A lot of the people who come to my workshops on talking with kids about sexuality feel like they don’t know where to start. But most of them have already taken at least some steps toward providing information and/or opening a dialogue. You probably have, too, even if the whole topic still feels a bit intimidating.
Have you done any of these already?
- Taught your child the proper names for genitals (penis, vagina, scrotum, vulva, uterus)
- Talked about how people should treat each other in relationships (be honest, be kind, pay attention, control anger, etc.)
- Explained the biology of conception (penis in vagina, ejaculation of semen, sperm + ovum = baby)
- Mentioned or at least hinted that sex is pleasurable
- Answered one or more of your child’s sex-related questions without evading or (visibly) freaking out. (Internal freak-outs are fine—that’s what deep breaths are for.)
- Talked at least briefly about periods.
- Looked up the answer to your child’s sex-related question and told him what you found out
- Shown, by words or actions, that you’re OK with different sexual orientations and forms of expression. (For example, if you’re straight, you have friends who are gay and it’s no big deal.)
- Offered a book on sex or puberty to your child. Extra points if you read it to/with her and answered follow-up questions.
If you’ve done any of these, you’ve already begun. Give yourself a gold star and know that you’ve already started healthy conversations about sexuality—and build on that.