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Talking to Your Child about Sex

In our world today, we are surrounded by information about our bodies, sex and sexuality. This can come from friends, movies, advertisements, magazines and society. It is totally natural for kids to be curious and have questions about sex, relationships, and deciding whether or not to have sex. 
 
Many kids and teens feel more comfortable getting information and advice about sex, sexuality and relationships from their friends. Peers are far more likely to offer your child inaccurate information about sex which can have serious consequences.
 
Some parents worry that bringing up the topic of sex or sexuality with their child will encourage sexual behaviours or spark new curiosities. But the reality is that kids are receiving messaging and information about relationships, body image and sex from tv, movies, magazines and peers anyway.
 
When it comes to talk about sex it is important that your child or teen is getting the correct information. You are a great resource for your child. You are able to help them find the right person, like a health care professional or public health nurse, if you don't have the answers to their questions.
 
Starting the conversation
The thought of starting a conversation with your child about sex might feel awkward. Here are a few ways you could try to initiate the conversation or ways that you can make yourself an 'askable' resource:
  • "You will probably be starting to talk about sex at school this year. Do you have any questions for me before then?" Or "During sexual health at school there might be some questions you have that they don't answer or you don't want to ask in from of your classmates. You can always come and ask me."
  • Purchase or borrow books, pamphlets or magazines about sexual health for your child. Go over them together or let your child know that they can come to you with any questions.
  • Ask your child "what did you think?" if you see or hear about a topic related to sex in a tv show, movie or in the media.
  • Acknowledge any discomfort you have about the topic since this will help to model the reality that sometimes we have to have 'difficult' conversations with people we care about, especially about sex.
For more information, check out 'Talking to your kids about sex' on the Middlesex London Health Unit website.