7 Ways To Explain Penises To Your Daughter, Because You Know She's Going To Ask

Ad failed to load

I received a lot of stereotypical, bad advice when I found out I was having a daughter, but the one I hated the most was, "with a boy, you only have to worry about one penis. With a girl, you have to worry about all of them." Terrible, right? And for two reasons. One, my daughter may be attracted to girls, so go ahead and drop this archaic "advice.: And two, why worry about penises? Look, I get the gist of the statement, but the world should be more concerned with learning ways to explain penises to your daughter and less on how to make her afraid of them.

I know, that's not a topic anyone is really excited to discuss. But it's completely necessary. Much like talking to your daughter about her own genitalia, you have to discuss the male anatomy. Why? Because she's going to ask you. One day she's going to see a little brother in the bath, or her baby cousin during a diaper change. She's going to ask about her body, and if Daddy has a vagina, too. She'll want to know where babies come from, how they get inside your belly, and hopefully, if you keep the conversation informative and helpful, you'll be the one she's questioning when she's ready to talk about that sex ed class.

So how do you take on this daunting task? Simple. Stop making it into such a big deal, because it's not.

Ad failed to load

You don't have any problems explaining your daughter's own anatomy to her (and if you do, that's a separate issue to discuss), so why should explaining a boy's be any different? A girl has a vagina, and a boy has a penis.

Now depending on their ages, you can get a little more detailed. And it's not because the conversation is inappropriate for little kids — they just may not understand any of what you're saying.

But you can't treat any conversation about male or female genitalia as gross, silly, or inappropriate. With those attitudes, you're setting your child up to think something is wrong with their body, and you're also leaving them in the dark when it comes to sex. If they get the understanding that it's hard for you to talk to them about penises, then how is your daughter supposed to talk to you about penises?

Ad failed to load

Don't be embarrassed or uncomfortable with the topic of penises. Your daughter needs to know what they are, not only for her own sexual health and curiosity of the human body, but to protect her from sexual assault as well. These seven tips can help you steer the conversation and make it informative, accurate, and appropriate.

Ad failed to load

1Use The Correct Terms


No matter how you broach the subject with your daughter, be sure to use the word penis and not a "cutesy" term like willy, weewee, etc. Not only does it empower your daughter to know that there's nothing shameful or bad about genitalia, but Today notes that it can also protect her from molestation by being able to accurately name the body parts.

2Remind Her That It's A Private Area, Too


When you're talking to your daughter about her vagina, you've most likely mentioned to her that it's her own private parts, one she has complete control over. Be sure to remind her that penises are the same way. Just because they are something she doesn't understand doesn't mean she's allowed to ask to see someone's penis or touch it. It's a boy's private area, just like her vagina is hers.

3Don't Turn It Into A Formal Discussion


If you're talking to your daughter about penises, chances are she's asked a question about them. It's understandable if you're in mixed company or in the middle of the store to wait to have the discussion, but you don't have to make it into a big formal thing. Parenting expert Michele Borba told Today that you should give the information in short tidbits, not in a long, drawn-out speech. She also suggested having the conversation while playing a game or taking a walk instead of sitting down like it's a big deal.

Ad failed to load

4Explain The Penis's Role In Reproduction


Depending on the age of your child, this point may be different for everyone. But even a 5-year-old can learn that the penis puts sperm inside a woman's vagina to make a baby. You'll know where your child is in terms of information, so follow their lead.

5Compare A Penis To A Vagina


It's really that simple. When you have no idea where to start, simply explain to your little girl that boys have a penis just like she has a vagina. Dr. Mark Schuster told Parenting that it's an easy conversation when you simply explain that a penis and a vagina are how you tell a boy and girl apart.

6Stop If She's Uncomfortable


If your daughter seems uncomfortable with the conversation or asks you to stop, listen to her. She'll ask you questions when she's ready. You don't have to be graphic with the conversation or go too far — sometimes kids really do just want the basic information.

Ad failed to load

7Remind Her That She Shouldn't Be Forced To See Or Touch A Penis


This can be an incredibly tough subject to talk about, but it's so important. Once you've talked to your daughter about not touching a boy's penis or asking to see it, you need to remind her that she shouldn't be forced to touch or see one either. This conversation can start no matter what age she's at, so don't let it slip by. You want her to view penises as normal and nothing to be ashamed of, but they are still private areas that people should keep to themselves. The National Sex Offender Public Website recommends teaching your child that if someone tries to make her touch or look at their genitals, she needs to find a trusted adult right away, no matter who the person is or how embarrassed they seem.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

6 Early Signs You're Going To Have A Short Labor, According To Experts

As far as I'm concerned, a short labor is right up there with winning the lottery in terms of lucky life events. (And when I was actually in labor, I would absolutely have traded a bucketful of lottery winnings for a speedier birth.) While some women…
By Kelly Mullen-McWilliams

Kids Will Love These TV Shows & Movies Coming To Netflix In March

You can always count on Netflix to keep it fresh: though there are already so many movies and shows to choose from, every month there's an influx of new content to keep your entire family entertained. As February enters its final weeks, it's time to …
By Megan Walsh

