Have you been dreading “The Talk” with your kids? You know the one I’m talking about. The talk about “the birds and the bees” which actually has nothing at all to do with birds or bees. Let’s call it what it is. We’re talking about SEX. Curious about how to talk to your kids about sex?
It’s the subject that makes every parent sweat and every kid squirm, but I believe there’s a different way to tackle it. Not only is sex one of the most sacred and important lessons we need to teach to our kids; it can also be one of the most unexpected ways to truly build trust and connection with your kids. When we do it right, “The Talk” (or rather, “The many talks”) about sex can foster a unique bond of trust, mutual respect and connection between a parent and a child.
I have four sons ranging in age from preschool to high school, so there have already been many talks along the way. They tend to pop up at unexpected times. Recently, during bath time, my seven-year-old son innocently said, “Dad, today on the playground, one of the kids was talking about S-E-X.”
My first thought was, “I’m not ready for this! He’s SEVEN. I was planning on starting the sex talk when he was in his mid-thirties.”
I didn’t know if he knew it was a real word called “sex” or if he only knew of it by it’s 3 infamous letters (like the CIA or FBI). I smiled and calmly asked, “S-E-X, huh? What do you think that means?”
He thought for a moment and said, “My friend said it means when two people are boyfriend and girlfriend.”
In just a minute, I’ll tell you what I told my seven-year-old about S-E-X, plus an age-specific chart of what to say and when, but first, I’d like to address a few important points about how (and when) to start communicating with your children about these important issues.
In no particular order, here are some things to keep in mind for how to talk to your kids about sex.
How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex Tip #1: They’re hearing about it much earlier than you’d think.
The internet has opened up a new world to this generation of kids, and consequently, they’re hearing about sex younger than any previous generation. According to XXXchurch.com, the average age of first exposure to pornography is now around ten-years-old. That means the typical ten-year-old has seen explicit porn before she has ever had a conversation about sex with her parents.
Our oldest son came home from his first day of 8th grade saying kids on the bus were sexting each other and sharing pictures of their genitals right on the bus ride. I’m thankful we’d cultivated the kind of relationship with him where he was comfortable talking to us about the real-life, unwanted sexual exposure he was experiencing. In my new book, Raising Boys Who Respect Girls, I share much more about the conversations we’ve had with him (and all our sons) about issues like sexting, porn, masturbation, puberty and everything else related to sex.