Parents – let’s talk about SEX!
During this lockdown period, you are being forced to spend loads of time with your kids. So, this is the perfect opportunity for you to start destroying the awkwardness around the topic of sex in your household.
I’m challenging you to break the barrier of communication when it comes to sex. Parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, elder siblings, cousins – this is my plea, my call to action to you all. Encourage healthy, open and honest conversations about sex, sexuality, relationships, consent and more. Make it fun and engaging – talk about sex like you talk about any other topic.
Don’t shy away or be scared to encourage these conversations. Respect your child’s choices, their questions, curiosity and individuality. Because, if you don’t have these healthy, open conversations, especially at a time where kids are spending endless hours online, they will find porn, and that is where they will get their information from. As Jameela Jamil said, “Learning sex from porn is like learning to drive from watching the fast and the furious.”
If this happens, it’s real bad news because Porn actually distorts the reality of life in the bedroom. It gives a false representation of mutual respect between intimate partners and lures them into a world of deceit despair and violence.
I strongly believe that there is no minimum age to start talking to kids about sex. I have spent a lot of time researching this and I have formulated a plan on how you can get the conversation started in your home. I have divided them up into four different age categories. Find your child’s age and let’s start the conversation! Link in bio!
Ages: 0 – 5
If you have kids that are between the ages of 0 and 5, there are two key areas which you can start talking about. The first is defying gender stereotypes. Allow your kids to explore the things that they enjoy. Just because you have a son, doesn’t mean he cannot enjoy ballet or playing with dolls. And just because you have a girl, doesn’t mean she can’t play sports or like the colour blue. Every child is unique, and every child is extraordinary so embrace their individuality with open arms. And continue to scrap the traditional gender stereotypes forever. Gender isn’t binary.
The second thing you can do, is talk to them about boundaries. It is fundamental to teach kids around this age to understand their body is their own and that they have say over their bodies. This will keep them safe and whilst you can skip over the explicit details ensure they know that others should never ask to try and touch them in inappropriate ways. But also teach them to ask permission before they touch other people’s bodies. This can be referred to as giving kids an intuitive understanding of consent. Lessons around touch-based games like tickling, and asserting your own boundaries, such as telling a child when it is and isn’t okay to climb onto your lap, all help to create an open conversation, even if it is with a 3-year-old about consent and safety.
Ages: 6 – 8
Next you have the 6 – 8-year-old age group. I feel that every few years, children are being allowed online at younger and younger ages. I have mixed feelings about this. But ultimately, with everything being digitalised, I think it is a great way for kids to engage with the wider world. However, this prime age filled with curiosity and peer pressure is when kids may stumble upon adult content whether that be through advertisements which pop up or pornography. You can skip over the exact details of what pornography actually is and start having conversations with your children about internet safety and how some sites are for adults only. This sort of thing is hard to control, especially due to the inquisitive nature of kids at this age so having parent controls on your devices can really help!
But keep reinforcing the points about how gender isn’t binary, keep defying gender stereotypes and teaching kids about how their bodies are their own and no one should be touching them.
Ages: 9 – 12
Now we enter deeper waters. The age group of 9 to 12 is crucial because this age group is going through puberty soon and it is also vital in ensuring a smooth, safe transition into teenage life.
Start having conversations about sexism, respecting the opposite sex and treating all equally and fairly regardless of their gender. You should definitely, by 11 have had conversations about sexuality, sexual choices and the act of sex itself.
It is also a good idea to have regular conversations about internet safety and how sharing, distributing and storing nude photos of themselves or others is illegal. Also teach them about how they should be comfortable with their bodies. At this age, they will start to have more freedom online, maybe have social media and will start to undergo bodily changes (puberty). Teach them to be confident with their bodies and to also uplift others. Ensure they understand that bullying, writing mean comments and shaming others on social media about their bodies and sexuality is wrong.
Social media, especially in the midst of this global pandemic, where kids are spending a lot of time on social media and on online forums, is dangerous. Traffickers are exploiting children online at alarming rates currently, for sex, grooming them to believe that they are having actual relationships with people. PARENTS, YOU NEED TO HELP KEEP YOUR KIDS SAFE!
We know for a fact that there are thousands of people out in the world who are taking advantage of kids online at this time, regardless of their age, location, gender and looks. Sit down with your kids and go through the following:
Red flags of a pimp on social media are:
• Easily jealous
• Vague about their job
• Promises are “too good to be true”
• Always knows ways to make a lot of money
• Flashes money
• Encourages sexual photos
• Encourages dancing for money
• Encourages meeting or sending photos for money
• Projects financial responsibility
• Demanding about sex
Pimps can pose on social media but can also be posing as a professional, boyfriend or friend.
What to do if you see these red flags?
1. Tell an adult – tell your parent(s), teacher or school counsellor immediately.
2. Call your national human trafficking or domestic abuse helpline:
UK National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
UK National Modern Slavery Helpline: 08000 121 700
US National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 800-799-7233
US National Human Trafficking Helpline: 888-3737-888
3. If it is urgent call the police.
If you have managed to uphold these open, honest, respectful and healthy conversations about sex with your kids, then it is going to give them confidence and comfort to come to you as parents and talk to you about sex. Being able to talk to your parents about sex in your teenage years, which is crucial, is beyond helpful. Having the support, the respect and honesty between parent and child is the most valuable aspect of teenage life.
But my first tip is to avoid lectures and make conversations about sex brief, engaging and fun even. It is really important to talk to your children at this time about contraception and its importance – especially when it comes to talking about consent.
Consent is VITAL! It is a two-way street. Flirting or clothing is not consent. No means no, regardless! Ultimately, you want to empower them about making the right, safe and respectful decisions.
At this time, especially with boys, you want to try to get them to use gender inclusive language and to teach them to stop objectifying women. This can all be done through teaching them the reality of the porn industry.
Pornography, even major sites such as Pornhub are exploiting underage children and giving children a false reality of life in the bedroom. Parents – you have to make it clear to your kids, especially at an age where they feel the need to pleasure themselves, that porn is a lie.
Teach them that sex is something to enjoy. That respect and consent in the bedroom is something that should be held in the utmost regard. Sex is something that someone should feel pressured into doing. Wait till you are ready to have sex, whether that be at the age of 19, 20, 30, after marriage or never!
Ensure that your kids know about STDs and how despite the importance of acting responsibly, STD is not a bad term and that they shouldn’t be afraid to talk about it. Likewise, teach them to never condemn those who may have tested positive for one. We need to encourage kids to get tested, not shame those who may have one.
I hope that this guide or series of tips will help you start conversations around sex in your household. Your kids are never too young to start their journey about learning about respect, consent, sexuality and more. These healthy, open, honest and engaging conversations you have with your kids about sex will pave the way for them to grow up to be decent, righteous and moral human beings.