“Mum, don’t say the S word!” What stops us talking to our kids about sex?

I’ll never forget the time one of my daughters asked me, “So Mum, if it takes a sperm from a man and an egg from a woman to make a baby, and they have to get together, how does it happen? (She was eight at the time and having a bath while I was on the toilet!)

To tell you the truth, I got the shock of my life! Even though I talk about sex all the time, I just did not expect it. Life’s questions often tend to be asked in surprising moments, don’t they? I immediately thought of telling her about storks… being found in a flower garden…ebay… Instead, I flushed (in more ways than one!) and went to another room and recounted it to my husband. He was shocked – not because she had asked, but because I had said nothing! “You are the sex educator!” he gasped.

So why do we find it hard to chat about sex? Here are a few reasons you might relate to…

Lack of information

“Kids can ask a lot of questions, and I might not have the answers or be able to explain it properly.”

Thinking it will destroy their innocence

 “If I talk to my child, I will encourage them to have sex at an early age.” 

It’s embarrassing/private/personal

“It was never talked about it in my family, so I’m not about to start.”

Thinking it’s too soon

“My children haven’t asked any questions, so they mustn’t be ready.”

Cultural or religious beliefs/opinions/values

“In my culture, it was very private and nobody talked about sex.”

It’s been discussed once so doesn’t need to be mentioned again

“Phew! We’ve had ‘the talk’. Glad that’s over!”

Too busy

“Life is so chaotic right now, we’ll talk about it later.”

Thinking it’s over their head

“They won’t understand what I’m talking about.”

Your own issues regarding sex

Negative experiences or even experiencing sexual abuse in the past might make the conversation difficult.

Fear of alienating your kids

“They will never look at me in the same way.”

Research indicates that children are less likely to have sex at an early age, and are more likely to use contraception when they eventually do have sex, if their parents have talked to them from an early age. Regardless of your past or present experiences or the way you feel about it….it is important that we talk early and often.