A parent asked me yesterday if I could do some one-on-one sex education with her son.  I don’t have a class for his age group starting up soon, and she thinks he needs information and support sooner rather than later.  It sounds like he doesn’t disagree, but he’s worried it’s going to be awkward.

He’s right.

Talking about sex is awkward if you’re not use to it, which most young people aren’t.  Let’s be honest, most old people aren’t use to talking about sex either.

The problem is that we are so very use to seeing sexy pictures, seeing movies and television about sex, listening to music about sex, and basically having sexiness inculcate every single aspect our lives except the one where we actually talk about it and learn about it.

So it probably will be awkward for him.  He’ll need to get over the general societal expectation that you don’t talk openly and honestly about sex – and even more importantly that you don’t talk openly and honestly about sex with an adult.

I know young people who came into classes or consultations with me who were awkward in the extreme, but ended up loving that they can talk with me about sex and now that they know these kinds of conversations with adults are possible, they are working towards the same kind of openness with their parents.  These young people feel empowered and supported by an expanding group of adults and will know who to come to with questions and problems in their eventual romantic and sexual relationships.

I know that there are readers on this blog who dearly wish they had managed to have open conversations with adults about sex when they were young, and had adults who probably would have been happy to talk with them, but never got over the awkwardness.  They did not know who to go to when they were in romantic and sexual relationships with problems, some of them small and some of them substantial.

Living with, and getting over, the awkwardness is worth it.

About Karen Rayne

Dr. Karen Rayne has been supporting parents and families since 2007 when she received her PhD in Educational Psychology. A specialist in child wellbeing, Dr. Rayne has spent much of her career supporting parents, teachers, and other adults who care for children and teenagers.


  1. Heck, I like talking about sex with you now, and we’re the same age….You’re right, it’s worth getting over the awkwardness, and trying your best even when it’s hard, and not giving up.

  2. My daughter says “MO-OmmM!”, but I keep talking….

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