When and how to start talking to your child about sex: what experts advise

Bylim Olena

When and how to start talking to your child about sex: what experts advise
Kids, a kiss. Source: Anna Shvets/pexels.com

The best time to start talking to your child about sex is when they start asking questions. This can be at any age, starting at age 3 or 4. If your child doesn't ask, it doesn't mean she isn't interested in sex. She may just not know how to start a conversation.

It is important to be frank and answer your child's questions truthfully, but in a way that is age-appropriate. Difficult questions should not be avoided or promised to be answered later. How to talk to a child about sex, explained experts from the educational community RaisingChildren.

Read also: scientists found that sex helps to maintain brain health in old age

It is noted that it is never too early to talk to a child about sex, "Talking about sex, sexuality and the body from childhood can help a child understand that sex and sexuality are healthy parts of life."

Experts noted that a child should know that they can come to you for open, honest and reliable information and that they should not be afraid or embarrassed to ask you about sex and sexuality.

Plus, experts add, a conversation about sex and sexuality is not a one-time event. It's a conversation that continues and evolves as your child grows.

The sex talk: where to start

First, find out what your child already knows about sexuality. For example, ask, "Where do you think babies come from?" or "What have you heard (heard) about where babies come from?"

If you get an answer and realize that the child has a misconception about it, correct any misinformation and give facts. For example, you might say, "You're almost right (right). Babies don't grow in mommy's tummy. They grow in a special place inside the body called the uterus."

Read also: Toys as an opportunity to diversify intimate life

You need to use conversation as an opportunity to talk about your thoughts or feelings. For example: "some people really want to have a baby when they are ready. Other people are not too sure about having a baby at all."

How to talk about sex and sexuality with children

Explain things at your child's developmental level. For example, a 6-year-old will not want to hear a long explanation about ovulation, although he or she may be fascinated by the fact that very small eggs can have a baby.

It is best to keep your explanation brief, factual, and positive. If you can do this, your child will feel that he can come back to you when he wants more information.

Use the correct names for body parts

It's best to use the correct names when you're talking about body parts - for example, penis, scrotum, balls, vulva, vagina. This helps send the message that it's healthy and normal to talk about these parts of our bodies. And if your child knows the correct names of body parts, they will be able to clearly communicate about their body with you or people like doctors if they need to.

About the difference between men and women, "Some people have penises and some people have vulvas," you might say.

"Your child doesn't need you to be an expert - your child just needs to know that they can ask you anything," educators say.

If you don't know what to say, tell your child that you're glad they asked, that you don't know the answer, and that you'll look up some information and get back to them. And then be sure to get back to your child. Or you can search for the answer together.

"This builds trust and signals that you will be honest with your child," RaisingChildren explained.

It's also important or both parents are involved in discussions about sex. When all parents are involved, children learn that it's okay for everyone to talk about sex and sexuality. This can help children feel comfortable talking about their bodies, taking responsibility for sexual feelings, and communicating during intimate relationships as they get older.

How to start the conversation if your child doesn't ask about sex

It is advisable to think ahead of time about what to say and then choose an appropriate time to talk. For example, if someone is talking about pregnancy on TV, you might say, "They used to not talk about pregnancy on TV. I was wondering if you know what it is?".

Some children find it easier to talk without eye contact, so you can plan a conversation when you and your child are traveling in the car.

You may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable talking about sexuality or using words like "penis" or "vagina" when talking about bodies. So it's worth preparing by thinking about what you're comfortable with and building on that. For example, you might bypass talking about sex with penetration, and start talking to your child about breasts.

It's important for children to know the difference between acceptable touch and unacceptable touch. Make sure your child knows that she can say "No!" to any touching she doesn't want, and that it's always okay to tell a trusted adult about unacceptable touching. You can start talking about sexual abuse and talking about consent when your child is young.

"It is advisable to start talking to your child about puberty and how the body changes during puberty long before your child starts puberty. This could be when your child is about 6-8 years old," experts say.

It is pointed out, if your child is confronted with sexting or pornography, stay calm. This can be an opportunity to talk to your child about what children can and cannot see. And talking about these issues is one of the best ways to keep your child safe online.

Earlier, scientists found evidence of the dangers of oral sex.

Want to receive the most up-to-date news about the war and events in Ukraine - subscribe to our Telegram channel!