If you’re at all like me, you don’t enjoy talking to kids about sex. I love talking to kids, and I love talking about sex, but the two together can get pretty awkward pretty fast.

With my little ones, this is mostly “funny” awkward. It’s my four-year-old asking every adult who sets foot in the house to read Mommy Laid an Egg to her. My one year old discovering she has genitals and wandering around the house excitedly showing them off. Having the “do not put rubber ducks in there” conversation, and the “your sister’s ‘booty’ is her private business” conversation and the “do not lift your dress over your head in public” conversation.

I’ve navigated these pretty well, I think. We have a small library of sex ed books for preschoolers. They understand the basics of growing and changing bodies. They know adults can get pregnant and have babies through some mysterious process that is outlined in all these books, but that process is much less interesting to them than the part where the mommies get fatter and fatter and fatter until a baby comes out.

With teenagers, things get harder. My stepson is 15 now, and I believe he could force the earth to open up and swallow him whole through the sheer force of his will were I to try a head-on discussion about healthy, safe sex. Happily for me, there are a lot of great resources out there to help him (and his parents) make sure he gets all the knowledge and support he needs. Hopefully without the earth swallowing anyone whole.

One of those resources is The Talk, written by my friend and health educator Jessica Mesick. Her blog explores topics that parents and teens need to know about sex and sex ed. Her approach is fun, accessible, and sane. Definitely worth checking out.

What resources have you used to talk with your kids about sex? What do you feel they need to know, and at what age should they know it?

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