How would you answer this mom’s question about teaching healthy sexual attitudes? We’ll call her Aubrey:

“Simply put, I don’t even really like sex. So it’s easy for me to talk about the bad things like pornography, but it’s hard for me to talk about sex as a good thing. For me that’s practically a fairy tale. I don’t want to mess my kids up though.”

Worried mom thinking how to teach healthy sexual attitudes

Aubrey’s dilemma is not uncommon. She related to us that she had very little information given to her about sex as a child or teen. Only that it was bad and shameful before marriage, but supposedly totally fine after marriage.

The problem is, it didn’t end up fine at all. In fact, her marriage relationship has been severely complicated by her husband’s addiction to pornography.

So how does this mom teach her own children a healthy and positive view of sex?

How my mom taught me about sex

Let me first say that most people, whether they enjoy sex or not, have difficulty talking about it with their kids. Here’s how my mom explained it.

When I was 12, I finally got curious enough to ask my mom, “How are babies made?” She got this crazy fearful look on her face and replied, “Ask me in another week and I’ll explain it to you.”

So I waited a week and asked her again. Once more, she got that look of agony on her face.

Then she took me into a bedroom and pointed to an electrical outlet (I know, crazy!!). I’m sure she explained something about a seed from the man and an egg from a mom getting together. When I asked the next obvious question —how?, she said, “It’s like a plug and an outlet. A man’s part plugs into a woman’s part.”

“So every time you want a baby, you just plug in?” I asked.

“No! Of course not!” she replied. And that was the end of that conversation.

5 tips for parents who want to teach healthy sexual attitudes

Let’s go with the attitude that each generation tries to improve on the last. But If you don’t enjoy sex, then it’s definitely an extra challenge to teach healthy sexual attitudes. Here are my suggestions for Aubrey and any other parent who shares her dilemma:

  1. Give yourself a pat on the back for wanting to set your kids up for a better experience with sex than you’re enjoying yourself. I admire parents who want something better for their kids and are willing to make sacrifices to achieve that.
  2. It’s OK to teach the ideal even when you’re not experiencing it yourself. We should all probably eat more fresh fruits and veggies, but that doesn’t keep us from teaching our kids about the importance of good nutrition.
  3. Work on your own wellness.  You might consider if counseling would help you address and resolve some of your trauma. That might make it easier to talk to your kids about an ideal healthy sexual relationship.
  4. Don’t make sex a forbidden topic. Research shows that talking with children about healthy sexuality helps them develop healthy attitudes and behaviors. Talking with them in confident and positive ways makes you the expert in their lives and they are much more likely to come to you with questions.
  5. Pornography is best understood as the counterfeit to healthy sexuality. Staying away from pornography makes a lot more sense to kids when they have an understanding of what sex is supposed to be or could be.

Share your concerns with parents that care

I’ve given my advice, but what thoughts do you have that would help kids develop healthy sexual attitudes? Perhaps you’ve had a parenting success we could all benefit from hearing. Did you know that we’ve created a safe place for parents to share stories, tips and ideas with one another?

It’s called the Protect Young Minds Parent Discussion Group! It’s simple to use and a great way to connect with like-minded parents (we all care about the health impact of pornography on kids!). Even if you feel timid about speaking up you can still participate. We’ve made it easy for you to submit questions or advice anonymously! Find us on Facebook.

And be sure to read 7 things your seven-year-old should know about love and sex

FREE Bonus gift

Do you want to start talking with your kids, but just don’t know how to get this conversation going? Don’t worry! With some help from our allies, we’ve compiled a FREE cheat sheet for you. Whether it’s helping kids reject pornography or teaching them how to develop healthy sexual attitudes, Talk to Today Safer Tomorrow: 10 easy conversation starters is an excellent resource for every parent. Click on the box below and download it free today!

Kristen Jenson
Kristen A. Jenson is the founder of Protect Young Minds and author of Good Pictures Bad Pictures: Porn-Proofing Today's Young Kids. Kristen enjoys speaking, writing and anything else that will help empower kids to reject pornography. Kristen earned a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, and a master’s degree in Organizational Communication. Kristen currently lives with her husband in Washington State, where she enjoys growing a vegetable garden, watching Masterpiece Theater, and taking long walks with friends who tolerate her incessant talking about you know what. Above all else, her husband and three children are her greatest treasures.
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