. We are all spirit sons and daughters of Heavenly Father and Mother. We wanted to live with them again. We all chose to receive a body and come to earth to prove that we are able to live with Heavenly Father. Children coming to the earth is part of that Plan. God wasn’t going to send babies to earth without help. He sent down children to mothers and fathers who love and wanted them. It is a very important job to raise and care for one of Heavenly Father’s spirit children. He also gave us sacred powers, procreative powers, to help us have children. Because this power has the ability to create life it is very sacred and special to Heavenly Father. He ordained marriage between a man and a wife to organize these families. Because He loves us He also gave us commandments that these powers should only be used when a couple is legal and lawfully wedding. And they should only be used with your spouse. We wanted to spend time talking to you and telling you about these powers.
If you are not religious you can adapt that first part of the talk to fit the needs of your family.
What is sex?
This part of the talk you actually explain the technical parts of sex. Tell them that it’s going to sound a little weird, but just hear us out. Keep it simple and thank yourself that you taught them the proper names. Make sure your child knows that they are more than welcomed to ask any questions. For my oldest son’s privacy I won’t tell you what questions he asked. If they tell you that they don’t want to do have sex themselves, let them know it’s totally optional. They don’t have to.
Our Body is a Temple
We then talk about how our bodies are like temples. We are so blessed to have been given a body. We can exercise and play sports. We can work hard for our families. We can sing, swim, and jump. We can perform ordinances like baptism. Our bodies were made to have joy. It’s important that we show respect for our bodies and the bodies of others. Bodies also help us to have children. My body can grow a baby, which is truly a miracle. We also talk about The Lord’s commandments and standards. Sex is wonderful and enjoyable, but The Lord asks us to wait until we are married. Sex isn’t just a physical thing. Being able to connect emotionally, as well as physically helps to strengthen our relationship. There is wisdom in sharing that part of life with one person.
Talking to our Parents
As your parents we love you and wants what is best for you! Even though is subject is delicate and you might feel embarrassed we want you to talk to us. Trust us that we know more than the kids at school. If you hear something or want to know more you can always ask either one of us. This is an important part of growing up. And, as your parents, we want to help you. Because this is such a delicate subject that parents want to teach their children themselves, please don’t talk to your friends or younger siblings about it just yet. Let their parents tell them.
From a young age we talk to our kids about “bad pictures”. We have had to remind them that they aren’t poorly drawn pictures, but rather pictures that don’t respect people’s private parts. It’s not appropriate to have naked pictures or people in skimpy clothes. After the sex talk this makes much more sense. We also are very protective about our kids being on the computer without us. There are no screens in their rooms and our family computer is down in a open setting. We explain to our kids that people are trying to trick kids into seeing bad pictures. They then realize why we are so strict about the computer. You could be searching for Minecraft Video Games and inappropriate content can come up. They are trying to get kids exposed and desensitized. We teach them that pictures and videos distort that sex is really all about. Again I would encourage you to check out Fight The New Drug’s website. It has so much information about the addictions and science behind pornography. They have a great guideline for talking to your kids about pornography. I was floored when I read Sex Before Kissing: 15 year of Girls dealing with Porn Addicted Boys. This is a huge problem! HUGE!
When asked, “How do you know a guy likes you?,” an 8th grade girl replied: “He still wants to talk to you after you [give him oral sex].” A male high school student said to a girl: “If you [give me oral sex] I’ll give you a kiss.” Girls are expected to provide sex acts for tokens of affection, and are coached through it by porn-taught boys. A 15-year-old girl said she didn’t enjoy sex at all, but that getting it out of the way quickly was the only way her boyfriend would stop pressuring her and watch a movie.
We need to teach them about sex. Real sex. Healthy sex. And we need to teach them the dangers of pornography. Even with my computer monitoring and talking to my children about pornography they are still going to be exposed to it, It’s not a matter of if, but when. We need to teach our children what to do when they see pornography. Because they will see it. I really love this video below!! It’s a great video to show kids to help teach them what to do when they see pornography. Also I love this article about helping our kids to avoid pornography. It is such a great article I like to read it again every so often. It does a great job about helping your kids if they have a problem with pornography.
You can end your sex talk with how much you love them. And be sure to let them know they can always come talk to you about feelings or things their friends are doing. But this doesn’t mean you are done talking about sex. We keep talking with them. Sometimes I will ask my son if any of his friends are talking about pornography. We talk about the importance of respecting woman and how we can show our respect. As they get older I plan to talk about naked pictures. How it is never okay to ask a girl to send one or to send one yourself. We will talk about sex trafficking. And how lots of bad people target runaways. Be sure to keep the communications open all through their growing years. This is easier when you listen to your children from childhood and when you talking honestly with them about important matters.
Fight The New Drug also has help online for those that are struggling with an addiction to pornography. And as with every struggle that our children will face: pornography, alcohol, or bad grades, we need to constantly remind them that our love for them is constant. Whatever choices they make we will always be there for them. Open communication and asking our kids open ended questions will help strengthen our relationship. And when your child comes to you and tells you their friend is sending nude pictures or their friend is having sex in a bathroom try not to freak out. Don’t react. Listen. And ask them what they think about those choices. Listen to how they feel and what they think. And then maybe they might want to hear what you have to say.
I know building stronger families will build stronger communites. Families can help prepare our youth to face the world and the troubles that they will encounter. As parents we should strive to connect and listen to our children. We need to teach them what is right and what is wrong. And we need to love them and teach them to love others.
Thank you so much for reading such a long post! I would love for you to share this information with others. You can share it on Facebook or Pin it to Pinterest. (You can click a button below) Knowledge really is power. We can help encourage other parents to talk openly about important matters. I know we all want our kids to grow up with healthy views about their sexuality. Porn should not be educating our kids on sex. Parents should teaching their children about sex.