All posts tagged Sex

Let’s Talk About Sex

Disclaimer: This post isn’t going to be for everyone, but because I am teaching an adolescent class and because the topic of sex, sexuality, intimacy, body image, and gender roles along with plain old “So how DO you talk to kids about all of this?” comes up during every class, I wanted to provide a quick tip list that will help parents address these sensitive subjects in a reasonable, rational and respectful way.

sex-talk1. Start early. The sooner you start talking to your kids about sex, intimacy, pleasure, body image, and gender identification, the better chance you have of raising a thoughtful, well informed educated teenager who understands all of these subjects and feels comfortable talking about them – openly and honestly. Take into consideration your child’s age, and take into consideration the level of curiosity your children display. Use their questions as a way to gauge how much information to share. If they seem satisfied with your answer, stop. If they ask more, keep answering. Parents wait too long to talk to their kids about sex, intimacy, pleasure, responsibility and healthy relationships and miss the opportunity to establish honest conversation when kids are in the curious stage of life.

Most children are exposed to pornography by the age of 9. The sooner you start the education process, the better informed your kids will be which means they will make smarter, safer decisions when it comes time to decide whether they are ready for sex or not and with whom they want to have a sexual relationship with.

2. Use real language, not pretend words for real body parts. If you are uncomfortable using the word penis or vagina, intercourse, homosexuality, and so on there is no way you are going to be able to talk to your kids about sex and their sexuality. One of the ways you can determine whether your children are ready to explore their sexuality is by how comfortable they are talking about their bodies and how they work. After all, if they can’t say the word penis or vagina, they probably aren’t ready.

Using made up, immature names only confuses kids and lets them know that you are uncomfortable with the entire subject. This means they will rely on other people for information and their education.

3. Get educated. Chances are your parents were not a wealth of information and you grew up with some questions and faulty beliefs of your own around the subject of sexuality and sex. Blow these limiting beliefs open and do the work necessary to be a viable resource for your kids. It is our responsibility to talk to our kids about difficult subjects. Particularly subjects that will affect them their entire lives. Find experts who resonate with you. Practice talking about things that make you uncomfortable and nervous. You want your kids to come to YOU, not the other 9 year-old on the bus, with questions. Be honest and provide accurate information. Don’t confuse education with values. Being educated often makes it easier for kids to live into the value of delayed sexual intimacy.

4. Make it a regular conversation, not a conversation that happens once a year. Sex and intimacy, gender identification and body image are a big part of life as an adult. There are many aspects to a healthy sex life with a life partner. It will take dozens and dozens of conversations, some light, some serious in order to educate our children on relationships, intimacy, sexuality, pleasure, monogamy, and so on. Put it on your calendar and take advantage of every opportunity to talk about sex.

5. Education breeds confidence. Children who are confident about what constitutes a healthy sexual relationship (and that starts with the relationship they have with themselves), are better able to navigate healthy relationships when that becomes an integral part of their lives.

6. Encourage your kids to develop a healthy relationship with their own body. Yes, I know this is awkward, but studies show that people who are comfortable in their own skin, who understand their own bodies and can communicate openly about their own wants, needs and desires, are more likely to enter into healthy relationships. If you can’t bring yourself to talk to your kids, find someone you trust who feels comfortable and make that personal available to your child.

We are sexual beings. Whether you like it or not, it is your responsibility to teach your children about sexuality, sex, intimacy, healthy relationships and the time to start is when they are young and you have time to cover every aspect of what it means to be in a physical relationship with another human being.

Be Brave. Be Courageous. And have FUN.

The Big Talk!

embarrassed.teenAttention – Calling all moms, dads, aunties, nannies and anyone else you consider part of the “village” that helps you raise your kids. Here’s a post based on several, recent, conversations I had and overheard while milling around my life (minding my own business thank you very much) on the subject of…..sex. AHHHH! No, not that. YES – that.

You do realize, that without “it” – sex – you wouldn’t be parents – right?

And you are also aware that you will never feel the thrill of holding your brand new grand child if at some point YOUR kids don’t have sex. So, lets keep this conversation in perspective. If you are easily offended, I am sure there are lots of other posts on the internet of interest. For those brave souls who want to know my 2 cents on the subject – read on.

More and more I hear from families who have middle-school, “tweeners” asking me- when I suggest they sit down and have “the talk” with the kids? You know- “the big sex-talk?”

Here is my concern:

What in the world have you been waiting for? By the time your kids are 12 or 13, they are way-way-WAY behind. Now, they know lots of stuff about sex. They learned some in school and some at church and some from you. But the majority of what they learned, they learned from other kids who don’t know any more than yours do. It’s crazy. One of the scariest aspects of a parent’s life is thinking about their kids having sex and they think a reasonable solution is to IGNORE IT! Wake up people. We have some education to do.

Now, I sum up sex ed in two categories.

The first are the nuts and bolts. You know, the questions the kids ask when they are small and they want to know where babies come from and all that. This leads into all the “technical” stuff the kids learn at school or at home about how, when, who, why and don’t, wait, safety, etc.

But there is another category that doesn’t often get any air time at all and I think in some ways this is the most important conversation NOT being had by parents and their kids. And that conversation is about intimacy and sensuality and passion and connection and communication. Now, I have NO idea why parents aren’t talking to their kids about this stuff, but they aren’t.

Parent’s often ask me when I had “the talk” and ya know, the truth is, I never did it in one talk. I never sat my kids down and said, “Listen honey, it’s time for me to tell you about intercourse or the birds and the bees” … or whatever it is that parents use to bring the topic up, nowadays. It was always just part of the ongoing conversation in my home with 5 very different people.

I will tell you, that not once did we use names like po-po or may-may or wee-wee. It makes the whole “body beautiful” thing completely bogus. I wanted my children to feel confident when they discussed their bodies so that meant taking the plunge and calling things what they are – Penis. Vagina. Clitoris. Erection. There you have it.

I know, I know for many of you- the conversation is not flowing and it takes some thoughtful consideration, because you as parents are not even comfortable discussing the subject. And for you, I say its time to get off it- get over it and get moving, your children are counting on you.

Here is a great resource to support you to start your own journey.

Birds and Bees and Kids

Be enlightened and get going. Its too important to wait. Your kids will get the information somewhere and even if Jane is your child’s middle-school sex-ed teacher, its up to you, the parents. Your kids are counting on you, don’t leave them in the dark.

This is a beautiful and magical and mysterious and serious part of life.

Let’s talk as much about sex and love and intimacy and commitment as we do about their damn cell phones.

Big Love everyone.