It's Time for the "Talk": How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

    It's Time for the "Talk": How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

    Discussions about sex can be embarrassing and uncomfortable even as adults. However, parents are among the best teachers to guide their children in learning about this part of life. Following this, how to talk to your kids about sex?

    How to talk to your kids about sex: When is the right time to talk?

    Calling out your teenage kids to discuss sex can start off awkwardly, and it may set unnecessary boundaries about what you can and cannot talk about. This may lead to misunderstandings on what to expect during “the talk” for both the child and the parent.

    The best approach on how to talk to your kids about sex is to do it as early as possible. Doing this not only normalizes the concept of sex which carried into their adult years, but also allow them to get the correct information.

    How to talk to your kids about sex? This includes knowing which topics are appropriate for their age and supplementing the knowledge that they have about sex.

    If you were not able to talk to your children about sex when they were kids, having a conversation with them about sex in their teens can still be done. It may be different from starting at a young age but what is important is that they are able to get the right information they need to be able to make good decisions about sex on their own.

    How to talk to your kids about sex?

    Talking about sex does not have to be confrontational wherein you call your kids with your spouse, and make it sound like they are being scolded. It can start at any moment and parents should be mindful of these opportunities to teach. Here are some of the tips on how to start a conversation with your kids about sex:

    Encourage your kids to start the conversation

    It does not have to always be about sex, but make them feel secure that it’s ok to talk to you about anything. Having open communication allows them to be able to share what they think and to ask more questions. Your presence is important so that they know that you are there to support them.

    Find the right opportunity to talk about it

    When there are topics on the news or certain songs related to sex, this can be a teachable moment where you can share insights on it without sounding like you are preaching. It also normalizes the idea of sex which can be seen and heard everywhere and that there is nothing to be ashamed of while talking about it.

    Turn it into a positive experience

    The typical “talk” that children receive may be more about the negative side of sex. This includes what should not be done, what is bad for you, and what negative outcome it can have. Discussing sex in a positive light makes it easier for kids to understand it and to teach them to decide for themselves. It would be better to give information on the consequences of sex than to prohibit them from doing things.

    It’s ok not to know everything

    There might be questions that you are unable to answer. However it’s ok not to know everything. You can let your child know about it and find the answers with them. This becomes an opportunity for you and your child to connect and show the human side of being parents.

    How to talk to your kids about sex: What to talk about?

    At different age ranges, there are different sex topics that are appropriate for children to talk about. Here’s a guide on what topics you can touch on when talking to your children.

    For young children up to 9 years old:

  • Use of correct names for body parts and their function
  • A simplified version of how babies are made
  • Difference between girls and boys’ anatomy
  • Asking for permission which can be used to discuss consent in the future
  • For early adolescence aged 10 to 14:

    • Different changes in the body during puberty
    • Sex, masturbation, and pregnancy
    • How the body functions during sex
    • Genders

    For late adolescence and children 15 years old and up:

    Key takeaway

    How to talk to your kids about sex can be an enjoyable experience for both parents and children. Conversations on sex can start at any age but it can be beneficial to start as soon as possible. Starting a casual discussion about it removes the anxieties and fears of parents and kids, and may lead to kids having a better understanding of sexuality.

    Learn more about Parenting here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Mary Rani Cadiz, MD

    Obstetrics and Gynecology

    Written by Elaine Felicitas · Updated Jun 23, 2022