Article: ‘The Talk’ (Talking About Sex With Your Child/Parents)

As you probably guessed from yesterday’s review, I’m pretty open with my family about sex.

Every single family member knows about what I do, and I proudly and openly address any adult queries that any of them have. I’ve gifted multiple members of my immediate family adult products and have even helped some of them actively improve their sex life (my moment of pride being when my aunt said I’d helped her achieve her first multiple orgasm ever).

In this way I’m pretty fortunate and I know it.

Me every time I think back on how my parents approached sex with me overall.

Not every adult writer gets to share their profession with their family, and some have to actively hide any hint of their sexual desires from family members. Worst, some get actively shamed when it comes to sex and relationships, or have come from actively sex negatives families. This breaks my heart.

It also got me thinking about the nature of the parent/child discussion, and what role it should play in people’s lives.

What is the best way to discuss sex with your child/parents? Is there even such a thing? How do you approach it? And what do you do if a positive parent/child discussion is just not possible at all?

This article will address some of these questions and, hopefully, lead to a few more happy families.

Parents/Caregivers Talking To Children About Sex

Are you the type of person who has lived the past 13-16 years of your child’s life dreading that eventual day when ‘the talk’ is needed?

If so, then you’re probably too late.

We live in the age of communication. My nephew was more adept with his mothers iPhone then my Android-loving self by the time he was 2 and, at 7 years old, he’s now more of an avid Youtube enthusiast then I am and can get up pretty much anything and everything he wants online.

This means that, inevitably, children are either intentionally or accidentally stumbling upon sex at a younger age than many might expect.

If you leave the talk to late then, chances are, your child is probably already Wednesday Addams levels of informed.

It also means that putting in place a sensible, comprehensive, and protective sex and relationship education system is all the more important.

You’ll never find me shouting that we need to censor the net, or ‘shield’ children from sex, but I’m not naive either – I know that certain aspects of our digital age means that some of the content our young’uns encounter is not age appropriate and can have a detrimental effect on their attitudes to sex, relationships, and their own bodies.

So it’s our jobs, as parents/caregivers to make sure that children are equipped with all the tools they need to consider sex and relationships in a responsible, empowering, and safe manner.

This doesn’t mean that you have to pull out dildos and vibrators for your kiddies to view before they’ve hit double digits, but it does mean considering what you would want your children to experience in their future sexual and emotional/romantic relationships and giving them age-appropriate knowledge as they develop over the years.

This can be as simple as letting your toddler know that it’s okay to say no to being kissed/hugged by a relative, and that the boundaries they place on their body matters (and that they need to equally respect the space of others). It can involve advocating for non-violence as they grow up, using anatomical terms for their genitals, and letting them know that they can touch and explore their own bodies but (much like bath time is bath time and school time is school time) there is a time and place for everything.

There are many resources online that will help you figure out what to discuss at what age and some of it will be up to your personal approach but, remember, it’s important to consider what sort of relationships you want your child to have in life.

For most this will be a life free of STIs, unwanted pregnancy, abuse, pressure, and pain. But, beyond this, most people, deep down, also want their children to be able to experience the sort of love, joy, and pleasure that sex and a good relationship can bring.

If this is what you want for your child then you can play a role in making it possible but, as with all good relationships, it starts with open and honest communication.

Children Talking To Parents/Caregivers About Sex

If you’re reading this then you are clearly above the age of consent and the age where you can look at adult content *cough cough* so I’m going to assume that you’re in your late teens and go from there.

And, first off, I totally get it: Talking about sex with your parents can be hard, embarrassing, and involve finding out some things that you might have a knee jerk reaction to.

That is, if you come from the typical family scenario where sex is rarely discussed.

In the ideal you would have had the above-mentioned relationship with your folks and there would be no problem. Sex can be discussed whenever and you know your family has your best interests at heart. Success! But I know this is rarely the case.

