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Talk Sex With Your Children Before it's Too Late
In the already infamous “condom episode” of “South Park,” the town decides that sex education is desperately needed in the schools after a number of the kids are caught innocently “milking” male dogs. As with most “South Park” episodes, much raunchy humor follows. And also as with most “South Park” episodes, there's a final “moral” that ends up being both serious and legitimate—in this case the point that sex education needs to be taught not in the schools (or at least not primarily in the schools) but at home. Which is, of course, easier said than done.
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In fact, talking to our children about S-E-X is one of the most difficult talks that many parents will face. That tiny, 3-letter word seems to hold a spell over us and by uttering it to a child we think we are going to hell. Some parents are afraid that if they discuss sex with their child, Child Protective Services will soon be knocking at their door. They think that if they talk sex they are going to be accused of pedophilia or being weird. Others feel that if they teach their child about sex and birth control they are advocating promiscuity. Some of us are so damn uptight that we just hope that the schools will do a good job of teaching sex or our kids will see other kids getting pregnant or an STD and decide on their own to wait. A wise, responsible parent will equip their child with the knowledge that will help and protect the child should they become sexually active. Each year roughly two million children are born to unmarried parents in the United States alone. If you don't want your child to be one of these parents or you are not ready to be one of the grandparents, you better get with the program and start talking about sex. Hopefully you will start at an early age and keep right on talking even after you have the kids married off.
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When children are young we talk to them using terminology that they can understand but do not hide the obvious or the truth. If they see a couple of dogs hooking up you explain that the dogs are making babies. We can read toddlers and small children books that are written at their level. When you see your children touching themselves you need to let them know that it is okay to touch it but to do so someplace private. And you want to make sure that a small child understands that their “private area” is not to be touched by others and that if someone tries to or does, they need to tell you right away and that you will not be mad at them.
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During all sex talks turn off the television, radio and cell phone. Turn on the telephone answering machine and select a time when you are less likely to be disturbed by someone coming to the door. Make the talks special and, if you have more than one kid, don't try to save time by having them all at once. While it is okay for older children to be in on the conversation with the younger children, the opposite is not advised. When a 13-year-old boy sees that his 10-year-old sister is getting hairy armpits and the only hair he has is on his head, he feels that something horrible must be wrong. So have two separate talks. Reassure your son he's not a monster, and tell your daughter about menstruation so that when she experiences that first flow she won't think she's bleeding to death. I would suggest purchasing a good book on puberty and not just give it to them but also first read it yourself and then together and answer any questions they may have. Books like this can be found in bookstores or at educational websites like Ask Uncle Terry.
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By the age of 13 you should be talking about birth control and masturbation. Let your child know that masturbation is something most all of us practice and it is normal. Tell him about precum and semen so that the first time your son has an orgasm he will not think that he broke something. Put lotion and tissue in your son's room for those runny noses and to keep his hands soft. This will not embarrass him and it will help you with the cleanup. But there are other times, of course, when a topic has to be addressed directly. When these times come up you can't be afraid to explore the topic candidly. Remember you are the parent, so be strong and stay the course and, if necessary, demand that your children do, too. Take control, be open, have a dialogue and have them tell you what they have learned from school, their friends or on their own. Answer their questions fully without sugar coating. Discuss masturbation, sexual safety, STDs and protection. Remember that diseases like AIDS and hepatitis can be deadly, making the use of condoms mandatory.
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Oral sex has become a prevalent form of sex among our children, so discuss it openly and remind them that while they will not become pregnant through oral or anal intercourse they can still get a sexually transferred disease. Answer their questions about oral sex and anything else is one way of showing that you are always there for them. Make it perfectly clear that they need to wait until adulthood before becoming sexually active, but if they do make the plunge earlier don't turn your back on them or refuse to answer questions about condoms or birth control. It may make you feel uncomfortable, but that's the price that you need to be willing to pay for knowing you are doing your best to protect your tween and teen children from raising children of their own.
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For parents that needs a little refresher course on abstinence, sex and masturbation, check out http://www.askuncleterry.com
About the Author: Terrance Lile (Uncle Terry) is not your typical writer and advisor on sexual relationships. He serves frank, down to earth, sometimes brutal advice on sex and life. He uses humor and knowledge gained through extensive reading and personal experience. He has the support of advisors from medical and mental professionals to educators and clergy and pornographers to prostitutes. Uncle Terry can be found at http://www.askuncleterry.com