Have you ever wondered if you should be a sex-positive parent? Do you have a plan on how you are going to talk to your kids about sex and intimacy? Sex-positive parenting is becoming a more popular approach to the Birds and the Bees Talk. It’s an approach that has demonstrated more success in helping teens and young adults navigate entering the dating world. We know it’s important that kids learn about sex and intimacy. The knowledge they have, or don’t have, can end up having life-altering impacts.
What is Sex-Positive Parenting?
Sex-positive parenting is an approach that incorporates the ideas of sex-positivity. When we are sex-positive, we acknowledge that sex can be about more than just reproduction. It can also be about pleasure, intimacy, and connection. Sex-positive parenting is open to addressing these topics as well as things that are traditionally taught in sex ed. Many people tend to shy away from discussing all the aspects of sex with their kids but this approach acknowledges that someday our kids will grow into adults that will need this knowledge.
We all want our children to grow into healthy, well-adjusted and happy adults. Many parents dream of their children meeting that special someone and getting married, maybe even having children of their own. These hopes we have for their future can easily be sabotaged by secrecy and shame about sex. If we end up teaching our kids to be embarrassed or ashamed about sex, they will have a significantly harder time making those happy connections as an adult.
Sex-positive parenting is NOT about giving or involving children in pornography. It is about being a lifelong support and trusted source of information that your child can rely on. That trust has to be established when kids are young. If they perceive that we are acting weird about sex or they think we find nudity or bodies shameful, those impressions will stay with them. When they hit the age where they really need the information, when you wish they would just open up and tell you what’s going on, those early impressions are likely to shut down any conversation before it even begins. However, if you take a practical approach and give age-appropriate answers and direction on the subject as things come up, you’re child will know they can trust you. They will come to you when they need answers about a subject that is still taboo for so many.
The Hidden Benefits of Being Sex-Positive
A lot of people fear that teaching kids about sex and sexual pleasure will lead to kids being sexually active younger. There is no scientific or factual basis to this at all. Research studies have actually proven the exact opposite. Kids who are educated about sex grow into teens that are more likely to delay their first sexual experience. Why? Because they have an understanding of what’s happening with their body. They were taught how hormones affect people. When they know these things, there is less need to explore on their own to figure it out. Teens who are educated about the good parts of sex are also more likely to be more open to being educated about any risks of sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies.
Another added benefit that is often less talked about is that sex-positive parents, on average, enjoy a closer connection to their kids as they move into the teen years. Although 90% of parents report being open and approachable for their teens to talk about sex, only about 74% of teens would agree. Teens that don’t feel they can approach the adults and caregivers in their lives feel more isolated. Often they have questions about what’s happening to them but they don’t feel comfortable asking. Once the hormonal changes of puberty set in, it can drive those feelings of isolation to dangerously high proportions. Teenagers have the highest risk of suicide than any other demographic and those feelings of isolation play a large role in it.
Sex-positive parenting helps create that environment and feelings of safety for a teen to open up and ask about anything. They are far more likely to be open with their parent or caregiver as well as ask for guidance and support.
Supporting Your Child to Succeed
How you choose to teach your children about love and sex can have a huge impact on the rest of their adult lives. If you dream of that wedding and grandkids, teach your kid the tools they will need to find fulfilling and happy relationships. It’s not a guarantee but it’s a big step towards setting the foundation that they can build on as an adult.
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