Why do kids need to learn about sex? It’s a really common thought to shield children from sexual content. In many places, there are adult content warnings on shows, movies, books, and other forms of entertainment and education. Many people bend the truth about facts of life that are related to sex, such as pregnancy and childbirth. The idea of even mentioning the idea of sex for pleasure around children is still highly taboo in many circles. Society overall seems less concerned with children witnessing violence than sexuality. How did it come to be this way? Why do we have such a strange relationship with something so natural?
Why Do We Shy From Teaching Kids About Sex?
There are a lot of valid reasons why people get sensitive about kids and sexuality. Depending on how we were raised, religious beliefs may play a role. Many religions are specific in their views of sexuality. It can be viewed as a sacred bond that should only be shared in marriage or it can be seen as an act of sin that should be avoided unless attempting to have a child. Both of these views can lead people to be secretive and tight-lipped when it comes to talking about sex. They can feed into the cultural influences that make people embarrassed to talk about it.
Society also tends to promote the idea that teaching kids about sex takes away from their childhood. That it can be providing too much information too quickly and make kids mature too fast. The reality is that this isn’t true. Kids at different ages will be interested in different levels of information. Once the information exceeds their level of interest or understanding, they will become bored and seek to exit the situation. It’s important that children are taught about intimacy in a way that is consistent with their level of development but it’s not going to make them mature too fast. It might make them bored.
Sex Ed Helps Teens that Make Smart Decisions
One of the major objections to teaching kids about intimacy is the fear that this will lead them to become sexually active earlier in their lives. Research into this has actually proven the opposite. Studies show that kids who are taught about sex, sexual health, dating, and relationships are actually significantly more likely to delay their first sexual experience until they are older. They make smarter choices. They are also more likely to connect with the adults in their life for guidance and support in their dating lives.
In contrast, teens who are given little to no information about sex are more likely to experiment on their own. They have their first sexual experience at younger ages and more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors. Uneducated teens have higher rates of unwanted teen pregnancies as well as sexually transmitted infections.
Who’s the Best Person to Teach Your Kids?
Now that we know how important it is that our kids are taught about intimacy and sex, who should be teaching them?
Kids can get information from a lot of different sources but they may not be reliable. Sadly most kids are learning about the birds and the bees from either teen magazines or porn. Both of these sources are not meant for teaching but entertainment. They fail to address many of the topics critical to sexual health and making the right choices. These sources also tend to reinforce damaging stereotypes that can negatively impact relationships.
There are also a number of educators out there, such as Explore Sex Talk, that do provide solid information. The main problem with these sources is that your kid has to find them. If no one guides them to these sources, sparks their curiosity, or they don’t know there are risks then they may never look that up on their own. Sex educators can be a fabulous resource for you and your children to answer questions that they may have that you’re unsure of the answer to. These sources should be a resource, not carrying the full weight of education.
Teens that make smart choices do so because they have adults in their lives that they can connect with and talk to. The BEST person to teach your kids about sex is you! Parents can be a continued support for their kid and provide a very important interpersonal connection. They can be there on a continual basis to answer questions as they come up and build on previous conversations. Involved parents have more influence than they realize.
Don’t Be Shy About This Crucial Part of Humanity
Without sex, we would not exist as a species. It is an integral part of the human experience. Don’t leave your kid to flounder by failing to teach them about an important part of life. You can prepare your child for a better shot at life-long happiness in relationships and sexual health by arming them with the knowledge to make smart choices. After all, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do?
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