At what age should we start to talk to our kids about sex?

Whoever talks to you about a subject for the first time is who you view as the expert. So when it comes to sex, whoever talks to your kids first about it is who they will see as the expert, even if it’s a movie or a kid on the playground. A lot of times in our culture we wait and end up being the second or third message they hear. If you weren’t the first voice to talk to your kids, don’t worry, it’s okay.It’s still important that you talk to them and make yourself available to them as a safe place to ask questions and talk about anything they’ve seen or heard, and what they’re curious about.

A study done by Simon Lajeunesse found that most boys first start to seek out pornography around the age of 10  because that is the point they are most sexually curious¹. That being said, it’s a good idea to be talking to them by then. We actually recommend that you start to introduce the subject much earlier than that. It also helps to make it an ongoing subject of conversation, not just something you have a big talk about one time.

What’s the best way to start a conversation with my parents about sex?

Starting a conversation can be the hardest part. Promise, it gets easier and easier over time. Here are some tips to help you out:

  • Try using a magazine article or TV show to start talking about sex more generally. Then you can work your way up to the stuff that’s more personal to you.
  • If you feel more comfortable communicating through email, text, or IM, go for it. It doesn’t matter how you talk — just talk.
  • Give your parents a heads-up that you want to talk. Say something like, “Can we have a private talk tonight?” That way you can be sure to have their full attention, and they know to take it seriously.
  • Break the ice with something like, “This feels weird for me to talk about, and it may be for you, too, but I want to ask about …” Acknowledging the awkwardness can actually help make it go away.
  • Think of questions you want to ask, and maybe even write them down first. You could ask them about what their parents taught them about sex, how to know when you’re in love, how to know when to have sex, and how to protect yourself from pregnancy and STDs.

Should I talk to my friends about my sex life?

Sex is an intimate act that involves two partners. Yet widening the circle of people who know the details of your sexual experiences to include your closest friends can actually be beneficial.

Not only can debriefing your friend group on your sex life bring serious laughs, it can open the door to emotional support if things in the bedroom get confusing, as well as guidance on how you should proceed so you get the satisfaction you deserve.

What could be the dangers behind not talking about sex?

A recent survey conducted by LifeStyles found that 63 percent of people still don’t believe it’s acceptable for women to be as sexually active as men, which is ridiculous, sexist, and problematic. But it’s also an example of why avoiding conversations about sex is such a problem. There’s still that unfortunate stigma that says “good girls don’t talk about sex,” McDaniel says.

“This is a dangerous idea that breeds misinformation and effectively shuts down a critical piece of the conversation about healthy sexuality,” she says. Because when women start talking more openly about sex, important discussions related to consent, pleasure, and equality come along with it. “This is powerful and subversive to the dominant narrative about sex that centers around men and is a large reason that I believe women’s voices in the conversation about sex and sexuality have been shut down for so long.”