I often hear people ask the question, to their friends or on parenting forums, “How do I talk to my child about sex?”
This question has always confused me because talking to my children is something that has come rather naturally to me. There are parts of parenting that I struggle with, no doubt. For instance, remembering to wash their bed sheets and avoiding power struggles over meals. But for some odd reason, the topics of conversation which my peers often avoid with their own children are topics I do not feel quite so squeamish about.
For that reason, I’ve started transcribing some of these conversations to share with you, my readers.
Please keep in mind that this isn’t everything, this is simply a snapshot. Talking to our children about sex is not something we can undertake once and be done with, but rather it is an on-going conversation throughout their childhood. Starting with toddlers who are just learning their own anatomy and gradually increasing information as it is age appropriate for the child. Just a few minutes of honest conversation a few times a week is all it takes to raise well-informed and unashamed children.
The following is a conversation that occurred between myself and my son (age 5 at the time) when I was sitting in the bathroom with his little sister (age 2 at the time) while she took a bath.
LittleMan *comes in 15 minutes after bath, still naked and grasping his penis in his hand*
Me: Hey, why aren’t you wearing your PJs?
LittleMan *still fidgeting with his penis in his hand* well….
Me: I’m going to stop you right there. Its ok to touch your penis in the privacy of your own room, but you may not do so while talking to me. Most people do touch themselves, its ok to do that, but its a special, private sort of thing. We don’t play with our penises in front of other people, especially not our mom and sister.
LittleMan *big sigh, hand still on penis*
Me: You can either go to your room to finish touching your penis before talking to me, or take your hand off it and tell me what you want to say now. Either way is ok.
LittleMan: *removes hand from penis and walks out of room*
— several minutes later —
LittleMan *still naked, holding underwear in his hands, sits down on the floor and starts to put undies on* I was trying to tell you, my penis is itchy!
Me: Ok, well, you could have told me that without scratching it in front of me. Thank you for putting undies on. Do you think its dry skin? I could give you some lotion to put on. If not then we can call the doctor in the morning.
SunnyGirl: *stands up in bathtub* I’M NAKED!!!!
Me: *uncontrollable laughter*
My internal monologue: I give up! I’ve got me beat! We’re moving to a nudist colony!
(Side note: We figured out the next day that the itchy penis was caused by crystals. These crystals are formed from little droplets of urine that are left in the tip of the penis when a male is finished urinating. We taught LittleMan to shake his penis to get those last little droplets out, and now there is no more itchy penis problems. It is a relatively common problem which is very easy to fix.)
You might also be interested in How to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse.by