How to Talk to Your Child About Sex and Virginity
One of the first questions I ask once people learn that I’m a Certified Sex Coach is how did their parents gave them “The Talk”.
Why? Because nine times out of ten, it’s explained with an eye-roll and face palm.
Everyone seems to feel like their parents did a pretty crappy job of educating them on what is one of life’s most important topics.
Usually, I hear, “My mom tossed a book at me and told me not to get pregnant” or “My parents assumed I learned about in school and only once *very awkwardly* asked if I had any questions. I had already been having sex with my boyfriend for a year so I said no.”
Most women are only taught proper names for body parts in school and have a hard time saying the word vulva, instead preferring to call the entirety of female genitalia “the vagina”, or worse, “down there”. Many men have a hard time verbalizing any word for female genitals when it isn't sexualized.
**NOTE: your vagina is inside of you. By referring to all of genitalia by the only part that matters to reproduction, you are doing a HUGE disservice to the part that serves you and only you: your clitoris. It only has one job, to make you feel good. Don’t abolish it.**
“But, Amanda, why does any of this matter and what does that have to do with me teaching my kids??”
You’re right, I got off on a tangent...but did I really? In order to empower your children with knowledge about sex and their bodies, YOU NEED TO EMPOWER YOUR CHILDREN WITH KNOWLEDGE ABOUT SEX AND THEIR BODIES!!
Why are you hiding information about sex from them? Do you think if you keep sex a secret, they won’t find out about it?
What will happen if you aren’t the first person who explains to your kids what sex is, and what it means, and what it should imply?
Where WILL your children learn about sex, if not from you?
Who will teach them and, even scarier, what will they learn?
Five Tips for Tips for Talking to Your Kids About Sex and Virginity
First, Withholding the Simplest of Information, like the Proper Names of Their Body Parts, Creates an Atmosphere of Mystery.
Think of all the slang for breasts...go ahead. Now think about all the slang for hands. Pretty amazing. One is sexualized, one isn’t.
Children don’t know what parts are sexualized. We pass down all the taboos! However, we also have the power to enlighten.
Use your words properly. Learn proper anatomical terms and use them...the earlier the better! No mystery means less rebellious curiosity.
Second, Define for Yourself What Virginity Means.
Now ask yourself if that definition is inclusive enough for you. Many people define sex as Intercourse or penis in vagina[PIV] penetration as “sex". Therefore,virginity is “lost” once a penis has penetrated a vagina…
That negates entire populations of people who have VERY active sex lives but never experience PIV penetration.
Does oral sex negate virginity? What about anal? If penetration occurs manually or with something other than a penis, is your child still a virgin?
It’s not fun to think about sex in this context, so if you’d rather think about your own experiences, you can, but understand that your child WILL have sex eventually and your intentions here are to create and uphold a strong and open line of communication with your child.
Now that you’ve thoroughly defined exactly what virginity means...
Third, Re-evaluate Why “virginity” Is so Important and Valued.
If you have children of one gender, imagine what your feelings would be regarding rules for a child of a different gender.
Are your rules different for different genders? Be honest.
Why is it okay for boys to “sow their wild oats” but girls are slut shamed for enjoying the pleasures of sex?
It’s your responsibility to choose how you respond here, but if we want to end rape culture, we need to take a hard look at why virginity is regarded as more sacred to one gender over another.
Fourth! We’re Almost There. You’re Using the Right Words, You’ve Defined Virginity to Yourself and You Established How You Feel about It.
Now consider the age of your child. If they are toddlers or young children, they have no idea what sex is but might start asking where babies come from.
They are not asking about the ins and outs of orgasms and positions.
Keep your conversations age appropriate and open by asking what THEY think the answer is and framing the real answer along a parallel.
Finally, If Your Child Isn’t Young and You Haven’t Had “the Talk” yet, It’s Time.
You can start a conversation during a car ride or while you are both engaged in an activity together. It helps to make the convo seem less formal if you aren't forced to face each other.
Use a current or pop culture event or music video/performer as an easy segue to ask what “their friends” think about sex. Or you can put them on the spot and ask what they think about the impact of the performer/video on their generation’s view on sex.
You can also use *your* friends as a topic of conversation by saying they are going through something with their children and you feel the need to start the conversation.
Keep calm and keep it open by staying curious and non judgmental.
Parenting is hard, but you got this! The whole point in these conversations is that the more you have them, the easier they are...FOR EVERYONE!
I hope these five tips to help you discuss sex and virginity with your kids help.
By the way, if you’d like more help and guidance in this matter, I invite you to schedule a coaching call with me! It's FREE and will only take about 20 minutes.