Most parents avoid educating their children about sex because they view sex as adult and explicit – not something they want to expose their innocent children to. In addition, current societal views often surround sex with feelings of guilt and shame, which make it a difficult topic for parents to bring up with their children. Here is a closer look into why parents avoid educating their children about sex.
Though sex is a natural human function – indeed, a natural function for all living species – there is still the view that since sex is adult, it should not be shared with children. In some ways, this does make sense. Though children are not sexually mature beings, they do learn by role playing and exploration. Because of this, adults may be afraid to talk to their children about sex because they fear the child may use the information to explore in sexual ways – something that many adults would find perverse.
A second aspect of this issue is the connection that some make with “adult” to “profane.” Because sex is an adult act, there are those who consider it vulgar and profane, even though it is a natural act. The connections to profanity, however, will prevent some adults from broaching the topic with their children.
Though the concerns of this issue is valid and understandable, it is not enough to avoid teaching children about sex altogether. By denying them information of this adult act, they will have no information to go on if they ever encounter a situation of sexual abuse. Instead of withholding information, parents should talk with children openly and honestly about sex, explaining that it is something for adults and that they should tell someone right away if anyone tries to involve them in a sexual act.
The second issue many adults have actually comes from the Puritan roots that are still evident in our modern society. Namely, the views that sex and lust are something to feel guilty and ashamed of. If parents feel embarrassed about sex or having sex, it makes sense that they will avoid the topic with their children. By being embarrassed about the issue, there is the chance that parents will pass on these feelings of sexual shame to their children. It’s much better to try to be as open and honest with children as possible so that they feel comfortable coming to parents with questions or concerns.
The important thing to remember when deciding to educate your child about sex is that a child will read your nonverbal cues. If you approach the subject as though sex is something vulgar or something to be ashamed of, your children will pick up on those feelings. If you approach the subject openly and invite questions or concerns, your children will likely see the topic for what it is – a natural part of human life.