Do you want to raise healthy, sex-positive kids? Here’s everything you need to know about Sex-Positive Parenting, and how to avoid awkwardness.
Parenting in a sex-positive manner means having honest, healthy conversations about sex and sexuality with children. The idea is to normalize conversations about sex and sexual body parts. This allows parents to make sure their kids are properly informed about sex, consent, and all the various aspects of sex and sexuality.
How can I make my home sex-positive without making it awkward?
Our cultural norms have made sex a taboo subject. And a lot of parents worry about making things awkward with their children by bringing up the topic of sex. But if we use the right strategies, we can normalize conversations about sex and sexuality in your home.
Here’s how you can be sex-positive without being weird:
Use the right words for body parts.
It might seem cute to make up fun names for body parts, but when we do that, we’re making the actual words taboo. You’re telling your kids that the actual body parts are something to be ashamed of.
Teach consent from day 1.
Make sure your kids know that their bodies are their own. They alone control what happens to their bodies. They never have to hug or kiss anyone they do not want to. Teach them to ask first before touching others. This powerful lesson on consent will serve them well into adulthood.
Have regular conversations about sex.
End the idea of having “the talk”. Instead, make sex a regular topic of conversation when opportunities arise.
Treat your own body with love and respect.
Your kids are paying attention. Don’t talk badly about your own body. If you do, they will internalize and may develop body image issues.
Don’t judge, overreact, or pry.
We don’t want sex to be taboo, but we also want kids to understand that it is a private matter. They don’t owe anyone any answers about their sexuality. Try your best to be totally neutral during your conversations with kids.
Kiss your partner in front of your kids.
You should also hold hands, cuddle, and flirt in front of your kids. Showing affection in front of your kids normalizes this behavior.
Correlate sex and love during conversations.
It’s true that this is not always the case, but in most ideal cases, sex is a part of expressing love for your partner. When your kids are old enough to have these conversations, correlate sex, physical affection, and love.
Have honest conversations about sexual imagery.
Your kids may see sexual imagery on TV, in ads, and even in porn. Too many kids learn about sex through these unrealistic images. Your kids will be much better off if they know what’s real and what’s fake.
Let your kids know it’s ok to be sexual.
Don’t let your kids learn about sex and sexuality from their friends or from the internet. Give your kids permission to be open with their questions and their concerns. Make sure kids are fully informed about boundaries, consent, protection, and hygiene.
Limit the conversations about the dangers of sex.
While you definitely need to have conversations about sexual dangers, like STDs, sexual assault, and the risk of pregnancy, don’t beat a dead horse. Your kids are listening, and you don’t want them to be afraid of being sexual beings.
Never avoid the topic of sex.
If your kids have questions, have the conversation. If it truly isn’t a good time to have the conversation, then set a specific time to pick up the conversation. You want to foster an open, communicative environment so your kids will continue to confide in you.
Give them resources.
Sometimes your kids are not going to want to talk to you about sex. Give them resources to refer to when they have questions so they aren’t searching for their own answers (and possibly finding inaccurate information). You might send them online resources, purchase books for them, or give them the contact information for a doctor or professional they can speak with.
Share your own experiences.
Of course, you probably don’t want to share intimate details with your kids, but share some of your experiences with them. It will help you connect. And it’s possible your kids might be able to learn from your mistakes.
Benefits of Sex-Positive Families
Your entire family will benefit from a Sex-Positive Parenting approach. Here are some of the most valuable benefits.
Teens from sex postive families…
- become sexually active later
- have fewer sexual partners than other teens
- have a more positive body image
- are better informed about sex and sexuality
- are more likely to find fulfilling relationships
- experience a healthy gender identity
- communicate more openly with parents
- are more likely to assert boundaries and consent
- practice safer sex
- are safer from sexual abuse
- are more likely to disclose sexual abuse
Sex-Positive Parenting Resources
What You Should Do Next…
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