Having the “sex talk” is sure to cause anxiety among even the most savvy, modern parents. Anxiety aside, we can all agree that talking to your kids about sex is an essential part of their development. With the growing prevalence of peer pressure, kids are forced to make decisions about sex at an earlier age. Talk to your kid about sex before he seeks possible misinformation from his peers. The earlier you create an environment that welcomes discussing sex topics, the better.
Consider your child’s age before you sit down to begin discussing sex. There are huge differences between the type of information a toddler needs to learn about sex versus what to discuss with teenagers. The Parenting website suggests keeping sex talk age-appropriate and not overwhelming kids with too much information, too soon.
Be confident. If you are confident, your child will feel more comfortable and open with the questions he asks and the answers he gives as you discuss sex. Your confidence can also put your child at ease to ask questions in the future.
Start the conversation by explaining to your child that sex is something that happens between mature adults who love each other. State your honest opinions about sex and the expectations you have for your child when it comes to deciding to have sex.
Introduce your child to the female and male body parts. Explain reproductive organs and functions to older children. For children 5 and under, avoid sharing the intricate details of the reproductive organs. Instead, explain that boys have penises and girls have vaginas.
Discuss sexual intercourse with your child by describing how human bodies interact to create a baby. Talk about how pregnancy occurs and how the body of the mother-to-be changes when she becomes pregnant.
Discuss birth control methods and STDs with middle-school children who are likely exposed to more mature sex topics through conversations with their friends and from the media. Explain the pros and cons of each birth control method. Teach children how they can protect themselves against contracting STDs. For a teen, discuss getting tested for STDs and the process for obtaining birth control from her doctor.
Discuss positive body image with your child and let her know the importance of respecting her body.
End the conversation by asking your child if he has any other questions he’d like to discuss. If he does, answer each question openly and honestly. If not, let your child know that he can come to you with questions about sex–no matter how silly or embarrassing she may think they are.