Conversation Tips – Talking About Sexuality With Kids

talking to kids about sex Aug 26, 2021
 Originally posted 07/06/2015

General Tips For Sexuality Conversations With Kids:

Keep it simple - Strip back (excuse the pun) the layers in your mind of your own adult sexual journey.
Your thoughts, desires, fears, pleasures, needs, experiences are not relevant to the simple questions that a child is asking, or the conversation you need to have with them. 

Be positive - your reaction can be worse than your response. e.g. Walking in on pornography viewing:
"Oh! I'm so glad I have seen those images on your screen, it gives me the opportunity to explain to you what they are and why they are there..."

Walking in on 'normal' childhood imagination play:
"Oh my goodness!! Oh! I'm glad I saw you playing doctors with your pants down, it reminds me to explain to you both about our private parts. Pop your pants back up Johnny and we will go out to the kitchen and have some cookies and have a chat about it..."

Buy yourself some time to think up an answer, when asked a confronting question, while exploring what they already do or don't know:
"That is a great question! What do you know about that?" or "Glad you asked me about that! Who told you and what else did they say about it?"

Younger Kids Sexuality Conversation Examples:
  • "Next time you hear that stuff in the playground come and ask me about it. I will always tell you the truth, you will never get into trouble for asking me things like that"
  • "That sort of kissing is for two people who really love/like each other and it is a special way of showing their feelings. It is special and private and only older kids and adults are ready to do it when their minds and bodies are grown up."
  • "Sex is not for kids, it is for adult minds and bodies"
Always let them know they can come to you about anything, nothing is off limits. This needs to be actually said to them frequently.
"It was great having our little chat, I want you to know that you can ask Mum and I any question about sex or anything that you hear, or want to know about, even if you think it is rude or disgusting. We will always answer your questions, you will never be in trouble."

The basis of all conversations should be about respectful relationships.  
Other key themes we need to put into our conversations are: pleasure, fun, fulfilment and the good parts of intimate connections and partnerships. It is not just always focusing on the negative things like, diseases, pregnancy and safety stuff.
  • "Our body parts under our bathers are the private parts of our bodies. Who do you think is allowed to see or touch them and when?" (Nanna, Grandpa, Aunty Jane, doctor, Child care, Mum and Dad - only when they are taking care of you, like bathing you or helping in the toilet etc...)
  • "Sexy is an adult word. It means that someone makes themselves look attractive in an adult way to another person, or they might act in an attractive way to another adult. That type of dancing on that music video is 'sexy' dancing, really only appropriate for adults."
  • "Families come in all shapes and sizes, it's love that makes a 'family'. Lisa's family has two mummies, they all live in the same house together and her Dad lives in another house."
How did that baby get in her tummy?
"That's a great question, I have been meaning to talk to you about that. She had a special egg and when that egg met with a special seed a baby started to grow from it."

Where was her egg?
"All physical females have special eggs that can start growing a baby, the eggs live inside an adult physical female’s tummy in a special little sac called an ovary."

Where does the seed come from?
"It comes from a physical male. Adult physical males have the special seeds that are also needed to grow a baby, these live in their bodies in another special type of sac called a testicle."

Wow! How did the seed meet the egg in her tummy? Did she swallow the seed?
OMG!!!!! No wonder many of us avoid it all together!!!! Come to one of my presentations to see how this and many other stories end happily ever after :)
Older Kids Sexuality Conversation Examples:
  • "I know you don't want to talk about this topic but I just need ten minutes, there are a few important things I need to talk to you about..."
  • "Your body and mind have started growing into an adult, there are a few things I want to tell you about these exciting changes..."
  • "It's hard for me to explain this stuff because no on ever talked to me about it - I don't want you to have the same experience of not having information so bear with me while I get it right for you..."
  • "Puberty is the time in a person's life when children's' bodies and minds grow and develop into adult bodies and minds. It is a really exciting and full on time and lot's of changes occur. It feels different for everyone, some people find it embarrassing, confusing, exciting, scary and even fun. Let's talk about some of the other changes you might notice..."
  • "Sex is really fun, awkward, exciting, scary, confusing and heaps of other things all at the same time. A lot of it you just have to work out for yourself but there are a few safety things we need to chat about...
  • If you have these things sorted you will have a lot more fun and enjoyment with sex:
  1. Sexually Transmissible Infections - condoms etc.
  2. Contraception - condoms etc.
  3. Boundaries/decision making etc.
  4. Inner safety feeling etc. 

    Then talk about these. Perhaps give them a book or website (see below).

Does everyone have periods?
"People with uteruses and ovaries can have periods. Periods are part of the changes to the uterus that happen every month. It 's the amazing way that physical female bodies get ready to make a baby every month."

What is a wet dream?
"At night, a physical boy might notice a fluid that comes out of the penis. When a physical boy's body develops into a man it starts producing sperm in the testicles, this sperm comes out in a fluid called semen. If they have a sexy dream, some of that fluid might come out of the tip of the penis. It's easily wiped up with a tissue and pjs go in the wash. it's really normal for this to happen to all physical males."
"Physical girls also have 'wet' dreams they too have sexy thoughts and dreams when they are asleep and the vagina can become lubricated but it is not as obvious."

Consider being gender neutral when asking about their relationships. Avoid saying:
"Do you like that girl?"
"How do you feel about relationships or do you feel attracted to anyone in that group?

Don't tease kids about their friendships. Young kids don't relate to the girlfriend/boyfriend/partner thing your 'adult' opinions are suggesting - you might confuse and embarrass them. Avoid:
"Ooohhh is that your boyfriend??? Whoo Whooo!"
"Dave is a great kid, you and him seem to have a strong friendship?"