How to Start Talking about Sex with Children (Part 2)

January 15, 2017 | EducationFamily & Relationships

After reading Part 1, you’ve decided that you’re going to do it. You’re going to talk with your kids about sex. You’ve accepted that they are good people, that their natural inclination is to do good and not harm to others, so you already know this is going to be a conversation, not a sermon.  A process, not an event.  A teaching of how to think, not what to think. 

You got the newspaper, the magazine, the Internet article–something anyway, ready for our big family talk. “This is exciting,” you’re thinking, and I’m gonna do it.”  Which brings us to a significant potential roadblock. What if you read, say your line (“What do you think of that?”) and they yawn, shrug and keep the food fight going?

Well, that’s disappointing. You probably should yell or something. That would certainly set anyone up for a comfortable conversation…maybe not. Well, not to worry. Ignoring you and sexuality itself is part of the process. You’re engaged in what behavioral scientists call modeling — letting others know that a behavior is acceptable and safe in this context. And THAT, according to Einstein, is a BFD.


Remember: just because you’re ready doesn’t mean everyone else in the world is right there with you. This is a process. You should probably switch it up now and then with reading a story about something else, something safer like nuclear proliferation, gang violence, North Korea (“Hey, Lil’ Kim!), or terrorism.

So … just keep going, keep trying, keep talking. Pretty soon, as your nervous voice drops an octave, you’ll even sound normal and the kids will start to breathe again. They will eventually join you but only if you keep up the habit of letting them know that it’s more than OK to talk about human sexuality. It’s normal.  And healthy. And fun. (Do try not to become the first person in the history of our species to make sexuality into a boring topic.)