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The Birds & The Bees: Why This Should Be a Regular Conversation In Our Homes


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Have you had “The Talk” with your children? Are you afraid they are too young to hear it? Or that it might pique their interest and lead them down a wrong path? Is it just too uncomfortable for you to address sexuality with your kids? Perhaps you simply don’t feel confident in your ability to do so. Well, if any of these worries resonate with you, you are not alone. “Our discomfort is the biggest barrier to getting this knowledge to children” says Dr. Asma J. Chattha of the Mayo Clinic Children’s Center. She continues “Waiting until puberty is the easiest way to have the sexual conversation. But with today’s challenges, if you wait until, say, menstruation to have this discussion with your daughter, in most cases, this is too late because the internet, school and peers will collectively have introduced information in a sequence that may not match your family values” (Johnstone, 2022).


In September of 2015, the Journal of Sex Research published a qualitative study that was developed to understand youth pornography use. The researchers sampled 16- to 18-year-old urban, low-income youth of color in the United States. It was found that “(a) youth had seen a wide range of subgenres of pornography; (b) that youth had easy, free access to online pornography both at home and in school; (c) that youth watched pornography for several reasons, but almost every participant reported learning how to have sex by watching pornography; (d) pressure to make or to imitate pornography may be an element of some unhealthy dating relationships; and (e) parents of youth in this sample were generally described as unsupportive of youth’s use of pornography but also underequipped to discuss it with them” (Rothman et al.).


While it is natural for parents to expect that their children will approach them when they have questions about sex or pornography, it is also natural for children to expect their parents to approach them with this important topic. If you only had “The Talk” with your parents once, or never at all, be the one to break the cycle for the wellbeing of your children! With pornography being so readily available to our children and youth, it is crucial that we not only talk about ‘The Birds & The Bees’ once, but that we talk with them often, and with clarity about sex and pornography (Flores & Barroso, 2017).

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We hope you find these resources helpful in your preparation to have frequent and meaningful sex conversations with your children.

· Good Pictures Bad Pictures, by Kristen A. Jenson





References:

Flores, D., & Barroso, J. (2017) 21st Century Parent–Child Sex Communication in the United States: A Process Review. The Journal of Sex Research, 54:4-5, 532-548, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2016.1267693

Johnstone, N. (2022, September 30). When to start talking about sexual health with your child: Earlier than you think.Mayo Clinic. https://mcpress.mayoclinic.org/parenting/when-to-start-talking-about-sexual-health-with-your-child-earlier-than-you-think/

Rothman, E. F., Kaczmarsky, C., Burke, N., Jansen, E., & Baughman, A. (n.d.). “Without porn... I wouldn’t know half the things I know now”: A qualitative study of pornography use among a sample of urban, low-income, black and Hispanic youth. Truth About Porn. https://truthaboutporn.org/study/without-porn-i-wouldnt-know-half-the-things-i-know-now-a-qualitative-study-of-pornography-use-among-a-sample-of-urban-low-income-black-and-hispanic-youth/


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