Following from yesterday’s post about being more open about sex, I thought I would discuss today how we talk to our children about sex. Because changing society starts with our children.
Sex education starts at home
Home should be the first place children learn about sex. Yes, they will get sex education at school, but you don’t have any control over what they learn there. If you are lucky, like us, you get to see the sex education materials before the children are taught it at school so you can prepare your children before the lesson. But if not, you can still talk to your child after the lesson to make sure that they understand what has been said.
Sex education starts young
There is no age limit as to when you can start talking about sex with your kids. My oldest son didn’t ask any questions until he had sex ed at school at the age of 10. Even then he didn’t seem particularly interested in the whole thing. My youngest (by virtue of having an older bother) started asking questions about sex when he was 7. Rather than deflecting him, which I have to admit was my first instinct, I answered his questions as honestly as I thought appropriate. And when he found a condom in my drawer and didn’t stop asking about that, I sat him down and explained simply what it was for. Hubby was shocked I did, but I want my kids to know they can come to me with all their questions and know they will get an honest answer.
The consequence of not talking to kids about sex
As I have indicated often on this blog, I had a very conservative Christian upbringing and my parents didn’t tell me much about sex at all. This definitely influences how I talk to my children about sex. I want to be there for them, so that rather than going to their – mostly uninformed or at best misinformed – friends with their questions, they come to me. Because if they are left finding out for themselves what sex is all about they can seriously get hurt. And as I have two sons, leaving it up to them to figure it out means I can’t teach them about consent, and make sure that they don’t push a woman when she says no.
I am committed to raising my boys to become respectable men, and that’s not going to be possible if they grow up in a household where sex is not discussed openly and frankly. While it may be difficult sometimes to discuss sex with your children, it’s your responsibility as a parent to make sure your kids are taught about sex.
Take Back Your Sex has a good article by the supportive husband of a sex worker.
Taryn has a good article on her blog, Ace in the Hole, about the asexual spectrum.