Teaching Kids About Sex
Jess wrote a piece the other day about coming to the realization that her kids are sexual beings, and it made me realize that OMG THAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN TO ME. But also, it made me think about the fact that I need to plan for this, to talk to my kids about sex and sexuality, and to actually prepare for them to be sexual beings (OMG) because it’s going to happen whether I like it or not. And then I had a heart attack and died.
But anyhoo. Smarties? Let’s talk about sex.
Here are a couple things we need to discuss.
1. Our kids will be having sex and masturbating (probably in our houses, OMG), and we need to prepare them accordingly.
Oh god. I am so not ready for this. But I need to be ready for this. Which is why I’m writing this. So I’ll be ready for this even though I’m not ready for this. I just keep thinking about the laundry and what I will find. *shudder*
Someone pour me a drink. For the next, I dunno... 11 years or so?
2. Our kids will be looking at porn. Yes they will. They will. I know. Just… don’t think about it too much. In this here age o’ endless and easily accessed information, we need to make sure that at least some of the porn our kids look at is sex positive, is not misogynistic, and covers various sexuality options (i.e. we even have to avoid heteronormativity in porn… possibly especially in porn).
Know what that means? That means we gotta plant porn in our houses. FOR OUR CHILDREN TO FIND. I said don’t think about it too much. And probably don’t touch it again after you’ve planted it, because ew.
3. We need to figure out how to talk about sex with our kids without overwhelming them by chasing them around the house with it, OR without making sex seem taboo by avoiding the topic altogether. We need to learn to talk about sex in a nonchalant you-can-ask-me-anything sort of way that provides education and room for questions without freaking our kids out so much that they never ever ever talk to us about sex. I don’t have the solution for how to do this well. I’m still working it out. Christina's already worked out a lot of it for her daughters... and I will steal whatever I can because why reinvent the wheel? Parenting is ALL about stealing. (Well... borrowing. With proper citations. And a correctly formatted bibliography. ANYWAY.) But I have sons, so we'll end up approaching things slightly differently, I imagine. Like I said, I really have no idea. But for now, I'm answering questions as they come as coolly as I can.
What I DO know is that these two books (recommended to me by 2 brilliant Smarty Mommies) kick ass and have already provided lots of information and started a few great conversations with my 2nd grader. Including conversations about consent, which are deeply, deeply important to have over and over and over again.
It’s Not the Stork: A Book About Girls, Boys, Babies, Bodies, Families and Friends by Robie H. Harris This book is appropriately silly and welcoming to kids who have questions about sex and babies and bodies. It's a great starter book when those questions first pop up and you don't know how to answer them.
Sex Is a Funny Word: A Book About Bodies, Feelings, and YOU by Cory Silverberg This book is beautifully intersectional and includes diverse bodies and genders and sexualities in the loveliest way. Its bright colors and comic book style makes it super approachable and less intimidating.
4. We need to model sex positivity without grossing our kids out. Holding hands in front of them? Cool. Hugging and snuggling in front of them? Cool. Kissing in front of them? Cool. Grabbing parts and/or talking explicitly about your sex life in front of them? WAY LESS COOL.
5. We need to do all these things before they have sex. Which means starting EARLY. Like… starting now. Right now.
Did you just have a heart attack, too? I know. Welcome. It’s awkward here.
There’s so much to attack here, we’ve decided this is going to be a short series. Let’s talk about sex, baby. And let's talk about talking about sex with our babies. (OMG.) Christina and I will tell you a little about how we plan to handle each of these things, and we invite you to join in the conversation. How will you talk to your kids about sex?