Preparing your kids for school often means packing lunches, picking out book bags, and having a talk about bullies. But as your kids get older, preparing them means talking about the effects their decisions will leave on their life and discussing things your kids should know before sex ed class.
Talking to your kids about sex isn't on anyone's fun list, but if you don't, you're setting your child up to rely on the information they learn in their sex ed class. And, trust me, that's not OK. America is way behind the times when it comes to sex education, and if you're hoping your kid will hear everything they need to know in their school's curriculum, you're going to be disappointed. Sex ed is often shameful to students, full of lies meant to scare them into abstinence, and encourages kids to believe that sex is meant only for procreation. In short? It sucks.
In fact, there are some states where sex education isn't even required, and according to the Guttmacher Institute, as of March 1, 2016, only 13 states are required to be medically accurate when teaching kids about sex and HIV. If that doesn't scare you enough into talking to your kid, take note that only two states in this country are prohibited from using religion in sex and HIV education.
Ready to have the talk? Here are 11 things you need to make sure your kids know before they take sex ed.
1. Sex Isn't Dirty Or Bad
Being sex positive is one of the best things you can do for your kids, and it's super important before they head into a sex ed class. Sex ed could give them all of the potential negative outcomes of sex and will make it sound dirty and morally wrong. By teaching your kids that sex isn't any of those things, they'll feel more comfortable thinking about it and asking questions.
2. A Desire For Sex Isn't Abnormal
And you don't have to be married to want it either. Look, your teenagers are going to be interested in sex. They are going to have urges and desires that they can't control. When you let them know this is normal, you help them not only understand their body, but remind them that sex isn't something to be ashamed about.
3. Consent Is Necessary For Everything & Everyone
Everyone loves to focus on making sure boys learn that "no means no", but consent isn't gender-specific. It's necessary for any sexual act and is necessary for both genders.
4. Safe Sex Exists
It really does. Your kids are going to learn about pregnancy and STDs, but are they going to be taught about condoms and birth control? Talk to your teens now about how safe sex is a legitimate act and it actually does exist.
5. Sex Is More Than Just Vaginal Penetration
Engaging in oral sex is still considered sex and having anal sex still makes you sexually active. Your teenagers may hear about these things in sex ed, but they need to know that they all count as sex and that they should also be approached with a safe sex mindset.
6. Don't Be Ashamed Of Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation is rarely discussed in Sex Ed classes, and the focus is primarily on heterosexual relationships. According to The Huffington Post, only nine states have positive LGBT-inclusive sex education and three states are required to provide only negative information on sexual orientation. It's an easy way for kids to feel ashamed of their orientation and is something you need to clarify as OK before they head into the classroom.
7. Emotional Health Can Correlate With Sex
Although you want to provide a sex-positive atmosphere, you also want to make sure your kids know that sex isn't without its emotional consequences. Apart from the actual biological urges that make them want sex more and make them feel attached to their partners, there have also been studies that link casual sex to anxiety and depression. It's something you definitely want to discuss with them so they know that STDs and pregnancy aren't the only thing sex can cause.
8. Don't Shame Another's Sexual Choices
Huge. Regardless of how your kids feel about their own choices when it comes to sex, they should never shame another person's.
9. Be Proud Of Your Body
It's OK to love your body. It's OK to wear clothes that make you feel good and to have a healthy body image. Too many kids feel like they are considered egotistical or rude if they love their self, but that's not the case. And you don't want them to ever think that their body and the way they portray it is to blame if they are ever sexually assaulted.
10. They Are Allowed To Research
Sex is not taboo. If your kids have questions, they're allowed to do the research to find out an answer. Make sure they know this!
11. They Are Allowed To Ask You Questions
When you make sex an open discussion in your home, you make your kids feel comfortable to talk to you and ask you questions. Don't let them think you're uncomfortable or nervous about the idea. Let them know it's more than OK for them to ask questions and to talk to you about anything, especially if it pertains to sex.