When kids are little, laying the groundwork for healthy sexuality is mostly a matter of how you handle small, everyday opportunities. Simply being matter-of-fact about words and ideas can go a long way. For instance, does your child ever help with household repairs or installing technology? Plumbing and electronic parts sometimes have “male” and “female” […]
A lot of people I speak with say they’d like to feel more comfortable talking about sexuality with their partner or their kids, but don’t know how to start. So I’ll help! Part of what makes it hard is that we don’t do it very often. Sex is private and not a suitable topic in polite company. But there are plenty of things about sex and its meaning to us that are worth thinking about, and worth talking about.
Every couple of weeks, I’ll post a TalkStarter you can use to get conversations going with people important to you. Some are suitable for couples; some for you and any adults you’re close to; some for parents with kids of various ages. Hopefully the TalkStarters will give you food for thought and food for conversation.
Were yours the sort of parents who danced in the kitchen and cuddled on the couch? Or the sort who never touched each other? Were they very discreet and un-touchy, but had a sparkle in their eyes sometimes when they looked at each other, so that, looking back, you can tell there was chemistry? Or […]
Sometimes when you’re out with your teen or older child, you may overhear a couple talking angrily. This feels uncomfortable—but it can open a conversation about relationships, communication, and how people treat each other. Next time you’re at a restaurant or shopping or whatever and people nearby start arguing audibly, you might give your kid […]
I recently attended a continuing education class for therapists on sexuality in clinical practice. The instructor is part of a group of therapists who are known for being very open-minded about sexuality and therefore see a broad spectrum of human behavior. (Thanks to Kevin Gallagher, LCMHC of op.ti.ma in Burlington, VT for a great workshop!) […]
If you have a teenager, you’ve noticed that girls’ Halloween costumes today tend to be a lot sexier than when we were in high school. A lot of girls look like Playboy bunnies in outfits that are tight, short, and low-cut. What does your teen think about this? If you’ve got a son, he probably […]
A lot of sexual topics parents might want to address with kids are emotionally charged (for us, anyway). So many areas involve choices and morality and relationships, which are complex and can feel intimidating to talk about. Fortunately, there’s one sex-related topic that has no moral component whatsoever: periods. Virtually every adult woman under […]
Did you ever notice that we use one word for “elbow” and one word for “foot,” but dozens of words for our private parts? You can use the abundance of slang words to break the ice with your teens and preteens about sexuality. It will be a raucous family dinner none of you will […]
For most of us, puberty was when our sense of ourselves as sexual beings really kicked in. It’s also a challenging time for a lot of kids. Sometimes things that were hard for us during puberty can have emotional effects that last for many years. So knowing what puberty was like for your partner […]
The next time you’re at the beach or the pool with your child, take a look at the bodies all around. You might be able to start a conversation with your kid simply by commenting on that. “It’s so interesting, all the different shapes and sizes people’s bodies have.” That may be the end of […]
What’s the sexiest (non-porn) movie you’ve ever watched? (or, your top two or three?) Was it sexy mostly because of the context (like, because you were 17 and were super-excited about the person you were sitting next to)? Or is the movie itself sexy? Let’s watch it together! (Make it a special date night, where […]