I’m not sure when the basics of sex ed are supposed to start. I’m no expert. I don’t know when my mom started the talks with me, because I have no awareness of not understanding what my body parts were for. I never had “The Talk” I had hundreds of small discussions with my mom that started before I can even remember.
That’s how I’ve raised my children too. Every time I changed a diaper, I’d say, “There’s your vagina.” Or “There’s your penis.” As potty training approaches, I explained that the areas are private. I never made a big deal out of it.
Talking with my children about sex was usually very easy, because I kept it fairly matter-of-fact and age-appropriate. How did I know what was age appropriate? Even that was easy. I just answered their questions, as simply and as directly as possible.
I don’t really know if this was the right way to do it. I don’t even know if there is an official right way to teach our children about sex. I only know that the way I approached it has worked fairly well so far. My kids have an age appropriate awareness about their bodies and they have pretty clearly understood boundaries.
I’m not going to tell you that your children aren’t going to throw a curve ball at you along the way though. The key, I think, is just to keep your composure and stay kind of matter-of-fact about it.
For example, you can imagine my “friend’s” shock when one of her children, at four years old said, “Mama, I’m going to tell ‘Katie’ that when we grow up, I’m going to marry her and I’m going to put my penis in her vagina so that we can make a baby.”
To that, (internally horrified) my friend very calmly said, “Well, little boys are not allowed to talk about sex to little girls, so please don’t say that to anyone at pre-school or you will get in trouble.”
To which her son responded, “Fine. Fine!!!! I will tell her that when I get older, I will marry her, and I will stand across the room from her and shoot sperm at her so that we can make a baby.”
After a moment of thought, (and feeling like she was going to pass out, my friend said calmly but with conviction, “Little boys are not allowed to discuss their penises or sperm or any private part on anyone with anyone except the doctor and their parents. Understood?”
And that was that.
How do you plan to discuss the birds and the bees with your kids? Will there a big talk, or will it been on-going since they were old enough to listen?