Teaching Your Children About SexualityResearched and written by Vicki Meade

Patient education pamphlet published by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. January 1995, Washington, DC


As a parent you can help your children feel good about themselves and teach them how to relate to others. Part of being a parent is teaching your children about sex and sexuality.

Many parents feel uneasy talking about sexuality with their child. They wonder what type of information is right for the child’s age. They may wonder how to bring up the subject or answer all the child’s questions. A good rule of thumb is to give children information about 2 years before you think they need it. If you talk about things you judge them to be ready for today, there’s a good chance they’ve already passed that stage, or will pass it soon.

Most parents just need help getting started. Talking about sex for the first time may be the toughest part. After you’ve talked about sexual issues with your child once, you’re likely to find the next time easier.

There are no strict rules for teaching your child about sexuality. Each family and each child are different. This pamphlet offers tips that may help prepare you to meet their needs. The terms sex and sexuality are used here to relate to the broad topic of sexual issues, not just sexual intercourse.