How to Talk to Children About Sex???

Updated on July 11, 2014
M.M. asks from Fresno, CA
12 answers

My daughters are 8 and 9 years old right now and was wondering if I should start talking to them about sex. I feel they may be too young but I hear a lot of girls their age are very aware of what happens during sex and I just don't want my kids to find out through the ignorance of other children. At what age is appropriate and how do you explain something like this? One of my girls the other day heard the word sex on the tv. At the time, they were referring to the sex of a baby. She was like eeew and turned away. So she already knows something. I do not know to what extent. I just stated that sex means that if the baby was a boy or a girl but I know that she knows more than that. I'm not sure how to ask and I'm not sure what to say or how to bring it up. Please, I would love to hear any advice. I would much rather tell them myself and them be comfortable with asking me questions then leaving it alone and them learning about sex in school with other kids that don't really know either. I want to be open with them but in a manner that is appropriate for their age. Hope you mommy's can help. Thanks for your time and help!

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So What Happened?

So a lot of you are expressing that I should have been talking to them about puberty and their body. I have. They know that women have periods every month and they know they will get boobies later and their bodies are made to one day have babies. I just haven't told them what happens physically with a man and a woman. I still feel they are too young to know details like the penis penetrates the vagina. I just find that disturbing to tell them. I know it's all ignorance. That's why I asked and I'm working on it. But oh my gosh...thanks everyone for all the advice and the book titles. That's amazing. I'm going to the library tomorrow and will talk to them later. Thanks again. I appreciate every single one of you for your time and thoughts!

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answers from Denver on

My kids favorite books were: "Where Did I Come From" and "What's Happening to Me" by Peter Mayle. We started talking about sex at about 7 for my older two but my youngest started asking very pointed questions at 5. He was hearing things at school. We have been having open, clear, and direct talks about sex ever since then.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

i'm rather startled that at 8 and 9 there's been no discussion yet. i think they're very far from being 'too young.' it should be an ongoing conversation that simply gets more detailed as they get older and more curious about it.
a child who gets squicked out at the very mention of the word 'sex' indicates to me a child that hasn't been appropriately educated.
i'd remedy that right away.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

If you don't talk to them, they will get all their info from the school bus and TV. I think the easiest way is to get a few books from the children's library that represent your values, and use their language to transmit the info at an age-appropriate level. Talk to the children's librarian and get some recommendations, even if they are books that have to be ordered from other libraries in the system. It's all free. Review them yourself, then do one at a time. Expect the kids to giggle a little.

Remember also that a great time to talk to kids is in the car - there's no eye contact, but they can't leave the room either. Don't try to do it all in one session.

And DO let them know that they will hear things that are not true, there are a lot of misconceptions, etc. And let them know about things like air-brushed photos of women and objectification so they don't judge themselves by models and what men say about them.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I got the book "It's not the stork" to start the conversation. I found that it was very age-appropriate for my then-7 year old.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Wondering at ages 8 and 9?

I believe the "talk" starts much younger when you answer questions in an age appropriate manner so that your children will always come to you for the questions. Also, it is an ongoing talk... It is not a wham bam thank you mam discussion and you are done. It is ongoing. I started when my daughter was a toddler asking why she didn't have boobs like me.

As a long time substitute teacher in elementary school, I can promise you that your girls know something about sex and most likely not what you think they should know. We have 1st graders referring to body parts, kissing, love, sex, etc. They may not know what you would prefer them to know at this point but this is talked about among peers ALL the time.

In 4th grade our school nurse has a video for girls and boys. The classes are separated and she addresses each group separately about puberty, upcoming body changes, etc. Sadly, it is the only information some children get because the parents are too embarrassed to talk to them OR the parents are so blind to think that they are not hearing things at such an early age.

