Talking about sex or porn for the first time can feel uncomfortable, and most parents feel embarrassed and a bit overwhelmed regarding where to start. And, as a recent article on Today.com points out, Internet pornography means we need to have the birds and bees conversation earlier than ever. The article describes how one dad sat down and explained the basics to his son, and when he asked his son if he had any questions, his son asked him why men wore masks when they had sex. You see, many of our kids are finding their answers about sex online, and what they are finding online is a far cry from the beautiful, full-bodied sexual experience God created them to have within the context of marriage.
In today’s sex-saturated, porn-filled culture, the talk can’t be a one time event, and it’s critically important to get ahead of the issue. Fortunately, the most difficult part about talking to your daughter or son about sex is just getting started. You may want to think through some possible questions your child may have and talk through them with your spouse to make sure you are on the same page before talking with your child. It’s generally best, when possible, if the same-sex parent leads or has the initial discussion with your son or daughter. With daughters, moms will tend to do most of the heavy lifting, and with sons, dads should take the lead. Remember, however, that as a husband and wife, you are on the same team and need to be united in your commitment to reinforcing your guidance and values about sex to your child. Follow-up should be handled by both parents, and, at times, you may want the opposite-sex parent to lead a discussion; for instance, if you have a daughter, it might be a good idea for the dad to have a discussion with her before she starts dating. Don’t worry about knowing all the answers to your child’s questions; it’s more important to set a good tone with regard to the way you respond to your child than to have all of the “right” answers. Helping your child to understand that no subject–even sex and pornography–is taboo in your home will help keep the conversation going. Remember to watch for teachable moments, to ask questions, and to avoid shaming or embarrassing your child.
As a parent, don’t you want your children to come to you on matters as important as sex? If you start early and speak in an age-appropriate, clear and direct way, your kids will also learn early that talking about sex with their parents is not taboo. Our kids want and need adult guidance in this area, but often times, we are the ones that make them feel ashamed about talking to us and having questions rather than helping them to feel empowered. This is one of the reasons we’ve put together “The Talk” guide, which I hope you will check out today, to help you get started. Talking about sex at an early age will not encourage your kids towards early sexual activity, rather it will help establish at an early age that you can be a trusted source for guidance, boundary-setting and personal value as it relates to sex.