• Leah Jewett

8 quick sex ed questions + 8 Outspoken tips

Updated: Jan 28

Take 10 minutes on 2 February – International Sex Education Day! – to talk with your child about a sex and relationships topic. Uncharted territory maybe, but a great first step!


Here are 8 quick International Sex Ed Day questions and Outspoken tips to get you going…




Use teachable moments! Hearing a song, watching TV, passing a billboard, hearing a comment from your child about someone: they’re all springboards for conversation. Try a podcast or article as an alibi: “I just read/heard…” Reflect back: “Remember when you said X? I’ve been meaning to say Y…” What about: “It’s International Sex Education Day! For a few minutes only, I want to tell you one thing about sex and relationships that I think is important…”



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Make a point of not making any negative comments about your own body. But definitely do comment on the good things that you feel about your body and the great things it has done and can do. Be active – and go out and get moving with your child. Be positive about the upsides of girls being active. Counter comments about looks with remarks about abilities. Follow, and encourage your child to follow, a diverse range of people on social media



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Sexting – aka sending nudes – can mean written messages, images, videos or livestreaming. Ask your child what they know or have heard about sexting. You can ask: has this happened to people at school, to a friend, to them? What would they do if they received a dick pic? Why do people forward nudes? What are the dynamics and moral dilemmas of getting, or sending, a nude? Explain that safe sexting doesn’t exist – once a sexual image is out there it can land on various platforms and is pretty much beyond our control



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Picture books: My Daddies!; Made By Raffi; the classics Mommy, Mamma and Me; I Am Jazz; Julian Is A Mermaid; And Tango Makes Three. Graphic novels: Fun Home (by Alison Bechdel of Bechdel film-test fame), Spinning by Tillie Walden and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. For ages 7-12: the Penguin bios of Alan Turing and Freddie Mercury. I’ll Give You The Sun and David Levithan books are said to be good. Love Frankie has Jacqueline Wilson’s first gay protagonist



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Even during non-pandemic times, it’s tricky for kids (for us all!) to juggle time online versus non-screen downtime with friends, family, relationships. Our digital-native kids have to weigh up messaging, gaming with and talking online to the people in their lives against seeing them in real life, getting out and exercising. Check in with your child about how they feel about different relationships, and if they know what works for them to maintain good mental health



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With young kids: say that if they see something online that upsets them, like naked adults touching each other, to close the device and come talk to you. With preteens: ask what they know about porn, and explain that it’s staged, heavily edited and often violent and that it doesn’t show things like condoms, consent and intimacy. With teens: talk neuroscience, how it can feel addictive to click on image after image and how porn can influence desire pathways and create unrealistic expectations about sex and bodies



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Defy the pink/blue divide – go for other colours. Question our culture: can’t girls play with trucks and be engineers and boys play with dolls and be nurses or teachers? Discuss with your child why and how kids are conditioned, even from the age of 2, to categorise things as female or male. Call out stereotypes in TV shows, films, ads, clothes, toys, books. Accept your child as they are and however they want to express themselves with their clothes, actions and activities



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Think about your past experiences and current values about love, intimacy, sex, relationships. Use correct terms for body parts. Use LGBT+ inclusive language and talk about different kinds of families and identities. Try using “they” instead of “she” or “he”. Let your kids know that it’s natural to be curious about sex-ed topics. Talk about consent. Even if it’s awkward, be matter of fact, and open – if you become more comfortable, your child will become more confident too…







Thanks Sex Education Alliance founder Kim Cook for the