The dreaded “S” word that so many moms (and dads) fear when it’s in the same sentence with “your daughter!”
Although this could have also been titled, “How to get your daughter comfortable with her body.”
What do I say?
When do I start?
How young is too young?
How can I speak to her on an age-appropriate level?It’s no surprise, because most women have grown up without ever hearing one word from your parents about sex, intimacy, or even menstruation! Quite frankly, I’m not sure WHY I feel so comfortable discussing these issues that so many fear.
Maybe it’s from all of the years I counseled teen girls and boys.
Maybe it’s because I’m comfortable with my own sexuality and body (after a tremendous amount of healing). Below, I’m speaking strictly of “heterosexual sex” talks with girls…not because I don’t accept other forms of sexual intimacy, rather, this is the main conversation I’ve had with many and seems to be what most moms want to know.
Here are just a few VERY simple tips to help you navigate these tough conversations with your daughter:
1. Teach your daughter body boundaries from a very young age.
When you play with your daughter, if she asks you to stop, then stop. If you tickle your daughter, when she asks you to stop, then stop.
This lets her know that SHE is in control of her own body.
Also, let her know that it’s perfectly OK for her to touch her own vulva, breasts, and butt, but it is NOT ok for others to do this. Again, you’re teaching her that she has nothing to be ashamed of AND she’s in charge of her body.
2. Let her explore her own body without feeling shaming.
When my kids were in 5-point harness car seats (one still is), they would…ahem…have their way with themselves on our car rides.
To them, they were simply experiencing pleasure.
I made their experiences feel natural and normal…because it IS completely acceptable for humans to experience pleasure without feeling shame.
3. Teach your daughters about puberty from the get-go.
Discuss puberty with your girls from a very young age.
I started this convo when my kids were two or three.
My girls have always known that they are going to grow breasts one day like mama, bleed like mama, have hair on their bodies, etc…
The sooner you start these conversations, the less traumatized they will feel once their bodies begin to change and menstruation kicks in.
4. If your kids are preteens or teens, then they already know!
Start the conversations with them!
Many parents aren’t sure HOW to start these conversations with their teens.
She is already learning about sex from her friends and the info is most likely inaccurate!
Just start! These don’t have to be “the birds and the bees” talks. They can be short and sweet.
Look for moments to initiate conversation. Observe her. Listen to her. Be open-minded and do not judge her.
One of my children learned about sex at a VERY young age (from a 6 year old).
I thought I had until age 10 or so before I had to have the “sex” talk.
Nope. I had it at 7. When I talked to her at that time, I freaked out in my head and I sucked.
Thankfully, I got a do-over!!
The second time around, I was very matter of fact.
I told her that it is natural and usually between two people who love one another.
I told her about the sperm and egg meeting and a baby being formed.
As she got older, she had more questions…questions about how homosexual couples had babies, so I told her.
Questions about HOW the sperm and egg met, so I said, “The penis goes inside of the vagina and the sperm and egg meet.”
I answered ALL of the questions that I felt were appropriate to answer at her age.
When I felt like what she was asking was beyond her years, I told her I’d answer her when she was older.
This year, my oldest daughter started middle school.
This summer I had several conversations with her about drugs, alcohol, and sex. She was mortified and asked that we never have these conversations, again.
After I told her there was no chance of this happening, I said, “Would you rather have a mom who didn’t educate you about these things, or one you feel overshares?”
She chose the latter.
Although I hope she chooses to wait until she is out of high school to have sex (yes, I said high school. Kids are having sex earlier and earlier these days), I let her know that many teens do have sex.
We continued to talk about what respecting her own body looks like, I invited her to do what feels right to her, and how to navigate these issues when they arise with her friends.
Of course, she was totally disgusted!
She hasn’t started dating yet, but at some point soon, we will also talk about pleasure.
This may feel edgy to you, but it is important for your daughter to understand that sexual intimacy isn’t something you do FOR boys.
Especially with girls today being quick to give blow jobs and have anal sex in the school bathrooms (it’s really happening, folks).
WE get to feel pleasure as well.
It is important for all of us to access pleasure through the senses in our own lives…why not teach that to our girls, now?
5. Call the vulva, a vulva and a penis, a penis.
(I know people say vagina, but the vulva is actually what we are referring to)
By calling our private body parts by name, we take the shame out of having them in the first place.
The vulva truly IS just another body part.
Media and the porn industry have made these body parts feel taboo or “shameful.” It’s time to accept all parts of ourselves and allow our daughters to do the same.
BONUS: Your daughter will also know what a vulva is and that the vagina is actually inside of her body! 😉
6. If this information triggers you or you feel lost, scared, or overwhelmed…then…
Get professional help!
The only reason we get triggered is because our own emotional baggage, childhood issues, or unresolved trauma gets in the way.
If you do not heal on a deeper level, then it will be hard to help your daughter navigate these tricky waters.
Healing is not a once and done process.
What you THINK has been resolved, has a way of creeping up again as you get older.
That simply means it is is time to unravel the next layer and go a bit deeper than you went before.
Also, keep in mind that your triggers may also correlate with your daughter’s age and what you experienced at that particular age.
For example, if you were raped or violated in college, a lot of your “stuff” may come up as she gets closer to this age.
I know this is a lot of info, but I felt inspired to share!
Don’t hesitate don’t to reach out for support!