Sex and the Pre-teen

In this motherhood journey I’m often caught between a rock and a hard place. I’m balancing what I should share with Munch and when. It’s a juggling act. Do I want to take away his innocence early or wait until later? I’m rambling about…the sex talk. I’m wondering, when is the appropriate age to talk about sex with your children?

I have a boy and for all intents and purposes he’s still pretty innocent. He turns off songs with bad words in them or inappropriate subjects. He still watches Disney Jr. and Nick Kids. He just recently started watching The Thundermans on Nickelodeon about a superhero family. I’m wondering if broaching sex now will change him somehow.

My mother never talked about sex with me. I learned at school in the sixth grade with all the other children. Not that I was thinking about sex or anything, but I had started my cycle before then so I had no idea what was happening to me. It was as though the sex talk was somehow taboo.

Children are growing up faster now than when I was a child and I don’t want Munch learning something from the kids at school or in the streets. I want to give him all the information to make informed decisions. I want to teach him how to love and cherish his body and to not treat sex as a rites of passage. It’s your body that is a temple that we should use to honor God.

But, I don’t want to be naïve and think that he may never do it, so I struggle with how much to tell him and when?

My best friend has a son one year older than mine and I asked her had she talked to him about sex? She said no. He’s not mentally ready yet. So, I’m wondering do we wait until our children are mentally ready to have the sex conversation or do we overload them with information now in hopes that they will choose to not engage in sexual activity until marriage?

Yes, Munch knows about his body and boundaries. I’ve made sure that he calls his genitalia by the proper terminology. I’ve explained that a doctor can only examine you with mommy and/or daddy in the room. He is now getting shy and embarrassed when a doctor has to examine his penis during his annual visits. However, is it too soon to have the sex talk?

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40 Replies to “Sex and the Pre-teen”

  1. We had the conversations when they were being discussed at school so in year 5 here when kids are 10. But there’s no need to go graphic. The essentials that they need to know, and because the world is like it is, the safety is so important too. Kids are more aware of stuff as it is more out there for them to encounter.
    At primary school I could control pretty much everything my son saw, listened to or watched. At secondary, he sees and hears so much I don’t like, so having the conversations openly before hand makes them to right from wrong and that it’s not taboo to talk about sex and feelings to us. Xx

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  2. I know all kids are different, but we started the talk with our boys when they were about 8. And not just the sex conversation, but also about peer pressure, bullying, drugs, etc. We were of the mindset that I’d rather them hear it from us than their buddies. We are blunt, but put things in terms they could understand. We used the actual words, penis instead of winking, or whatever. The way I look at it, and we’ve explained this to them, is that they have the capability, even at just 13, to conceive a child. They’ve been taught the importance of birth control. Knowledge is power, and while I’d love to be a grandparent, I don’t want to be one yet. I say you should have the talk sooner than later. 😊

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  3. Oh, man! My boy is 7 and I walked in on him playing with himself. Nope, definitely not too early to talk about some of these things. If I were honest, I was exploring under clothing about 5th grade. I will also say that *some* boys seem to just want to put that thing anywhere it may -or may not- fit. I can hardly imagine anything worse than going to the doctor with a foreign object hopelessly lodged, whether you’re the patient or the parent!

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    1. Lol. I would die of embarrassment, but I think he’s actually still pretty innocent because he leaves the door open and people keep telling me to look at your child’s a psychological and emotional well-being first to determine how much you should tell them

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  4. I’m not a mom yet but I have parented some kids through fostering and being an aunt. I suggest starting with what he knows. Ask him what he knows about sex, how babies are made, etc. I wouldn’t completely unload it ALL at once, but keep the dialogue open.
    Things get crazy in middle school, so I’d start before then.

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  5. I did basic sex ed in school from elementary, and then had entire classes dedicated to that from 7th grade all the way to 11th grade. It was called Christian Family Life, I suppose so as not to really alert more conservative parents who believed we shouldn’t be taught. The irony in this? I went to Catholic school!

    By the time my mom worked up the nerve to have the sex talk with me I was bored. I told her I already know all this. She said oh you think you grown? How you know! I went for my textbook and showed it to her. That made things sooooo much easier thereafter haha. The only other time we had a sex talk was in college when I told her I was on birth control. That was about it.

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    1. Did you feel like she should’ve talked about it with you as opposed to letting the school or society educate you? I definitely think it was shame with my mother because most people didn’t talk to their children about sex.

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      1. I knew nothing at 9 so I didn’t really feel anything. Her own mother simply took her to a film that “explained” things. Basically, with no “talk”, it reinforced the discomfort that I was not/could not raise the issue.

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  6. My mother said nothing to me about sex so I’ve made it a point to speak to my daughter about it. I started when she was 9 years old. I started with the basics then explained more when she was 10 and even more now that she is 11. I just don’t want her to learn from her friends like I did.

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  7. Be honest with him and give him the information from a biological, psychological and emotional perspective. What you do with your body can impact not only yourself but others too. I think some kids are ill informed at home because of a shame factor. Best wishes on your talks with him.

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  8. Reading this and it reminds me of how much I’m dreading this stage in my kid’s life. They’re not at the age to have the talk yet but it just overwhelms me sometimes when I think about it. I want to speak to them before they found out in school they way I did but I don’t know what’s a good age to start at….

