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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The 'Sex Talk' for kids: how soon to start?

A few months ago, I wrote a piece for the Mamamia site.

It centred on how soon to have the 'sex talk' with kids.

After a friend posted on Facebook that her six year old son had asked: "Mummy, I know a baby is made from sperm and an egg but how does the man give the woman his sperm?" I knew I wanted to re-read the piece.

No doubt I will be needing the tips in a year or two.

Here is an excerpt:

First, I started with the big one: the birds and the bees for toddlers. How on earth do I start?

“Give them the language they need to talk about their bodies and about where babies come from.When they are learning the names of body parts, include ‘penis’ and ‘testicles’ (or ‘balls’). With girls, many parents are most comfortable starting with a general “bottom” to indicate the whole nether area, but “vagina’ and/or “vulva” should be added well before starting school. I’d suggest that by age 3½ – or whenever the child is asking questions about the genitals – start using more definite, and correct, words. Both boys and girls need the names for the sex organs of both sexes.”

Gulp. I have been trying to incorporate that into my conversations with my daughter of late. I will admit I do flinch a little when I hear myself say: “Oh, that…? That is your vagina.”

“When your children have the names for penis and vagina – and know where they are located – when the questions start about where babies come from half your work is already done,” adds Dr Gelin, who suggests intro-ing that topic by the time they’re in first grade if they haven’t already done so. Although it’s very likely that by then they’d probably have talked about their penis while with you in the bank queue. When it’s quiet. Adding that they think they’ve just peed their pants. And as your face burns, you try desperately to ignore the muffled laughter.'

You can read the rest of my story here:

Question is: when do you think is the right age for the sex talk? And what will you say?


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