Educating your kid about sex has notoriously been referred to as "The Talk" and it's generally regarded as an awkward situation that parents avoid and kids abhor. But the truth is, the best person to teach your kid about sex is you. If you want to raise a sex positive kid who doesn't feel ashamed of their body and the things they can do with it, you have to be honest with your kid about sex.
There is so much misinformation about sex — good and bad reasons to have it, how it works, how to prevent pregnancy and STIs, basic rules about healthy dynamics and consent between two people in a sexual situation — floating around the Internet, and within our communities and kids' schools, and it really can (and does) put adolescents at risk. The only way to combat high STI rates and unplanned pregnancies is to be open and honest with our children about sex and everything that goes along with it. Furthermore, the only way to ensure that individuals understand sexual consent is to teach our children what healthy sexual relationships look like and consist of. That, of course, starts at home.
We've been well-trained to believe that talking to our children about sex is awkward and weird, and that it is easier to just regurgitate a story about a stork or whatever, but the truth is, the only way to ensure that your kid grows up to have a healthy sexual identity is to be open and honest with him or her about sex — from day one.
Here are 10 reasons why you should never lie to your kid about sex. Because, hey, sex is natural and lying about could have seriously terrible consequences.
You Could Evoke Shame
Lying about sex insinuates that sex is inherently something "bad" or "evil." That, in turn, can leave your kid feeling ashamed for the otherwise normal and healthy sexual feelings or thoughts they're experiencing.
They Could Lose Their Trust In You
Lying to your kid can ruin the trust you've built with them. To your child, you're the one with all the answers. You're the one that they rely on to protect them, love them, and be truthful with them. If you lie to them and they catch you in that lie (an inevitable outcome, I can assure you; kids will eventually learn the truth about sex, one way or another) you'll damage the relationship you have worked so hard to cultivate.
Misinformation Isn't Safe Or Healthy
Misinformation leads to STDs and unplanned pregnancies. Studies have shown that when children are provided with factual information about sex and sexual health, teen pregnancies drop and STD rates plummet. If you want your kid to be healthy and safe when they decide to be sexually active, it is best to be open and honest with them.
They Could Unknowingly Put Your Kid In Danger
Whether it's having unprotected sex or your kid now knowing the difference between consensual contact and sexual assault, hiding important information from your kid could put them at risk and/or in danger. Being informed is vital to being protected.
They Might Ask The Wrong Person Instead
If you don't give your kid the correct information that they're looking for, they're going to look elsewhere. You definitely do not want them asking a friend, or an older kid at school, who may not have access to factual information either.
They Might Not Be Able To Differentiate Consensual Sex From Sexual Abuse Or Assault
This one is very important. Understanding sex means understanding consent, and that is something everyone should be extremely familiar with. If you're open and honest with your kid about sex, they'll understand what is appropriate and OK, and what isn't. This will help them navigate their relationships and hold people accountable for their actions. This will ensure that they don't cross a line that should never be crossed, and will be more likely to speak up if someone crosses that line with them. (And what's more, since you're the one to discuss these issues with them first, you increase the chances that they'll talk to you about it if they ever need to.)
Sex And Body Positivity Go Hand-In-Hand
Understanding sex, and everything that goes along with it, is vital in understanding how to truly love and embrace your body. If you hide information about sex from your kid and evoke a sense of shame and stigma, your kid could very well start to feel ashamed about their own body. If they're made to feel like what their body can do is "bad," they'll very possibly start to assume their body is bad too.
Sex Is A Healthy, Normal Part Of Life
Why lie about something that is normal and healthy? I mean, really. Why?
You Could Hinder A Relationship Between Your Kid And Their Body
One of the ways your kid will start to understand and build a relationship with their body is through sexual expression. Hiding that ability from them, or lying about it to them, can hinder the very necessary relationship they will inevitably build with their body. They can't understand the form they inhabit if we lie to them about a very important aspect and capability it possesses.
You Can't Stop Your Kid From Eventually Having Sex
It's just a fact: Your kid is almost definitely going to, one day, have sex. It might be difficult to comprehend, especially when you look at them and all you see is a little kid in diapers or a brand new baby, but they're going to grow up and interact with others and have relationships. Trying to prolong that for as long as possible isn't healthy or fair to your kid. When that time comes and when they're ready, they should have all the information necessary for them to make an informed, consensual decision.