For many parents it can often seem like a daunting task filled with awkward conversations and maybe a clumsy demonstration or two. Conversations about sexuality don’t have to be awkward at all! Engaging in healthy conversations about sexuality sets the stage for talking, without guilt or embarrassment, about body parts and their functions. Setting them up for success to feel positive about their own bodies and to make conscious, well informed decisions that protect their sexual health.
Here are five suggestions to help parents de-stress and raise kids to become sex positive adults:
1. Think about your early experiences with sexuality
Take some time to really dig deep into your memory banks as you attempt to remember how and when you first learned about sexuality. Reflect upon those early conversations about it. Were they positive, negative or did they fall into a gray area? Would you change anything about the ways in which you learned about sexuality?
It’s important to tap into these early experiences as they play an integral role into how you feel about sex and your own sexuality throughout your life. Your feelings and experiences may then be passed onto your children in a variety of manifestations whether they are presented as fears, insecurities, shame or positive views of sexuality.
The key here is to own your feelings by acknowledging and owning them whether they are good or bad. Knowing the â€śhowâ€ť and â€śwhyâ€ť behind your views of sexuality can then be used as invaluable tools when the time comes to take your own child on the journey towards understanding sexuality in all its forms.
2. Use the correct language for body parts
One of the most important things you can do for your children and their understanding of sexuality is to refer to body parts by anatomically correct names. Making an effort to do so from birth will serve as reinforcement for your child as it will be considered normal and they will follow your lead.
The use of the proper names of body parts fosters a positive body image and self-confidence.
3. Keep things casual
Feel free to forgo the urge to tackle one big discussion about sexuality at once. Instead, find ways to approach the subject during normal conversations and activities while avoiding scare tactics. Make it a point to keep things fun while you’re at it, too. It’s totally acceptable and encouraged to get a little silly with things if it helps.
Try to look for teachable moments when attempting to relay information in an inviting way. Doing so will teach your child that sexuality is a positive part of life all while providing them with age appropriate information. Finding opportunities to discuss sexuality with your child will be relatively easy. Do not shy away from using TV shows, music videos and overheard conversations when looking for an excellent starting point when you want the time to come to discuss sexuality.
Definitely encourage your child to come to you with any questions they may have and keep the conversations going.
4. Keep it age appropriate
A large part of sex positive parenting lies within your ability to discuss sexuality with your children from an age appropriate perspective. However, we must first jump the hurdle of the common misconception that â€śsex educationâ€ť should be relegated to the annals of reproduction, sexually transmitted infections and contraception. When we abandon and de-stigmatize the standard views of what sexual education â€śhasâ€ť to be, we then can openly communicate with children about sexuality in a more honest and informative manner.
Opening this dialogue encourages you to inform your child in an age appropriate manner about a wealth of topics that are crucial to developing a healthy sex positive attitude. The list of topics that are vital to furthering sexuality education includes: love, pleasure, empathy, consent, sexual assertiveness, diversity and preferences, self-image, gender stereotypes, respect for all, boundaries, healthy relationships, intimacy, safety and trust.
5. Lastly, remember it takes a village.
If you’re ever at a loss, talk to your friends, family members, family physician, teachers, community agencies, or your local clinical sexologist for support.
By: Kelly McDonnell-Arnold