Here Are 10 Ways To Boost Your Baby's Immunity To The Flu

As I'm sure you've read in the thousands upon thousands of articles written about it this winter, the flu is spreading like wildfire and it's bad. Really bad. This strand of flu is the worst we've had in a very long time and it's the most widespread,…
By Abi Berwager Schreier

Khloé Kardashian Asked Twitter About Her Bump, & Moms Totally Delivered

Like her younger sister Kylie Jenner, Khloé Kardashian managed to keep most of her pregnancy a sort-of secret. But unlike Jenner, Kardashian chose to publicly announce her pregnancy several months before the baby's due date. While there's no wrong wa…
By Sophie Hirsh

21 Moms Share The Most Surprising Part About Having A C-Section

Honestly, I don't think we, as a culture, talk about C-sections nearly enough, especially considering so many mothers experience them. And because of a number of factors, the little we do talk about it always seems to be a familiar narrative: "It's n…
By Jamie Kenney

13 Yummy Instant Pot Recipes To Make Under 30 Minutes

An Instant Pot seems to be the must-have appliance in every kitchen these days. If you are anything like me and never knew the beauty of a Instant Pot, you are about to have your life changed. Basically, you put some ingredients into a pot, set the t…
By Kristin Manna

9 Things The First Six Months Of Motherhood Will Teach You About Your Baby

Personally, the first six months of motherhood was a mixed bag. I learned some harsh lessons about myself that made taking care of my baby seem overwhelming. For example, I was clueless, and no amount of research could help me feel like anything but …
By Steph Montgomery

11 Photos You *Must* Take During The Last Days Of Your Pregnancy

During my first pregnancy, I took a photo each week to document my growing belly. I stopped around 36 weeks, though. I hated how I looked in those pictures, and didn't think I'd want to relive those moments. I was wrong. My second pregnancy was a dum…
By Steph Montgomery

6 Red Flags To Definitely Look Out For After Your Baby Falls

The first time my infant son tried to take a few steps, he tumbled and bumped his head on the coffee table. My blood turned to ice in my veins and I froze. There truly isn't anything quite like the feeling a parent gets when their little one gets hur…
By Sarah Bunton

These 9 Instant Pot Recipes Will Make Even The Pickiest Eater Happy At The Table

Like any parent, I've had my share of parenting hits and misses, but one of my favorite "wins" is my daughter's diverse palate. I don't even know if I can take credit for it, but I would like to think I had something to do with her love for lentils, …
By Caroline Shannon-Karasik

Turns Out, Kim Kardashian's Favorite Mom Products Look A Lot Like Your Own Faves

Being a mom is really hard work, especially for the first few months, and Kim Kardashian West is no different in that regard. Now the mother of three, Kardashian says that there are a few products she just can't live without when it comes to raising …
By Abi Berwager Schreier

10 Things No One Tells You About Having A Baby In Your 30s

If you're like me, you evaluate the pros and cons of any major life decision. When my husband and I were considering starting a family, I thought about my career, education, and financial stability. I wanted to know how a pregnancy and childbirth wou…
By Steph Montgomery

Soda Might Hurt Your Fertility, Study Says, & Here's What You Can Do

Who doesn't love sugary drinks? I stopped drinking soda years ago, but I still love gulping down those fancy Starbucks coffee beverages. I don't have a big sweet tooth, but I am a sucker for sugar-sweetened beverages every now-and-then. Turns out, th…
By Annamarya Scaccia

5 Red Flags Your Toddler Isn't Eating Enough

Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters, at least in my experience. You offer mashed potatoes, they want french fries. You give them crackers, they scream for chips. It's frustrating, to be sure, but it's usually their way of vying for independence. It…
By Candace Ganger

35 Moms Share The Most Disgusting Things Their Husbands Do

I'm a human being who revels in challenges. I like when people present me with one, especially if they don't think I can meet or succeed it, and I like taking a challenge on, especially if it's unexpected. So when I aimed to uncover the most disgusti…
By Jamie Kenney

How Having Kids In Your 20s Affects You Later In Life

For parents, like myself, who had kids in their 20s, there are a number of questions that come to mind. When you're deciding what your future will look like, you'll likely consider what this means for your health, career, and more down the line. Thin…
By Tessa Shull

Study: Drinking Two Glasses Of Wine A Day Is Good For Your Mind — Here's Why

There’s more scientific proof that a daily drink or two isn't necessarily a bad thing and could have a place in an overall healthy lifestyle. A new study out of the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) in New York found that — in mice, at le…
By Tiffany Thomas

Research Says Eating Carbs Can Lead To A Healthy Pregnancy, So Bring On The Pasta

In the world of me, no food is better than bread. I know it's supposed to be pretty terrible for you, high in calories, low in protein, and full of that modern-day demon, gluten... but guys, it's really yummy. Especially warm out of the oven, when th…
By Jen McGuire

These Photos Of Prince George Then & Now Will Give You Serious Baby Fever

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in Spring 2018. With all of the excitement surrounding the new baby, it's easy to forget all of the good times that have already passed. The couple's eldest is already well into the sc…
By Azure Hall

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
By Lindsay E. Mack