My husband and I try to talk openly with our kids. We talk about a variety of subjects, including politics, religions, sports, friends, teachers and school. We also talk about sex and intimacy. Sometimes the conversations are awkward, sometimes they are silly, but we talk about them.
I grew up with a limited knowledge of sexuality (before the Internet). I knew how babies were conceived and that sex was a form of love and intimacy for adults.
I also knew that one out of every six women in the United States would be a victim of rape, or attempted rape, in her lifetime. This statistic scared me, but I didn’t know how to talk to my parents about it. I wasn’t really sure how to avoid unwanted sexual behavior, or what to do if I became a victim.
I want my kids to have more knowledge than I did. I want my kids to understand how to be safe and the importance of consent.
Our kids are exposed to lots of information about sex. Just this week, they learned the Patriots owner was arrested for soliciting sex and the principal of Fruitland High School was arrested for sexual battery. They know what #MeToo means and they hear about famous people being charged with sexual harassment.
I don’t want this to be the only information about sex they hear. I also want them to learn about safety and consent.
We talk about safety first. We discuss when it is appropriate for other people to see them naked (at the doctor’s office or hospital) and when it is not. We talk about using our words when we feel uncomfortable and talking to adults if anything unwanted occurs. We talk about birth control and sexually transmitted infections.
I also talk to my kids about consent. I explain the importance of consent at every level (hand holding, kissing, etc.) and every time. I even tell my kids that consent needs to be more than a small nod. It needs to be a “hell yes and a high five!” Consent matters, every time.
There are a lot of details to discuss, but we start with safety and consent.
Do you talk to your kids about sex? How do you start the conversation?