Do you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed talking about sex? If you do, you’re not alone. Many people find the topic uncomfortable to talk about even when they aren’t trying to talk to their kids about it. But how you treat the subject of sex is teaching your kids how they should act about it too. It’s not just about what you say to them. How you say it sends a much stronger message to your kids then what you say.
If you are uptight, uncomfortable, or upset discussing sex then you are reinforcing the message that sex is a very taboo subject that should never be discussed. It makes the conversation even more uncomfortable. It also keeps your kids from asking questions and receiving vital information for their happiness and health. So how can we help our kids feel comfortable asking about sex? We start by making ourselves comfortable talking about it.
Why Is Talking About Sex Uncomfortable? And What Can You Do?
There are a lot of reasons why people get embarrassed talking about sex. For many people, it’s a matter of having never really been taught to talk about it. If sex was not an open conversation in your household growing up, there’s a good chance you have a hard time with it now. If you have never had the opportunity or developed a special interest in learning more you probably haven’t had the chance to grow and become more comfortable.
One of the first steps you need to take is to determine why talking about it makes you uncomfortable. Is there something in your history that makes it a challenging topic? Is it a lack of familiarity with the finer details of the subject? Do you speak openly about sex with your partner? Or past partners? What would make you feel comfortable talking about it?
For most people, getting more comfortable with the subject of sex is merely a matter of making it more of a commonplace conversation. The more we normalize talking about it for ourselves, the easier it becomes and the less anxiety we have about it. There are plenty of books and online resources out there to help you fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You just need to take some time to learn about the subject and practice talking about it with your partner or close friends. The more comfortable you can become, the easier it will be to create safe spaces for discussions about sex.
How to Create Safe Space for Your Children to Talk About Sex
Creating a safe space for your kids to talk about sex is an important step in helping them understand that part of life and make smart choices. Your kids are going to be able to pick up on whether or not your feeling comfortable. Depending on what developmental age they are at, they may not understand WHY you are uncomfortable though. Young children have not developed fully enough to understand the complex emotions you may be feeling. They may associate your unease to something they have done, themselves, or the subject of sex itself. This can create a negative association with their self-esteem or sex. When these associations form at a young age, they can impact us negatively for the rest of our lives.
If you have a hard time talking about sex, it’s OK to be open with your kids that this is a difficult subject for you. You don’t have to explain the full details of why to them but you need to let them know that your discomfort is not because of them or because sex is something to be feared. It may feel awkward at first but how your feelings and attitudes around sex are being modeled to your children. If you wish them to learn something different from how you approach the subject, you need to be open to letting them know that there are other ways to see it. We are all human and you do not lose parenting points for acknowledging that humanity to your children. The more you can diffuse the tension of the conversation, the more comfortable your kids will be with asking you questions and seeking you out for advice and guidance about dating, sex, and relationships.
Don’t Miss Out On a Vital Piece of Parenting
Most parents shy away from the sex and relationships conversation. The choice to distance yourself from those topics with your kids just means they are likely to seek out the information from someone or somewhere else. You are losing out on a crucial piece of their mental and emotional development that contributes to their ability to be happy and fulfilled in life. Parents should be an important guiding voice for their kids. Parents guide their kids to make better choices in all other aspects of life, why should they give up such an important piece?
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