“It’s time for the sex talk.” Few words make parents, teens, and preteens cringe more.
Honestly, how are parents supposed to do this? Do we suddenly blurt out the line, “Hey kids, sit down. It’s time for the sex talk?”
Is it better to awkwardly mumble something about “the birds and the bees?” And what does that line really mean anyway?
Every parent knows they are supposed to have the sex talk with their kids. Far fewer know what this means and what to do. If you fall into this category, then I have good news for you!
The SEX Talk Made Easy
Cue the superhero music. Because Sue Dhal is an expert at teaching parents how to have the sex talk right. Susan knows that the sex talk can be awkward for everyone, but it also doesn’t have to be.
Susan is an author, speaker, and parent educator who excels at taking the awkwardness out of talking to kids about SEX. Why do too many of us avoid, sidestep, and take the detour when our children want to know the truth? It’s because nobody modeled it for us.
There are no guidebooks or parenting step-by-step rules to live by. Fortunately, during our Thriving at Home Summit, my amazing wife, Jenny, and I had the opportunity to pick Sue’s brain. As a daddy of four girls, what Sue had to say hit home. During our chat, Sue made having the sex talk feel easy and painless.
Every parent wants what is best for their child, and Susan will show you how to get there. In this post, you’ll,
- Discover how and when to broach the topic of sex with your kids.
- Learn how to use age-appropriate portions of your story to engage your teens.
- Find out how to take the awkwardness out of this whole experience.
Parents need to know that when it comes to one of the most important decisions our kids will ever make – becoming a parent or merging to create a new life – we can’t be silent, uneasy, or guilt-ridden. So dive in and discover The Sex Talk Easy, How to Keep Your Virgin from Merging too Soon—which also happens to be the title of Sue’s incredibly helpful book!
In this post, I share with you some of my favorite insights from our conversation with Sue!
How to Keep Your Virgin from Mergin Too Soon
- First, understand that your kids intuitively know stuff (even stuff about sex), and they are innately curious. Parents can use this to their advantage. Most kids will witness animals mating at some point (whether it’s on a zoo, farm, or The Discovery Channel). If the question comes up, “What are those animals doing?” this is an opportunity for parents to have an age-appropriate sex talk.
- This sex talk can be as simple as stating, “Those two horses are making another horse.” In other words, it’s acknowledging what’s happening and talking about it as opposed to becoming embarrassed by it, diverting the question, or avoiding the conversation.
- When innocent questions happen (and they will), parents can see this as an opportunity instead of something to be embarrassed by. In other words, parents can normalize healthy sex talk conversations between parents and kids.
Sex Talk and Movies
- Movies are another great opportunity for parents and kids to talk about issues that could be awkward, including the sex talk. However, these conversations don’t have to be awkward unless we make them that way.
- Examples include times when the F-bomb is dropped, or the middle finger is shown. Children don’t understand what these gestures and words mean. Parents can use this as an opportunity to provide more than “That’s bad,” or “Those words are rude.” Instead, these can be times of mini-sex education.
- Eventually, these words and gestures will be further explained to our kids. What an honor to have these conversations with our kids, as opposed to having their friends and peers do it for us.
- Parents can use these opportunities to explain the difference between sex and love to their kids—and, as we know, there is a difference.
Start With Fart (No, this isn’t meant to be crude)
- For younger kids, start with a fart. This is a simple bodily function that parents can acknowledge and talk about with their kids. Kinds and parents can agree that everyone farts, they smell bad, etc. Then parents can say, “And now we’re done talking about this for the day.” The point of the activity is for parents to begin having bodily function conversations with their kids and for these types of conversations to be allowed (and the occasional norm) at home.
- This lays the foundation for future talks about bodily functions. Of course, the sex talk is about more than a simple function of our biology, but this bodily function is a part of it. Puberty and the bodily changes that go along with it can be embarrassing to talk about—especially if parents and kids are not used to having these types of conversations. So why not start early and start with farts.
You are Already an Expert on The Sex Talk
- As a parent, you’ve already been through puberty. You have all the body parts to reproduce. You know what these body parts do. This makes you an expert on the sex talk—or at least expert enough.
