Dealing with the Parent-Child “Conversation” about Sex

Written by: Anel Martínez



Time to read 4 min

Do you ever question yourself when and how to have the famous “sex chat with your child”?  Educating about sexuality can be a delicate subject to face. This may be due mostly because you may only speak about sex with close friends or it's just not your favorite subject in a conversation. 

But, we are used to talking about other topics not related to sexuality. If you don’t like to talk about sexuality,  this topic may generate anxiety or rejection. But don’t worry, it’s completely normal to feel this way. You are not alone. We will guide you step by step. 

When should I have “the conversation”?

Surely you have asked yourself: what is the best age to have “the conversation”?, should I wait for them to ask me?, what are the things I can tell them? Among other questions. Let’s start by talking about sex education. You, as a parent or caregiver, play an important role. No,  you don’t have to wait for a specific age to have the chat.  In fact, sexuality and sex education start from the moment of conception. The best way to have the “talk” is by not avoiding the topic because it will only generate more curiosity. As we all know, curiosity killed the cat. So, if they don’t get an answer to their preoccupations or questions, they will clarify their doubts through the internet, social networks, or even in porn… And of course, all these sources are not contrasted and are full of myths and taboos.

How to deal with the first “conversation” about sex with your child?

The first thing to know is that you don’t have to be an expert to talk about sexuality. We all find it hard to talk about topics we have no knowledge about. But the good thing is that we live in digital times, where we can find all kinds of contrasted information and reliable sources that can help us manage this topic.

Fathern and son walking

How can I start the conversation?

Second, focus on values. The sooner you talk about: respect, love, self-esteem, self-care, and pleasure, the better. You know your kids, this means that you are the best person to talk about sexuality. Remind yourself that no one else knows your child better than you do. So, don’t be afraid to talk about sexuality openly. Beware, this doesn't mean you have to show explicit videos of people having sexual encounters, what we are trying to say is it that its always a good opportunity to talk about sexuality.

Some examples of how to start the “sex conversation” are when you are hearing a song on the radio and a certain verse has a positive or negative connotation about sex, you can take advantage and talk about it. You can even talk about the physical appearance of an artist and how it relates to self-esteem, self-love, and confidence.

Another good example is when you are watching a movie and a nude scene appears. Is an excellent time to explain what feelings arise when a naked body appears on the TV. If you decide to change the channel/scene/movie, tell them why you are changing it. Don’t leave anything to interpretation, kids are very imaginative. This imagination could make them jump into conclusions that are far from reality. You, as the legal guardian, should be their “to-go person” when they have any questions.

To make this conversation a profitable one, try to keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Build an environment of trust and, where your child feels safe. Be available for them, and answer any doubts or concerns. Make them feel comfortable and not judged. Their sexuality is their responsibility. Your role as a parent or caregiver is to offer information.
  2. Naturalness first and foremost: make sure you convey naturalness, sex is something spontaneous, and you don’t have to be embarrassed to talk about it. If you ever feel uncomfortable, let them know. You can tell them that no one has talked to you about sexuality and it’s something new for you.
  3. Focus on common issues, such as safe sex.  The main “role” of sexuality is pleasure. Don’t ever divert attention from this To. In order to have a pleasurable encounter, it is important to take into account the methods of protection against STIs or unwanted pregnancies.
  4. Sex is equivalent to respect: remind them that it is of utmost importance that he is comfortable with everything he does during a sexual encounter. He should feel respected and comfortable with the choices he makes. Likewise, he should make sure that his partner feels the same way.
  5. Try not to judge. Again,  judging or giving “criticism” is not helpful. If you do this, your kid won’t have a choice. He or she won’t like to tell you or ask you something due to the probability of being judged or repressed. Remember, not to project your experiences. Even if he or she makes decisions that you don’t agree with, let them know that you will be there through thick and thin.
  6. Don’t take things for granted: sexuality is very complex and the new generations experience sex differently. Ask open-ended questions so that you have the opportunity to talk openly about a topic. This will help you to give a better answer.
  7. If you don’t know something, it’s okay to provide, acknowledge it, and commit to providing them with the answer through reliable information.
Father and son playing

The gist of “the talk”

Sexuality is a topic related to myths and taboos, but you have the power to reverse this by expressing yourself openly with your children through active examples and promoting values.  Don’t feel disappointed if you don’t find the “perfect” answer. Remind yourself that you are not an expert on this subject. Just being there, through thick and thin, that will be enough.  

Trust your instincts. Seek information, educate yourself, listen to podcasts, or seek the nearest sex education center. Also, don’t hesitate to seek help from sexology professionals. The sexologist will be able to help you through this process and will be a great source of information.

Anel Martínez

Author: Anel Martínez  (Sexual Coach at MYHIXEL)

Sexologist specializing in sex therapy and sex education, mental health and human behavior.