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Expert advice on talking to your kids about sex and sexuality

GTU Featured Guest

Kristin Marie Bennion, LCSW, CST, a Licensed Mental Health & Relationship Therapist, shares her advice on building the foundation for a vibrant, meaningful and connected life, which includes healthy relationships with self, body and others. 

When it comes to having the sex talk with your kids, Kristin gives advice for each age.

Begin teaching about:

  • Consent and respect for body and others body
  • Privacy correct anatomical terms/body parts
  • Bodies
  • Use accurate language

This teaching prevents against sexual assault and helps teach them how to advocate for themselves

Kristin says we tend to project our adult thinking into kiddos. Often they ask questions that are so much more simple, and often not “sexual” the way we hear them.

The ‘talk’- they know what sex is, now what? How to have the conversation with your teenager about protection, STD’s etc.

It’s about having *talks*, not “the talk”. Talk and keep talking. From the get-go, talk about relationships, bodies, respect, communication, and values.

Whether you are or aren’t talking about sexuality, you are educating them. What messages are you wanting to send?

Most teenagers have had quite a bit of information about what they shouldn’t do, most haven’t had any discussions about how to actually migrate sexual experiences, set and respect boundaries, etc.

Get rid of the fear that talking about it is the same as giving permission or encouraging. If you don’t talk to them about it, someone else or the internet/media will.

Things to think about

  • We are laying the groundwork for a vibrant life, which includes vibrant sexuality
  • Whether or not you think you are “educating” your kiddos, you are – from day one.
  • There is and should be a difference between values and information

Values are the *why* we would want to act a certain way. They are aspirational, what we are aiming for.

You do not have to change or sacrifice your, beliefs, but it can be helpful to find different/more effective ways of talking about your values, while still being able to discuss or provide accurate information

Look for ways you can inform and talk about values in day-to-day activities, i.e. reaction to a scene in a movie, overhearing something at the next table, something in the news, etc. Include asking them questions like, “what do you think about that?” or “what does that mean to you when you see that?”

Steer clear of words like “good/bad.” If you find you are tempted to say, “that is bad,” challenge yourself to be more specific. Ex. “That seems unsafe to me because…” or “he seems to have disregarded her feelings in that scene. That isn’t very respectful.”

Become aware of your own discomfort!! Practice talking about sexuality topics often and find language that works best for you.

Reinforce that no matter what, their worth, worthiness for love and belonging, has nothing to do with their sexuality.

Kristin Marie Bennion, LCSW, CST

Licensed Mental Health & Relationship Therapist

AASECT Certified Sex Therapist

Website: www.kristinmariecst.com

Counseling: www.intimateconnectionscounseling.com

Social Media: Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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