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  9. I spoke to both of my girls when they were nine. I chose nine on purpose because I began my cycle when I was ten and so I knew they both would (and they did) at the same age, so I wanted them to understand. I began with a book about their pre-teen bodies. Every year after that, I took them both to lunch separately to discuss any issues about sex, boys, their bodies, etc. The youngest one didn’t want to have that conversation, but I did it anyway. I think it’s too late to wait until school teaches the subject, the same way it’s a parent’s responsibility to teach their child the alphabet before school. Best of luck as you move forward with this.

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    1. Thank you I know you have to start earlier when you have girls and I know this is the year I think he takes sex Ed so I really wanted to have a conversation with him advance we started over the weekend talking about stuff trans gender, sexuality which was weird but when we went to go get eyeglasses there was a woman who was dressed like a man who her whole identity look like a man and I said munch wait a minute when she finishes with us you can go play your game and he was like who is she and he kept saying it and I kept trying to ignore him but he kept asking who is she and I had to instruct him to be quiet and I felt bad but I had to explain to him what happened when we left we’re continuing our discussions this week

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  10. I’ve been talking to Zeke about sex since 1st grade. Little bits here and there mostly about respecting himself and other people. So when he found out how the deed was actually done around 3rd grade, he thought it was icky but went on his merry way. I want to be the best source of information for my son. I answer weird questions about what the songs mean and explain the difference between lust and love. He eyerolls a lot, but he trusts me to tell him the truth. So as a therapist working with this age group and a mom, talk early about consent, respect, sex is important, ask me ANY question, what our family thinks about when & how, what other people will tell you, and why we believe you should treat the subject with respect.

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  11. I spent 16 years working for my local hospital as a Heath Education Coordinator with a primary focus on school health. I also have a 12 year old daughter that is in 6th grade and I’ve coached cheerleading for 12 years. Now that you know my life story, I would speak openly and age-appropriately to your son.

    The reason I mentioned my work history is because I spent all those years talking to middle school students about risky behaviors – drugs, alcohol, vaping, sex, and sexting. Kids…and I mean even elementary kids are exposed to so much. I live in small, rather conservative community and I was often blown away by what kids knew. Last year in 5th grade my daughter sat at a lunch table listening to her peers “define” sex. Like what?!?! And they weren’t talking in modest, polite terms. Whether we know it or not, our kids are exposed to it by their peers and the media.

    I would suggest opening up a discussion, talking about Healthy Relationships, the “right” age for dating, respect, boundaries, and I would explain your thoughts, values, and expectations about sex. When I told my daughter, around age 10, she was mortified and grossed out, but…it allowed ME (not her peers or some other source) to explain it. I talked about sex, marriage, babies…the whole thing and what the Bible states.

    The sooner the better, in my opinion. I saw far tooooo many 7th and 8th grade girls pregnant. So sad.

    We had our talk in the car, less awkward for us. And I bought age-appropriate books for her to read as well, everything from puberty to dating.

    Hope this helps.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It does help thank you so much for your encouragement we’re actually flying out this weekend to go home to Tennessee so I’m going to have the conversation with them in the car on the plane at the airport just casually

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  12. i’m 15 and for me i didn’t even have the talk. i was told about my period at around 8 and got it only a couple weeks after that talk! i learned im 5th grade from my friends when they were talking about how their parents talked to them about sex. i told my parents i knew in the end of 6th grade and that i really didn’t need the talk. for me, i wish my parents told me rather than friends. don’t tell him everything, but as he gets older, it’s important for him to know a little. i was told about porn in 6th grade and that totally shocked me, so that talk is also important when he gets a little older. good luck!

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  13. I’ll be real, neither my husband or me have had a sex talk with our 13-year-old. We aren’t dummies. We know they had this class at school and he has all his friends who obviously talk. I don’t know how to have that talk. I wrote a post about it. Here is how my talk went with my mother:
    Mom: You know about the birds and the bees, right?
    Me: Yeah.
    Mom: Ok.
    That was it. Case closed. During our summer vacation, another mom, Parker and I were binge watching a YouTuber that mentioned ejaculation.
    Parker: What’s ejaculation?
    Me: What’s ejaculation? Oh wow. That’s a medical term, ask N (my friend). She’s a nurse.
    N: Me? Why Me?
    Then she proceeds to tell him in the most medical of terms. Obviously I owe her 50 solids.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. My mom never had the sex talk with me either. I learned about it in school and even then there were lots of questions swirling around in my head that the teacher was uncomfortable discussing. keeping in mind that I do come from a country that’s very religious and thought it’s prevalent, sex outside of marriage is condemned. I really do feel for teachers who have to teach naive kids about sex, I could see her discomfort in some of the questions I was asking. But what I didn’t learn in school I learned from friends and reading books. I didn’t get a chance to have the talk with my daughters, due to the high rate of teen pregnancies back home, it’s taught pretty early. So I was late out of the gates on that one but I did, however, add to what was thought in school by telling them to value themselves more than the experience. My daughters were 12 and 8 at the time.

    Each child is different and only you can decide when it’s ready for your child. I would though do it before or during the time it’s being taught at his school. Good luck!

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