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The Birds And The Bees: How To Have The Sex Talk

Written by James Kicinski-McCoy

Photography by Artwork via Living Out

Discussing sex and puberty with your children can be embarrassing for everyone involved. But even if you might not be ready to have the dreaded sex talk, your kids might be. And the fact is, if you don’t start the discussion, the other kids at school surely will. Don’t you want the information coming from a more credible source (i.e. you)? We thought so. With that in mind, here are our tips for facing the subject head on.

It’s a good idea to start early when it comes to discussing sexuality and how the body changes. In fact, waiting until your kids are teenagers is probably too late. Research shows that more teens are becoming sexually active at a younger age—just watch an episode of Teen Mom (no, don’t) to see what we mean. Sadly, a reported 2,000 teenagers become pregnant every day in the United States and teens also have a higher risk of STDs than adults.

So, when’s the right time and what’s the best way to approach the subject? Our suggestion: When your kids are little and discovering what’s inside their undies, talk openly about it. Instead of calling their private parts silly names, use the correct terminology. There is nothing wrong with a little boy knowing that he has a penis or a little girl knowing she has a vagina and that she will have breasts when she starts to become a woman.

As your child gets older, stick to the facts and discuss each topic in an age-appropriate way. Listen to what your child has to say, answer and encourage any questions openly and honestly, all while keeping it simple. It’s also important to teach your child about safety, personal space, and privacy. For example, defining what’s appropriate with whom and setting simple boundaries, like closing the door while using the bathroom and always knocking before entering your bedroom, and you in-turn should do the same before entering theirs.

Instilling values while discussing these topics is key and creating a safe and shameless environment to discuss sexuality will ensure that your kids are comfortable with the subject and will encourage healthier sexual relationships as an adult.

There are several books available on the subject that you and your child can read together to help with further information and explanation. We suggest It’s Not the Stork! A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families, and Friends, Amazing You!: Getting Smart About Your Private Parts, I Said No! A Kid-to-Kid Guide to Keeping Your Private Parts Private, The Boys Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU, and The Girls Body Book: Everything You Need to Know for Growing Up YOU.

Bottom line, when it comes down to it, your kids are going to have questions at all stages in their childhood. Be sure to use each question as an opportunity to educate your child and further encourage the discussion.

Have you discussed ‘the birds and the bees’ with your child? How did you approach it? Keep the conversation going in the comments below!

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