When (and How) to Have the Sex Talk with Your Kid - Baby Chick

When (and How) to Have the Sex Talk with Your Kid

ParentingUpdated July 7, 2023


Affiliate links included. Opinions are our own. Your purchase may earn us a commission, supporting free content. Visit our Chick Picks Shop for more recommended products we love! ❤️

Talking about sex with anyone can be weird. But having the sex talk with your kid . . . well, that’s a whole new level of weird. Some parents try to avoid having “the talk” for as long as humanly possible. Other parents jump right in at the first hint of their child’s curiosity. Some parents find the topic relatively easy to discuss, while others are humiliated just thinking about it. No matter where you fall on this wide spectrum, one fact remains: someone has to teach your child about sex. And it should probably be you.

So, where do you start? How do you talk about it? And when? Of course, there are no right or wrong answers to these questions. Each parent will broach this subject in the way they feel is best. But if you’re like me and need guidance, here are some tips for teaching your kids about the birds and the bees.

How (and When) to Have “The Talk”

Start young.

Clearly, you won’t sit down with your 18-month-old and tell them how babies are made. They can’t understand such things at that age. But the sooner you start talking about subjects surrounding sex, the better. For instance, as soon as they’re old enough to start asking about their genitals, answer their questions about their private parts with correct terminology. It may seem harmless to call a penis something like a “pee-pee,” but it does your child no good. And it perpetuates the concept that terms like penis, vagina, breasts, testicles, etc., are “bad” or embarrassing words.

As soon as you start incorporating correct words and phrases into your normal conversation and using those terms without embarrassment, your children will also begin to be able to describe their bodies factually and without shame. Over time, and as they get older, moving naturally into talking about the act of sex and all that comes with it will be much easier for you both.

Be factual.

One of the most difficult things for parents to talk about with kids when it comes to sex is the pleasure of it. For whatever reason, we in this country seem to be ashamed that we find sex pleasurable. And to imply that you like sex (gasp!) is downright blasphemous in some circles. While sex is pleasurable, it is also very scientific and purposeful. Start by talking with your child about the science and function of the act first to ease your way into the subject.

For example, when your kid asks how babies are made and wants DETAIL, respond with something like, “Women have eggs inside their body, and men have sperm inside their body. A man will fit his penis inside the woman’s vagina to leave the sperm so that it can find the egg and fertilize it. Once the egg is fertilized, it grows into a baby.” Sometimes, that will be enough for the child, and you bcan bothmove on until the next opportunity arises. Eventually, you will want to discuss the pleasure of sex because most children will start exploring their bodies by around age 8. But if you have already broached the subject scientifically, it will be easier to talk about when the time is right.

Remain calm.

Listen, talking about this subject with your child will be nerve-wracking. You may feel a whole range of nervous emotions. That’s okay, and it’s perfectly normal. However, do your very best to remain calm and collected when you have the sex conversation with your child. He is going to feed off of your energy more than anything else. If you act embarrassed, he will feel that the topic should embarrass him. If you’re acting nervous, talking about sex with you will also make him feel nervous. Do yourself and your child a huge favor and keep the conversation (and the emotions surrounding it) as light, straightforward, and calm as possible.

Use your resources.

Unfortunately, our kids did not come with instruction manuals. Similarly, there is no instruction manual for having the sex talk either. However, some great resources, online and in print, can help you start the conversation and continue it in a way that will benefit your child and help you stay calm, focused, and factual. Check out It’s Not the Stork! and Who Has What? All About Girls Bodies and Boys Bodies – two best sellers on this topic.

It's NOT the Stork! Book
Buy Here
Who Has What: All About Girls' Bodies and Boys' Bodies
Buy Here

Remember, sex is a natural, normal, and important part of everyone’s life. Learning about it in a safe and healthy environment is crucial to how your child will grow up understanding the act and all the complicated emotions and feelings surrounding it. Beginning “the talk” with them early and often will help you both approach this topic with at least a bit of ease.

Mom breastfeeding her baby in the dark. There is a little light in the background.

What Is a Dream Feed and How Can I Do It?

A young Latin American woman helps a two year old girl use the jungle gym at the playground on a warm sunny afternoon.

Navigating the Playground with Your Child

Sad Caucasian Girl Trying to Stop Nose Bleeding using Paper Tissue Side

What a Bloody Nose in Kids Means and How To Treat It

Mother combing daughter's hair at home

What Is Permissive Parenting? Pros and Cons

Portrait of cute crying toddler boy. He's in the living room.

Avoiding Toddler Tantrums at Bedtime

A girl with a wide smile lies on a carpet of red and yellow leaves in an autumn park.

60 Fall Activities For Kids That Everyone Can Enjoy