- Parents can make the sex talk easier by reflecting on their own stories. Ask,
- How did I learn about sext?
- Do I want the way I found out to be the way my child finds out? (Were their words you didn’t understand? A joke you didn’t get and become embarrassed by? etc.)
- What feelings were evoked when you learned about sex for the first time? (Was it anger, embarrassment, curiosity, confusion, fear, etc.?)
- Only a parent knows when their child/preteen/teen is ready for the sex talk.
- Then, share one of your stories. You might say something like, “You know honey, you look really embarrassed right now, and I want to tell you about something that really embarrassed me when I was your age… (I didn’t know what side my nose should go on when I kissed a boy… etc).
- Remember, your child will have the same concerns, fears, wonders, and questions you had.
The Sex Talk and COVID
- As our world moves toward online learning, our children will have more opportunities to stumble upon sexual content on the internet. Now is the time for parents to be aware and have sex talk conversations with their kids and safety-related conversations with their kids.
- It’s better to prepare our kids and let them know they could come across pornography, sexual conversations, etc. Then, talk with your kids about how you would like them to handle the situation. This is far better than waiting for them to stumble onto these things or to be exposed to them by their peers.
- Forbidding may cause teenagers to wonder, “What do my parents not want me to know?” and push them to act on their curiosity. This is why having an open conversation is better. So share your stories, your concerns, and your voice. What you say doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be you.
- Give kids a filter. Teach them to ask, “Is it good, and is it right?” Meaning would you want your mom, sister, grandmother, to look at this with you too? If the answer is “No,” then that’s a strong indication of what you are seeing isn’t “good” or “right.”
Give Your Kids and Out
One of my favorite parts of Sue’s talk was her story about a sex talk conversation with her dad. Sue’s dad told her, “Honey, when things get passionate, always break for orange juice.” Sue shares how she took this to heart, remembered what her dad said, and even followed his advice.
Why orange juice? No one knows. And this led to some confused guys. Yet, Sue said this simple strategy works. Never underestimate the power you have as a parent. Share your story and give your kids and out. When things get heated, there is a progression. Parents can help their kids by providing an escape route from the “hot and heavy.”
- Parents can help their kids create their own out from the hot and heavy. It might be as simple as “We need to bake cookies now,” or “We need to go shop.”
Sex Talk Resources for Parents
Having the sex talk with our kids is never easy. At least I haven’t met a parent yet who is eager to have this conversation. Nevertheless, in today’s world, it’s more important than ever. If we aren’t having the sex talk with our kids, someone—either peers, the internet, or someone else. The sex talk is one of those difficult but important conversations that can be stressful. Fortunately, our Ultimate Guide to Self-Care for Kids can make this easier.
Use this positive parenting guide to teach your kids simple fidgets to manage stress during the sex-talk. You’ll also find self-care for kids printable posters and a coloring sheet. Sometimes it’s easier to have simple self-care distractions readily available during these talks. Then, dive in. Have the sex talk with your kids and let us know how it goes. Good, bad, or ugly, we’d love to hear from you. However, we believe that if you follow Sue’s advice and share age-appropriate insights from your life, having the sex talk will ultimately be a beneficial experience for everyone.
Diving Deeper into The Sex Talk
I love Sue’s desire to equip parents to have the sex talk by sharing their age-appropriate stories. If you’d like to dive deeper, you may want to check out the all-access pass to our Thriving at Home Summit and check out Sue’s entire interview.
For more great insights from the Thriving at Home Summit, be sure to check out the following posts:
- Lead at Home: The five gears applied to families, relationships, and home
- The Sex Talk Made Easy – Or Easier: Positive Parenting Tips and Wisdom
- Building a Family Legacy that Lasts a Lifetime
Continuing the Conversation
Jenny and I would love to continue the conversation in the comments below!
- Have you already had the sex talk with your kids? If so, how did it go? (We’d love to know what worked and what didn’t).
- What thoughts or positive parenting strategies resonated with you the most?
- What sex talk wisdom would you add to this conversation?
Just add your thoughts in the comments and know that Jenny and I can’t wait to hear from you!