If you hang in there, the awkwardness and embarrassment that you may experience at first will eventually shift into something else: awkwardness and laughter.
And learning to talk with our kids about our weird bodies and the even weirder things we sometimes choose to do with them actually makes us better at talking about sex with everyone, including our own intimate partners.
A 2012 meta-analysis of multiple studies found that sex education does lead kids to having sex earlier, plus it often results in them waiting longer before starting to have sex, and increases the likelihood that they’ll use contraception when they do have sex. If you’re nervous about talking to your kids about sex, think about what will happen to your kids if you don’t. Now consider how much more complicated sex is than driving.
Would you let your 16-year-old get behind the wheel of a car without learning about the rules of the road, the importance of seat belts and something about how much a broken tail light costs? Of course, the analogy only goes so far; teaching your kid to drive safely isn’t the same as teaching your kid to develop a safe and healthy sexuality.
What does talking about sexuality to four- or five-year-olds look like?
It’s openly answering (not dodging) their questions like, “Why do grown-ups like to kiss? ” Sex education with very young children is also about teaching them the proper names of all their body parts—especially the girl ones that we never seem to name (all girls should know the difference between their vulva and their vagina, for instance).
You won’t know where to start (and your own hyperventilating won’t be conducive to the tone and creativity the moment calls for).