And, again, I also know that you’ve probably also seen a lot of stuff online, done your own browsing, and will likely have some pre-existing beliefs and questions about sex. So what do?

Although I had a good relationship with my parents when I came to sex I was terrified when it came to telling my mum I was considering having sex. Like, absolutely bricking it.

I walked up to her in the kitchen to start the convo and my stomach was typing itself in knots. When I told her (mid-dinner prep) she cried…a lot. Then she started showing me the Ann Summers catalogue and cried some more. Then I got bored. I learned very little.

Literally my mum when I mentioned the idea of getting it on

Learn from my rookie mistake and never just randomly approach your intended family member mid another task and just drop a huge sex bomb on them. It’s not likely to have good results.

Instead, I’d recommend either taking a quiet moment to let them know that you’ve been thinking about sex recently and would like to take the time to talk to them about it (and then plan a pre-designated time for that talk in a safe and relaxing space), or start/get in on, a pre-existing conversation about sex in general before moving more in to your personal thoughts, concerns, and beliefs.

In any instance understand that, for a parent who doesn’t discuss sex openly, talking about sex with your child will be a shocking and weird experience for most parents at first, just as it is for you, and respect that.

Respect in general will be your ally. Don’t make a serious sexual situation a joke. Be open and honest – dancing around whatever topic you want to address won’t help either of you – and make sure you listen to your parent’s/caregiver’s answer to any questions you have. Equally, ask them if they have anything they’d want to ask you and politely defend your right to the same level of respect if needed.

Don’t be afraid to ask anything.

Follow these guidelines and that first conversation won’t be perfect, but it may be slightly less painful and perhaps even open up a new bridge of communication between you and your loved ones.

Oh, and if, at any point, you feel uncomfortable with how the conversations is going or feel attacked, shamed, or put under pressure, remember that you have the right at any point to cease the conversation end the conversation in a non-confrontational way.

Your sex life and your relationships are your own.

Own that knowledge with confidence.

Familial Shame: When Discussion Isn’t Possible

If, for some sad reason, you find that you’re a younger individual that cannot have an open, honest, and shame-free conversation about sex, sexuality, and relationships with your family then I’m so sorry. It sucks. Royally.

I can’t speak of your personal experience but my main piece of advice would be this:

Educate yourself.

Listen to Thor.

If you’re curious about topics involving sex and relationships but feel like you can’t discuss it with those closest to you (especially due to feelings of shame) then be proactive.

Research sex online. As mentioned above, we’re in the information age and there are so many good articles out there. Google the ‘stupid’ questions, look at various sites and see what they say. Consider who the person saying it is, whether or not they’re a professional, and what their personal agenda might be.

Follow up on sites/authors that give useful information. Find the counter arguments to any points you agree with and compare and contrast them.

Go to a library and pick up some books. See what knowledge you can find. If you like a book/site and it lists sources/links then look at them and go from there. Pay for your porn, look at concepts such as body positivity, feminism, and autonomy. Expand your knowledge in any way you can.

No, it’s not the ideal situation, but all of this advice is something I’d encourage anyone and everyone to do. The only thing you’ll be missing out on is familial input and your biggest challenge will be what you then do with the information you learn. Because, trust me, you’ll come out the other side of your information journey knowing that sex, sexuality, and relationships are not something to feel ashamed of, and that you have the right to pleasure, health, and happiness, and knowing that this stance clashes with what your family thinks can be hard.

Find Your Voice

Communication about sex, sexuality, and relationships are a precarious territory to approach in family situations if communication about it is currently minimal. But the best way to change that is to simply act, break the trend, and begin being more open with discussing them.

Begin to find your voice, respect each other (and the emotions that may be involved when having adult-based conversations), and move forward with the aim of helping each other reach a greater sense of understanding and happiness and you’re already on the right track.

Buuuut maybe avoid the festive season…At least depending on whether or not the festive dinner got burnt in the oven.