Over the years, I have explained the science of reproduction and sexual intercourse to thousands & thousands of young people and their parents. I’ve heard all the questions. I’ve alleviated a lot of anxiety. I’ve eliminated a ton of confusion and reduced awkwardness. But when it came time to share the magical “secret to life” with my own kids…well, let’s just say I’m always learning.
I shared the information with each of my children in the same way I always have: started with eggs and the flowy landscape of the female reproductive tract, shared pictures of the male body and those cool little sperm, fascinated them with fertilization, fetal development, and birth. Then finally I came back around to exactly how the sperm gets to the egg, and emphasized that all of it depends on consent, trust, and comfort in mature adult relationships.
So here’s how it went at my house (I had this chat with each of them at age 8– I know, but I explain that HERE):
My oldest (my little scientist) had tons of technical questions like, “How do the sperm know which tube the egg is in?” “What happens to the sperm that don’t get to fertilize the egg?” and “Does sex help with arthritis?” (that’s another story for another time…)
My middle daughter (my creative) replied “ewwww” and asked if she ever had to “do that.” She was relieved to know it would always be up to her, and with that answer, she drifted off to sleep.
My youngest (my social one) asked no questions. HOWEVER, the next day, she proceeded to educate her entire friend group (even though I told her this was not something to share with her friends). 😅😱 Fortunately, only one mom required a bit of damage control… the others seized the opportunity to have their own talks. Two of them even complimented me on how well my youngest had shared the facts, which is not what usually happens when peers share this type of information (so maybe I was a little proud 😏).
Don’t overthink your preparation! You’ll never predict what they’ll ask or how they’ll respond!
Each child will respond differently, so don’t get too complacent – just consider it a great way to stay fresh and nimble in your parenting game.
Watch out for those youngest children, they have a mind of their own and are wise & confident well beyond their years.
Lesson 4 (learned in retrospect)
Talking with your children early and often about their bodies and being an “askable” parent who is open to talking about sex creates comfort and ease that encourages them (and often their friends) to come to you for advice or accurate answers – about a LOT of stuff! As their trusted go-to, YOU get to hear more about their lives and support them as they make choices (both good and not-so-good) and ultimately develop the skills to live out their values.
No matter how old your child is – it’s a great time to start some of these conversations. Join our community and get all the help you need.
If you need to start with something simple, like anatomy, here’s a great place to start.
If you want to talk about puberty first, go here.
And if you’re ready to explain sex, we’d love to help with THIS class.
Just get started, and keep talking! We’re here to support you through every age and stage.
Did you know Girlology has grade-by-grade video on demand playlists to support her and you — on topics like this and lots others? Learn More HERE.