Did you know that 90% of kids learn about sex for the first time through pornography and that this usually happens by age nine? [i]
With awful stats like these, we should be talking to our kids about sex long before age nine.
Last week I asked my kids if I told them enough about the facts of life. They said I did OK when they were young but could have told them more as they got older.
Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t ignorant, but because of the world we live in – I should have told them more.
It’s tough trying to balance telling kids the facts of life with telling too much and awakening desires that are better left dormant!
Anyway, my question led to some good conversation with them via text message.
When I was a kid we couldn’t look up stuff online. We had no smart phones. We couldn’t send nude pictures. Porn magazines were hidden under someone’s bed or in a box in their garage.
Reading a book about the facts of life around puberty was about the sum total of our sex education (that and what our friends told us) – and to a large degree it was sufficient.
Not so anymore.
Today’s kids have access to a sex-mad society through the internet, movies, music, Snapchat and Instagram.
We have to talk to them about sex.
We have to talk to them about stuff we don’t feel comfortable talking about – like oral sex, anal sex (sorry), masturbation, and rape.
And we have to do it earlier than ever before.
Because they will get exposed to it – no matter how protective you are. (Believe me, porn happens in the nicest homes to the nicest people.)
Here are some tips to help you talk to your kids about sex:
Some kids ask questions, others don’t. You may need to create an opportunity for questions so that the shy child can learn. Assure your kids that you are willing to answer any questions they may have.
Teach them from young that nobody is allowed to touch their private parts and they should say ‘no’ if someone tries to.
As they get older explain sex simply, “A man and a woman love each other so much that they put their bodies together and make a baby.”
And later, “A man’s penis gets stiff and he puts it inside his wife’s vagina. Sperm comes out of his penis and it swims and meets up with an egg in the Mommy’s body and it grows into a baby.”
Talk about the changes they can expect in their bodies at puberty, masturbation, the dangers of pornography, why they should not send nude pictures, consent and saying no, and what rape is.
Talking to your kids about sex may be taboo for you, but do them a favour and get over your discomfort.
We have to do better than what some people got: “Remember where you come from. Keep your zip closed, boy,” or, “Don’t have sex because you could have a baby.”
Like me, you may not get it perfect, but do your best to give your kids a healthy understanding of sex before the world throws its smut at them.
did your sex education consist of? How are you handling this with your own
kids? How can we do this job better?