Moms in Babeland

Q: When (if ever) should I show my child a photograph of an aroused adult, or of adults having sex?

Amy Lang, MA answers the Moms in Babeland’s questions about talking to kids about sex. She appears as part of our celebration of National Family Sex Education Month.

Q: When (if ever) should I show my child a photograph of an aroused adult, or of adults having sex? Are line drawings ok? Or is it better to leave it to their imagination?

Amy:  I believe kids need to see non-sexualized images of people’s bodies. They are so curious and it’s really fun to look at pictures of different bodies. Make sure they have books they can look at, especially if you are a non-naked family.

As for your question, I think that it’s okay for kids to see pictures of erect penises, vulvas, vaginas, etc, in a more medical context, rather than a sexualized context. I’ve had plenty of moms tell me they were shocked when they saw their first erect penis. Not a great way to get the sex life started — in shock!

I don’t think it’s appropriate to show kids pictures of people having sex. It’s so hard to differentiate between “art” and pornography, the risk isn’t worth it. The last thing you want to do is traumatize your own child in the interest of “education.

And it is considered sexual abuse to show a child porn.

Sometimes children will have a really hard time understanding just how that penis gets in there. In this case, a simple line drawing showing how it generally works, should do the trick.

Have an anecdote or a comment about talking to your kids about sex? You can win prizes by posting comments on Moms in Babeland during October. Details.

Amy Lang, MA Guest Blogger
A sexual health educator for over 20 years, Amy Lang teaches parents and other folks how to talk to kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She is the author of the Mom’s Choice Award®  winning Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships and The Ask ANYTHING Journal. She created the lively and engaging video Birds + Bees + Kids: The Basics so parents can learn how to talk to their kids about sex and values without leaving the couch! Sign up for her newsletter and teleclasses at www.BirdsAndBeesAndKids.com

Related posts:

  1. Q: The kids hear so much in school the negative side effects of sex. Do you have any tips on how to offer a more pleasure-positive counterpoint?
  2. Q: How should I handle my niece’s sex questions and my sister’s need (or right) to know?
  3. Q: I don’t want to make heterosexual intercourse the definition of “sex.” To me oral, anal, hand jobs, same gender sex: it’s all equally part of the deal. So how do I present it that way?
  4. Q: Both my girls get all grossed out when I try to use sex terms. How can I help them get more comfortable with the subject?
  5. Q: How do I talk to my 5-year-old about masturbation?

topics: Parenting


One Response to “Q: When (if ever) should I show my child a photograph of an aroused adult, or of adults having sex?”

  1. Conrad says:

    “The last thing you want to do is traumatize your own child in the interest of “education.””

    Showing children porn, without explain to them what it is, isn’t traumatic. They don’t understand what is going on. I good example of experience being necessary to understand something to it’s fullest is Looney Tunes. Looney Tunes is twisted, full of sex jokes, racism, hate crimes, etc… but we only get it as adults. As kids we see animals doing funny things.

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