Talk about sex with your child is something many parents dread and the idea of the sex talk suggests that it is a once-off thing and builds heaviness around the subject that makes it hard to do. It then becomes that dreaded subject to be left until your child is grown enough to understand or need the whole sex talk. This huge talk becomes too difficult for both you the parent and the child. Many parents have similar experiences with sex talk, it is awkward and sometimes confusing to the child. One teenage girl says, “I wished I could make my mum stop because I was feeling pity for her and also I didn’t deserve that painful conversation”
To safely handle the talk, therefore, it is essential to realize first of all that it is a progressive talk spanning through a couple of years. From as early as your child begins to be curious about body parts including genitals and the difference between boys and girls, get set to go. Here it is advisable to remove the mystery around the human body as much as possible. Teaching them the correct scientific terms for their body parts will work in your favor when you need to tell them deeper stuff about sex because that one veil of limitation will be lifted from between you. If it is weird for you to say words like penis, vagina, testicles then it surely will be even more difficult to get into the details of sex.
It is a challenge for parents worldwide to talk to their children about sex but it is especially harder for those of conservative cultures. Like any challenge, when given enough thought and planning it surely can be handled better and the heaviness around it lifted. Maybe you are a product of a culture or family setting where sex talk was mystified or ignored altogether and you think you turned out just fine. Is there a reason, therefore, to make yourself uncomfortable discussing this unnatural subject with your child?
The truth is there are strong reasons to do it for the optimal development of your child. The primary reason is to protect them from being hurt by other people. Children who have open talks with their parents about their bodies know how to sense abusers from afar. When they have been made aware that no one has the right to touch them in any way that makes them uncomfortable or in their genital areas then their ‘antennas’ are sharpened to their advantage. Also, if you established a freedom zone where they can talk freely about their bodies it will be easier for them to tell you about an abuser or better still a potential one.
When your child is growing, they may not yet be engaging in sexual activities but one day they will fall in love and be ready to explore. It is important that you make them understand the purpose of sex and why it is important that they only have sex with someone that they are in a loving and committed relationship with. When that day comes, it would be wonderful if they can enjoy the act and emotions in the comfort of a committed relationship and marriage. Progressively talking about it as they grow up helps them become confident and comfortable in their bodies so that they aren’t limited by inexplicable shame around their bodies.
When they know about the importance of marriage and commitment before sex, they can be shielded from dating pressure because they know that they have control over their bodies and they have been taught to be patient. They boldly can deny indulging in sexual acts and conserve that experience for when they have made vows and commitment to someone they are truly in love with and who loves them back. Teach your child to respect their body and let them know that they can say no to anything when it involves their bodies. Also, they are better able to respect their partners for the same reason that they understand and value their consent.
After realizing that sex talk is an ongoing process, apply wisdom as you organically lead your child in it according to their level of understanding and interest. They may be curious to know how babies are made and born for example, there is your chance to shed light on the subject. It is also a chance to pass on your family and spiritual values about sex and love as you explain that babies are created when two adults who love and care for each other bring their bodies together as an act of affection that results in them reproducing. If their curiosity is too much, feel free to promise to continue the lesson in the future. Similarly, if they show disinterest then leave it for another time.
Give them balance in this ongoing talk. Make them understand that sex is very enjoyable when you do it within the confines of marriage and commitment. Do not forget to teach your child about being faithful to the person they are committed to and to always engage in safe sex to avoid unwanted pregnancies.