How to talk to your children about sex

How to talk to your children about sex

Sooner or later parents have to face the reality that their children are growing up and need to learn about sex.

Mom and daughter talking

One thing is clear - leaving the sex talk to teachers or their peers is not going to end well, because sometimes outsiders can feed your children the wrong information.

So to ensure that your kids get the right kind of information, you need to do the teaching yourself.

This can even be an opportunity for you to instill your family values on them. For instance, if you believe sex should be for marriage, or done when your child is an adult and can deal with any consequence that may arise from having intercourse, then tell them that.

But how old should your child be before you bring up the subject?
Experts agree that from birth children are curious about their sex organs and will freely touch their private parts without shame. So from a young age, it’s important to let them know about their private parts.

A study by the University of Cape Town in 2016 revealed that one in every three young South Africans has experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives. This means that even though you may be thinking your child is too young to learn about what’s right and wrong when it comes to sex, it might be best to start them at an early age. Let them know why nobody is allowed to touch their private parts or touch them in a sexual way without their consent.

How much info should you divulge?
When it comes to the details you should tell your child, it all depends on their age. Even though you need to tell your children truthful, useful, and accurate information, you don’t want to bombard them with too much.
However, if you are talking to a teenager, chances are they may already be sexually active, so you may need to go into more detail about protection, hormones, and sexually transmitted diseases.

How to go about it?
The first talk with your child about sex might be uncomfortable, but it will get easier with time, especially if you started the process from a young age. As embarrassing at it might be, let your children know you would rather put the embarrassing feelings aside and talk about it because you love them and want them to make the best decisions when it comes to sex.

Depending on age, it might be best to start with a question that will be an ice-breaker. It’s also important to listen to your children and to try to get their understanding of sex. Make sure you keep the conversation open.

There are also great books that can guide parents how to talk about sex with their children, such as ‘The New Speaking of Sex: What Your Children Need to Know and When They Need to Know It’ and ‘Speakeasy: Talking with your children about growing up’.

Also read: Kid-versations: What is Valentine's Day?

Also check out the video from Dr. Kenneth Adams that gives an age guide on how you can talk to your kids about sex.

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