Why we don’t talk about it

The thing about sex is that it can be powerful, overwhelming, and leave us at our most fragile and vulnerable.  This inevitably carries over to our conversations about it.  We’re able to joke about sex, because that does not reveal how truly defenseless we can be in our sexuality.  But to talk honestly about sex, this requires some acknowledgment of what a powerful force it is in our lives, and so forces us to face our exposure.

To hold a conversation about sex with our children, who we are supposed to protect and teach and support and point the way forward to, where we accept our vulnerability, is a justifiably daunting task.

Add to this our parental anxieties about what could go wrong (STIs, babies, heartbreak, etc.), and we can get into a parental spin cycle that we can’t get out of – or we can just shut down and ignore it.

But neither of these are good places for us to go!  And we don’t have to.  By starting conversations with your children when they are still young, you can build up a relationship with them that will allow you to continue these conversations without as much pain or strife.  You’ll get practice having the conversations when the stakes are much lower, and they’ll learn that it’s okay to come and talk with you so they’ll be more likely to do it when their problems are still smaller rather than waiting for a crisis.  It’s a win-win situation!

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.