Sex Education For Teenagers and Kids ≠ Sex
Sex Education For Teenagers and Kids ? Sex
My daughter turned eight last September and she’s still a sweet, adventurous sprite of a girl. My son turned five in December and is still a darling, inquisitive little guy. My kids are still learning about the world and themselves, and this learning has long included sex education. When they were just five- and two-years-old, they learned how babies are made.
My kids both know my daughter has a vulva and vagina and they’ve always used the proper terms. They know my son has a penis and scrotum, and that they grew in my womb and exited through my vagina. When they ask questions, we give answers. Simple.
We don’t pretty it up for the kids, but we don’t go into graphic details, either. We believe in age-appropriate education in all subjects, sex included. Since birth we’ve been perfectly frank with our kids about our bodies. To them, genitals are no more awkward to discuss than their noses.
Sure, it can be slightly embarrassing to hear my little kid blurt out, “Mommy! My vagina is TINGLY!” or, “Mommy! My penis is bigger!” at the grocery store. (To which I respond, “We don’t talk about our genitals in public!”, and blush wildly.) Yes, it would be cute if we could call their genitals sweet little nicknames like “flower” and “dingle dongle”, wouldn’t it? But here’s the thing:
Educating our kids about sexuality starts early. Everyone is so upset with the new Ontario sex ed curriculum, because sexuality makes them uncomfortable. But that’s not how kids see it. Kids will be learning age-appropriate information that will provide building blocks for their sexual education as they grow.
I’m not really sure I ever heard my parents use the proper terms for body parts. I didn’t even realise women don’t urinate from the vaginal opening till I was in at least grade six and I got my period – which I had NO education regarding (imagine my horror?). That was no way to be introduced to my own body. No wonder it was traumatic.
I want my children to learn information about their bodies at home, not misinformation in the playground. Though as adults we sometimes squirm at the idea of our kids being “sexual”, the reality is that sex education for teenagers and sex education for kids doesn’t equal sexual intercourse. My kids need to know they can ask me or tell me about anything. They need to know the correct names and functions of their genitals the same way they need to learn about the respiratory or nervous systems. They need to know that genitals are private, and that it’s ok for them to touch them (in private, dear child, please). A vagina isn’t a bum-bum, folks. It just isn’t. Ignoring this stuff doesn’t make it go away.
You may not like the idea that your “innocent” seven-year-old is learning about sperm and menstruation, but these topics are only uncomfortable if you make them so. Giving kids confidence in their bodies and feelings early will help their transition to adolescence during those crazy hormonal times that are (oh my) right around the corner.
Sex education isn’t about teaching kids how to have sex, it’s educating them on the processes, names and functions so they’re able to identify their feelings (emotional and physical) properly.
In our house, we started our kids’ sexual education right from birth, and even if that makes you squeamish, I’m not apologizing. I can’t guarantee that my kids will always want to discuss this stuff with us, and I can’t predict what their choices regarding sexual behaviour will be. All we can do is give them an education, impress upon them what our morals are, and hope they make educated decisions when their times come.
Want to know how I knew I was done having kids?
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