However, that doesn’t mean you should talk to your five-year-old about condoms and birth control. Basic sex education starts with, well, the basics. On the sex education site Amazethere’s a whole section, Surprise Jr.which provides resources for talking to preschool and elementary school students about sex, including a whole collection of videos specifically designed to guide parents through the process of talking to kids about sex.
But also know that it is never too late. Today, Jeselin Marizan, 16, is a youth ambassador for Amaze, and she is passionate about the importance of giving children access to honest, accurate information about sex. Yet she herself did not grow up with those conversations. The daughter of a teenage mother, she was largely raised to view sex as something to be avoided. “I was always a little scared to bring it up,” she admits.
But after Covid hit, Jeselin started volunteering with a number of health education organizations — and sex education became a part of her life. She started casually bringing up topics like birth control with her mom and was thrilled to discover it was something they could talk about together. While she wishes they had had these conversations much, much sooner, she is thankful that the door is now open.
Keep the conversation going. “Some parents see ‘the talk’ as a one-off. But conversations about sex, sexuality, love and relationships should be an ongoing conversation,” said LeKara Simmons, Amaze Program Manager and Strategic Brand Ambassador. The more you normalize discussions about sex and bodies, the more trust you’ll build with your child — and the more likely they’ll turn to you, and not to a peer or a potentially sketchy website, when they have questions about sex in the future.
But talking about sex regularly doesn’t mean repeating the same topics of conversation over and over about where babies come from or how to use condoms. Sex is about more than just the mechanics. Learning about sexism, respecting other people’s bodily autonomy, and media literacy is just as important as making sure they know how a sperm and an egg make a baby.
Find good resources online (and offline) and make sure your kids know about them. No matter how hard you try to talk to your kids about sex, there will always be conversations they don’t want to have with you. So make sure they know they have other places to go. That could be another trusted adult – an aunt, an uncle, a family friend – or it could be one of the many fantastic sexual resources that exist online and offline.
Websites like Amaze, Scarleteen, Sex, etcAnd Planned Parenthood and books like Let’s talk about it!, Sex is a funny word, Wait what?, And SEX: The Scarleteen Book! are all great resources for kids curious about sex. Make sure your children are aware of this.