A lot of people suggest that if you do not feel comfortable talking to your children, then go on a walk or drive so you are not looking at them in the eye while you are talking. However you do it, please talk to them so they will learn facts from you vs hearsay from school which starts WAY early. It is vital to have wide open lines of communication so they will come to you, especially as they get older and feel comfortable to ask you questions.

You say your girls are 8 and 9. Many girls in this age group are already developing breast buds, etc and they are not too young at all for you to be talking about sex. Just be specific and answer questions honestly. Don't make any part of it "bad"... this is life! They need to know there is no shame in puberty, sex, and their bodies. They need a healthy self esteem about themselves so that they are armed with correct info later on when they are in higher grade levels, etc around boys and being pressured to do things they may not be comfortable with at the time. Of course, explain STD's (yes at this age) and by 8 and 9, the know the process of sex from what they've already heard. It is up to you to make sure they know facts.

The books which have been suggested are good books. I did have some with my daughter (now 19) but I found plain communication worked best for us. You would not believe some of the topics we discuss.... some people would cringe but I am glad that she chooses me to bounce things off of at this part of her life.

Best wishes to you.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Hit the library. They need to know about puberty, of course. There may be books there that work for you. Our church has a unit on body awareness, and since there are bunches of pregnant people around, it's hard to avoid the discussion. The class is pretty comprehensive about bodies, where babies come from, etc., but they don't talk about the ACT itself. That's more general. Big thing - RESPECT is highlighted a lot. Of yourself, of the other person, of relationships. If you start having conversations, make it about the emotional stuff too and not just the physical.

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answers from Reading on

You should definitely be talking about puberty by now, if not intercourse.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I told my 9 year old granddaughter that I knew she heard lots of talk about sex and other stuff like that. I told her if she had ANY questions to ask me and we'd go on the internet and see what medical sites had to say about stuff.

She has come to me every time to explain something she heard and didn't understand.

Also, when we do child care certification classes we have to build a resource file. One of the things required in this file is a section on sex stuff.

I went to the children's librarian in OKC and asked her for help finding the right books to help kids with this. She gave me lots and lots of references and I was able to check out several books that helped me write good reviews for those books. I put those titles in my file and was able to talk about them with parents when they asked me for advice.

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answers from Columbus on

Marie C suggested "The Care and Keeping of You" and I agree. It's more about girls' bodies and the changes they're about to go through. That would be a good start. I would check it out of the library and read through it WITH your girls so that you can answer any questions they would have.

When they are ready to hear the whole kit and caboodle - which they probably are - I recommend the book "It's Not the Stork". I would check that one out and read through it yourself first. It gives no-nonsense information about how babies are conceived and lots of other information about sex. I let my daughter read both books (not on the same day, that would be information overload) And when she was done, we went through it together, page by page. I answered any questions she had and the book made it very easy to give honest, clear answers.

By the way, I asked my 9 year old if she had known about sex and she told me her friends had been talking about it for years. Yikes!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

It's not an "all in one day" kind of conversation. At least it wasn't for us. It is definitely time to start. The girls I know that age will be starting their periods soon (it's much sooner than it used to be) so that would be a good conversation starter! What made it easier for me to do was that I wanted them to hear it from me, not a bunch of kids at school. That was all the motivation I needed. Good luck!

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answers from Detroit on

I agree that now is tbe time-in small increments. I also bought the American girl book the care and keepng of you. It opened up a dialog with my then 9 year old. She would call me into her room or bring out the book at bedtime and show me passages and ask questions. I love that she feels comfortable asking and want it to stay that way. My 8 year old was 7 at the time and thought the book was hilarious. She is a little on the immiture side for her age, but will ask me questions if she hears something funny/weird at school. I will probably be introducing the book to her this school year to see if she can read it without getting the giggles.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

Instead of fearing the talk about penetration, you could always say semen from a man mixes with egg in a woman and a baby is made. IF they want to know HOW that happens, you can tell them that is something for when they are a bit older, or get them a book depicting it without you having to explain it :) Good luck!

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