At what age should we give the "sex talk" to our son?
What is the most appropriate age to talk to a boy and go into details and about respect for your and your girl's body and sex safety in a relationship?
Should we wait until he's seeing someone? Is it better to talk about it in advance so it's covered? Is it better if the father (male figure) is the one talking about it?
In this era I would say age 11 or 12. This would be an overall discussion about understanding their hormones, the conception of babies, and how some people have made mistakes by not waiting until their mental maturity caught up with their body's maturity. (STDs, unplanned pregnancy, having to give up on dreams of college..)
It's probably best for a man he respects to have the talk with him.
Having said that by this age he has either heard things from fellow students at his school or has been exposed to a lot through music videos, lyrics, and possibly images via the Internet.
I was probably age 10 or 11 the first time I thumbed through a Playboy or Penthouse magazine. However today anyone could easily Google (nude women) or whatever (images) and see all the sex photos or video clips they want anytime they want for free.
Personally, I think the sex talk shouldn't be one talk, but a series of conversations that take place throughout the child's life at age appropriate levels. If the child is used to asking you questions, sees you as the source for these types of questions, and gets honest straightforward answers, then he will feel comfortable asking them. Both parents should share their viewpoints.
We had "the talk" with my son when he started sixth grade (age 11). It was actually pretty funny, when we finished we sat back and asked "Do you have any questions?" and he said "no." So we asked "is there anything you'd like to say?" and his response was "Ewwwww!"
Probably around 11-12. And I agree with Millionaire - it should be more a series of conversations than one big talk - that way, he knows he just needs to ask.
I have one thing I'd like to add, and please take from it what you will, but I feel it needs to be said. Please note I do not know you, him, or your religious beliefs or other feelings on sexual matters. I speak only from experience.
Please do not just assume he will have a girlfriend. Yes, the sex talk is most appropriate focusing on a heterosexual relationship, as MOST people are, but not all. And by focusing solely on "straight" relationships, you may make him feel as though, if he wasn't straight that there is something wrong with him, and may isolate him further IF he isn't straight.
It doesn't have to be an obvious "well, if you're gay/bi etc and bring home a boyfriend" type statement, but the use of partner rather than girlfriend...or something.
I am not saying he is, or could be, but it doesn't hurt to have an open mind - that way, he knows, no matter what - you love him.
I do applaud your willingness to talk about it, and to also focus on the 'respect' issue - most people are so 'icked' by talking to their kids about sex - they focus on the "physical" nature of things, but not really the emotion and the other person.
Very good point, jlpark, I totally agree. Never assume anything, thanks for mentioning it, because I don't know if I would have thought of keeping it gender-free on my own, since he is currently head over hills for a girl.
There is no set age when an older person talks to a child about sex. The time is when the child asks questions. At that time the individual asked must be knowledgeable about all forms of sex, the inherent risk and the responsibilities of those engage in sex. It is absurd to think that a child does not understand what is going on, and a frank discussion of the facts can build in the child a healthy appreciation of sex and those who engage in it. It is a time for facts, not mythologies or condemnations.
He will inevitably learn all about it in the same way every child has since the early 90s: internet porn.
Age isn't that important. When the child starts getting curious and asks questions is the time. For a male child it is probably best if the husband gives the talk or what will no doubt turn into a series of talks but the issue should not be avoided. The thing is that sex is something natural and part of life. treat it as anything else and you are likely to cause problems for yourself and for your offspring. Practicalities and responsibilities should be discussed in a matter-of-fact way. In a loving family there is already respect and also love but it is love of a non-sexual nature.
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