As an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT couples’ therapist) I always ask my clients in the assessment session about their very first introduction to the concept of sex as children. In the majority of cases when I ask them “how did you first learn about sex?” they say not from their parents. They knew from friends, porn or magazines. It was a taboo to talk about sex in their houses with their parents.
As a marriage and family, and couples therapy provider as well as a relationship counselor, I see the negative effect of learning about sex early on in life from sources that are not credible. There are a lot of misconceptions about sex and a focus on the mechanical act of sex instead of the notion that great sex is about safety, comfort, connection and vulnerability.
Here are some tips to help you as parents talk to your kids about sex in a safe way that will help them develop healthy intimate relationships as adults in the future.
1. In my office, I see parents regularly who come in with the fear that educating their kids about sex will make them promiscuous or want to have sex. As a certified marriage and family therapist, I want to assure you that talking to your children about sex will not make them want to have sex.
2. Normalize sex to your kids and tell them it is just like eating, drinking and sleeping. Sex is just a normal part of being human.
3. When talking to your kids about sex, keep in mind the age and maturity of your child. Some five year olds are more mature than some eight year olds not because textbooks tell you that this is the information you give to kids from ages four to six it means you have to do so.
4. Name the body parts and reproduction process in scientific terms making sure to keep a calm straight face while talking about the issue with your children.
5. Make sure that you as a couple and parents agree on the common family values around sex and relationships so that the message you transfer to your kids is unified.
6. Talk to your children about personal boundaries and physical boundaries. Teach them about their private parts and the importance of covering their private parts. Also, educate them on the concept of an ok touch such as that of a Dr checking their body and a not ok touch such as that of a stranger touching their private parts.
Tell them they are in control of their body and that they have every right to say no to an uncomfortable touch even from a beloved family member.
1. Make sure to answer all questions your children ask about sex as well as giving accurate information that is age-appropriate without having to go into graphic details. Also, emphasize the fact with your children that there should be no secrets from you as parents when it comes to this issue.
2. Discuss different kinds of relationships with your kids such as marriage, divorce, single parenting, homosexuality and friendship. Also, listen to their thoughts on these relationships and share stories if possible, that would make the concept clearer in their minds.
Finally, remember that the most important conversations about sex are best done before the age of twelve years old. The purpose is to help our children grow up having a healthy relationship with their own bodies and the person they choose to be intimate with in the future.
On a final note, I am proud to state that I am the first and only ICEEFT certified EFT therapist in the United Arab Emirates and one of the leading pioneers of EFT in the Middle East region. I am also the only one fully based and practicing in the Arab world. Online counseling is really impactful so if you feel like speaking to a Marriage Counseling specialist and do couples therapy at the convenience of your home please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or WhatsApp me on 00971502369395.