SEX EDUCATION is mandatory across UK secondary schools, but should we start talking about this with our children earlier than the age of 12? Most children have already been told many things by the time that they reach secondary school about ‘how babies are made’, so it’s up to parents and guardians to educate the younger generation with the correct information.

The sex experts at www.Ricky.com understand how daunting these conversations can be and have detailed five ways in which you talk to your children about sex and answer their questions, below.

What do they know already?

A great way to start these types of conversations is by working out what your children already believe or have been told. Doing this will allow you to understand their prior knowledge before you go into any details. You can correct them if their knowledge is wrong, or, if their knowledge is right, you can start to elaborate on the information they already know.

Be open and honest  

Children, especially when in secondary school, will hear many different stories about sex and relationships, from friends and classmates alike, and not all of these stories will be true or educational. To ensure that your children aren’t getting any wrong information, it’s important that when you decide to talk to them about this topic that you are as honest and open as you can be. Being open and honest prevents any further confusion for them and teaches them the appropriate terminology.

Intimacy and Affection

If you aren’t ready to have ‘the birds and bees’ conversation with your child, then you can always ease in to by explaining the difference between intimacy and sex, as it’s so important to understand the difference. Kissing, hugging, hand holding, and tone of voice can all be seen as expressions of love, they don’t have to be seen as sexual at all. Depending on the age of your child, it might be worth starting off with conversations about intimacy and affection, rather than sexual intercourse.

Watch an educational show

Once again, depending on the age of your child, it may be worth finding TV shows and/or films that could aid your conversations. In today’s world, there are many programmes on both TV and streaming sites such as Netflix, such as Netflix’s ‘Sex Education’, or others such as ‘Sex Life’ and ‘Bonding’ that are available for you or your children, if age appropriate, to watch. This can be an easier route than initiating a conversation at first.

Consent and respect

Knowing and understanding about safe sex is equally as important as enjoying it. Although you can find different ways of talking to children about sex, its essential that they understand the concepts around consent and respect. One great way to do this is to display consensual and respectful relationships to your children, whether that’s showing the relationship between you and your partner or even close friends, children will benefit from seeing healthy, consensual, and respectful relationships.

Tracey Coates, Sexual Wellness Expert at www.ricky.com, commented: “We fully understand how difficult it can be to have these types of conversations with your children but, as long as you tailor your words based on your child’s age and maturity then you may find that it is a successful conversation, after all, as a parent, you know what your child best responds to. Encouraging your child to talk openly to you about topics related to sex education can make it more relaxed and create a trusting environment for all involved.”