How Do You Talk To Kids About Sex?

Cathy: How do you talk to your kid about what sex is?
I’m here with J.D aka Jen Devine from and I’m Cathy Vartuli from and you talk to kids all the time about this. So how would….if you want your….what sex?

Jen: That is one of the most popular questions in the anonymous question box.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: What is S.E.X? Are we going to talk about the word starts with S and ends with X?

Cathy: Well I love it you have it you… can see this younger child has written it out. It’s on your refrigerator.

Jen: Yes, it says “how does sex work? Answer it. Please!” It’s probably a fourth grader who wrote that one.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: So….so here is so I like to define it because I think one of the most important things with kids when they’re asking question is to define the word first. So I often say sex can be when people decide they’re going to let their genitals come together. Actually…..usually I say sex is when people decide they’re going to let their bodies come together and it might include their genitals and they do that with permission and it’s usually people who have some understanding of what they plan on doing at that time.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: So that’s what sex is. People getting together with their bodies maybe their genitals and it’s usually with permission of course I sometimes also bring in that sometimes there are occasions where that happens without permission.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: And what that means and we talked about that.

Cathy: Yeah. I love that you….you make it not about gender. It’s not necessary about marriage like I remember when I was back in I think it was fifth grade they taught us like a mother…. our mother and father or may like you know husband and wife it was all very binary and I love how you mean it’s just two people can get you know people can get together.

Jen: I even say people

Cathy: So does it….Yeah, they’re not living.

Jen: because there are polyamorous families too

Cathy: Yes.

Jen: Who may have more than two people who are involved in what they call sex.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: And I also say that it might not involve genitals because not all sex does involve what people call

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: private parts which is a word I…..I’ll talk about that later but so because there are folks for whom I mean I have a friend whose most erotic place because they have a spinal cord injury happens to be their hand and their thumb and that’s their place that they want to get erotic

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: touch and

Cathy: Well, yeah. Your

Jen: that’s sex for them.

Cathy: and genitals are not necessarily the one’s that

Jen: Right. So

Cathy: Yeah

Jen: I try to broaden what it means because people have an idea and often in the ideas only penis going in vagina behavior and there’s a lot of other things people do and including sex.

Cathy: That feel amazing. Yeah.

Jen: Yeah and like telling that to a young kid is really important and could be super inclusive because what I find when I teach high school students what they think sex is also varies by community

Cathy: Yeah

Jen: and what they count as sex varies by who you talk to and so there’ll be people who’ll say things like “well, I haven’t had sex yet” and then the other person’s like “oh great. So you’re virgin.” And they’re like “oh, yeah. No yeah. I haven’t had sex yet” and that doesn’t actually disclose all the things they may have done that could…..well, include some risky behaviors or could include some information they might want to let the other partner know.

Cathy: Yeah

Jen: So when people say “oh, let’s get together” “yeah let’s get together” “I don’t want to have sex yet” “okay me neither.” Now do these two people know they’re talking about?

Cathy: None, I say

Jen: No! I guess versus like “oh, sex means don’t touch breasts, genitals though making out nothing knows nothing sexual at all.” This person’s like “sex just made penis and vagina.”

Cathy: I can get over….I can do a lot of it

Jen: I can do everything else, right? Wait a minute. This doesn’t work. So

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: Try to be as inclusive as possible that would even sex means.

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: With little kids

Cathy: And what if they asked more questions at that point like how do you know how much to share if they’re like hey, okay I get that but what do they actually do because I know I was reading very bad romance novels that my aunt had given us from the library and they were like the…..the naughty scenes and I was trying to figure out what sex was from that and it was

Jen: Right.

Cathy: really like they not

Jen: They’re very big

Cathy: always the best. Very big sometimes

Jen: Yeah. Well it depends on the age group and what’s age-appropriate for you and your family. In classrooms I also kind of base it on where the kids are what kind of questions they are asking in the classroom so it… can get into detail and also depends about what level of boundaries and comfort you have with the topic, right? So you can say well sometimes people might put a penis inside a vagina, sometimes other objects could go into body parts, sometimes people let mouths and genitals touch in ways. So sometimes you give some detail and stop and then see if the kids wanting to know more

Cathy: Yeah.

Jen: or they’re like too much information

Cathy: Yeah, I’m going to go watch cartoons

Jen: already.

Cathy: or whatever.

Jen: Right? So it….we kind of depends on where the kid is age appropriately you know age-appropriate and developmentally as well. Yeah.

Cathy: Yeah. Thanks. If you have questions or comments please leave them below. We’d love to hear and we’ll be back with another….. I have another question for you.

Jen: Okay!