Sex Education: When and How to start it at homeNuturemite
The complete step to step guide for parents on how to provide sex education to their kids.
13-year-old Rahul asked his dad what sex was. His dad yelled at him and shut him up in response. The same Rahul, 5 years later, is at a brothel in search of sex submitting to peer pressure. 14-year-old Nisha asked her mother what a condom was. She was slapped hard in response. 3 years later, Alice is a pregnant adolescent and finally knows what a condom is. 13-year-old Ashraf saw a sanitary pad advertisement on TV and inquired his mom about it. His mother awkwardly told him that it’s a packet of biscuits and hurriedly changed the channel. Next day at school, he ridiculed a girl for staining her skirt due to periods.
Do not vaporize out of awkwardness when your child utters the “S” word because sex education might be awkward but no sex education is harmful. If you feel ashamed of doing it, you might as well approach the baby vendor “fairy” who dropped your kid from heaven. Now relax as you have nothing to worry about, we will break it down to you to how to go about sex educating your child.
Body Parts and boundaries
At this age, it’s not really sex education but teach them to differentiate between female and male genitalia. You can start this conversation while bathing them or while getting them dressed. Name the body parts to them (the penis and vulva). Communicate to them that it is okay to touch all parts of their body – let them grab their vulva or penis at bath time or during diaper changes.
Start talking about the functions of our body parts about how pee comes out through your penis/vulva, poo comes out through your bottom/anus. If they like being naked all the time, start introducing boundaries about nudity that there is a time and a place to be naked.
This is the age where you could gradually start teaching them about consent, boundaries and inappropriate touch.
- Teach them about seeking permission before coming close to someone or touching them.
- Educate them about the importance of the words “yes” and “no” as options. You can go about it by simply seeking permission before hugging them or kissing them and make them reply with a yes or a no.
- Explain to them that they have the right to deny coming close to someone. Tell them various helpful affirmative words about compliance like yes, okay, sure, fine, etc.
- Show them about situations where you need to seek consent i.e. while being asked for a hug, kiss or while being touched wrongly in private places. Teach them about safe words like “stop”. Once they said “stop” the activity (playfighting, tickling, horseplay) completely had to stop.
- Let them know that if they said “stop” and the other person didn’t respect this, they would have to keep that person away.
This would lead to early education regarding sexual assault, violence, and rape as well. At this age, you can also start using gender-neutral words as it’s the time to start the “sexuality” talk.
Sex education during 6-8 years
Pick up some unconventional stories where two kings fall in love with each other or two queens fall in love with each other. Tell them about stories where a girl with female body parts felt like a guy from inside and how she went on to transition into a guy.
Tell them about a distant aunt who did not want to get married and have kids. Normalize sexualities, sexual orientation and different relationships for them from the very beginning. Take it to step by step and tell them through stories. If they enquire more, tell them more.
This might be the time when kids start asking about where do babies come from which you could reply by saying a woman’s body. You could go on explaining to them about uterus if they enquire about the location. If they enquire further as to how the baby came there, you could tell them about sexual intercourse and fertilization.
Sex education during 9-11 years
A lot of you fear that it’s a sign that the kid has been exposed to sexual content or even assaulted, but it’s really important to remember that it’s a solacing, soothing, feel-good sensation. Self-exploration is a great thing. One is allowed to touch and explore his/her body. If they come up to enquire about it, tell them the same. Check on them occasionally.
Tell them how it’s a private thing which they should only indulge while on the bed or while bathing and not on sleepovers (they’ll shout back “I know dad!”). Also, it’s not necessary that they indulge in masturbation by the end of 8, some might do it later on or some might never do it (asexuality) but make sure that your tone is empathetic towards it and not shameful.
Around this age, they might have started watching porn too. You make sure they know it’s not real. They’re not watching real life they’re watching actors who are performing for a director in order to present a make-believe creation to an audience.
The idea that you have to impart is that what porn depicts is not the reality of sex. You could casually pick up a conversation and it wouldn’t be awkward because you must be dome with basic sex education by then.
Sex Education during Adolescence
Safe sex and sexism
Once they reach adolescence, have a chat with them regarding safe sex, STIs and prevention, peer pressure to have sex, birth control and date rape. Talk to them about condoms about how latex and polyurethane condoms prevent transmission. Talk to them about sexism prevailing in our society. Educate them about offensive and objectifying language.
Raising kids is no cakewalk as we all know but if we are doing it, let’s do it the best way possible. Make it interactive as bringing up a child is a two-way road. Don’t shy away when it comes to taboo topics. Practice it with other parents, form a community and ask for opinions if it helps. Let’s bring up a generation of sex-positive kids who can, later on, go on to boast about their cool parents. Cheers!