My seven yr old wants to know what sex is! Heeeellllpp!

(28 Posts)
TheDreadedLurker Mon 18-Feb-13 23:14:35

So putting him to bed tonight he just comes out with,"What is sex?"
Just totally caught off guard (yes, I really should have prepped for this in advance but I'm just thinking seven is so LITTLE!!)
Initial response was to ask who had told him that word so it turns out the class know-it-all kid is telling all and sundry that it is "something dirty".
Not a great place to start from, I'm thinking!
I really would have loved to have preserved his innocence/ignorance for a couple more years :-( So what should I tell him?

TheDreadedLurker Tue 19-Feb-13 13:53:42

Thanks everyone!
Some great support here and thus I was SLIGHTLY more prepared this morning at breakfast when the question was repeated!
To try and dispel the whole "it´s a dirty thing" idea from his charming (ahem) little friend, I said:" You know when you see people kiss on TV and you say, oooo gross! ?- well it´s a bit like that, but its not gross at all, it´s a special thing grown ups do when they love each other"
He seemed very satisfied with that and next question was, "Can I have another bowl of Weetabix?" so think that will suffice for now!!
If he asks more specific Qs I will not lie to him, but I feel no need to go into a whole lot of detail...PLENTY of time for that later!
I went for the "people who love each other" angle as I think it´s way simpler, as some posters have stated, than trying to explain lust, attraction, sex drive, need for affirmation, dominance......* fill in any further reasons for wanting sex here *
Will just need to keep a sharp ear open fo any further inaccuracies coming from precocious playmates shock

ubik Tue 19-Feb-13 12:47:17

buy him a book all about it. we got dd1 a book from the family planning association Let's talk about where babies come from and she dips into it from time to time. it's great - sex in context of loving relationship, all about pregnancy and birth, contraception, STI's - even genes and chromosomes!

mmmerangue Tue 19-Feb-13 12:44:15

I think I mean 'Love' as in 'attraction' but how do you explain sexual attraction to a child, he will not have experienced that? Would it confuse them between how they are attracted to playmates at school, they like them, and how mummy and daddy are in Love... Love is an easier word I guess.

Trust me that is not my only experience of sex! But I would like to think, that at least in explaining to a child, I would try and equate sex with some sort of stable relationship (if only to try and get Jeremy Kyle off the air, ever).

madwomanacrosstheroad Tue 19-Feb-13 12:41:30

I will of course discuss the not equating sex with love stuff to my daughter when she is a wee bit older... Noy at ten and not at 12! I dont have an issue about one night stands as such. Mystical sex is lovwly but simply not what happens each and every time. I think they need to know the facts, the terms for body parts and feel comfortable discussing it/asking queations.

Spero Tue 19-Feb-13 12:39:08

I think it is lovely that is your experience of sex. I only wish it were mine! I very much want that for my daughter.

My worry is that children just aren't able to process the adult layers of emotional response - that is utterly alien to them. They can handle a matter of fact description of mechanics but other stuff is difficult to process.

My 8 year old is now at stage where she goes 'urrrrrrg' at any adults kissing on screen. I gentle admonish her and say its not urrrrrgg, they like each other, this is how some adults express affection.

I imagine if I tried to talk to her about sex in terms of love and light, she would run out of the room!

mmmerangue Tue 19-Feb-13 12:29:30

Yes I realise I come across a bit hippy drippy...

But this is to a 7 y o... plenty of time for expansion!

Spero Tue 19-Feb-13 12:21:16

I dunno, horses for courses and all, of course yo know your children better than I, but I confess to feeling uneasy about this equation of sex with love. I don't want my daughter to feel she has to love someone to have enjoyable sex with them, I can see that crossing over into guilt if she doesn't love them or trying to convince herself she loves all manner of unsuitable people when what she is really feeling is lust.

I don't agree with putting an adult spin on stuff because I still remember even at my advanced age getting hopelessly confused by well meaning but coy stuff.

I want my daughter to grow up knowing that sex can be great but it can have consequences - like a baby - and she should only ever have sex when she wants to and when it feels good.

I think describing it as this mystical experience with the love shining out is going to lead potentially to agree deal of disappointment!

madwomanacrosstheroad Tue 19-Feb-13 11:40:41

I only remember the talk with my then 5 year old because he demanded to know why my then boyfriend was suddenly sleeping over in my bed quite frequently. I really did not want to say that bf puts his penis into mummys vagina and i did not want him to think we were making babies.
The addult cuddles concept somehow survived and between younger kids, tv programmes, homophobic preteens etc got expanded over the years.
My children always knew about periods as they always followed me to the toilet so when they asked i explained.
We also had various books, mummy laid an egg was the one i loked but again thats more about reproduction.
I still thing the penis in vagina explanation works fine to explain conception but kids can wonder a bit about why anyone would consider doing it voluntarily.
A couple of years ago an ex friend decided to discuss with my then 10 yr olddaighter the concept of one night stands and my dd came home thoroughlu disgusted saying that she could just about understand why anyone would do "that"(she had obviously progressed from adult cuddles years beforeand was aware of the mechanics), if they really wanted a baby, however she really was at a loss why anyone would have sex otherwise.

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 11:21:07

Also DD2 has been getting her SIMs PG since she was 6 so she might as well know what happens when they go all pixelly.

I have also explained that babies don't just appear fully dressed in your arms grin

Startail Tue 19-Feb-13 11:15:55

Just tell him!

Honestly, any of his friends with older siblings will know the facts of life in the next year or so regardless of whether parents tell them or not.

By the time they get round to sex ed. in Y6 the DCs already know most of it, therefore so do their Y3-Y5 siblings.

I told DD2 on the way to Brownies at about your DS age. Given her DD1 was 10 and her best friend was 11 and went to the school know for most complete Y6 sex ed lessons, she needed to get it straight.

I think I told DD1 when she was 8/9, but I suspect being a curious scientific sort, she sort of knew already. What she didn't know, said BF filled in. I'm told BF gives very accurate and very funny sex ed lessons.

Me, I always knew, DDad says he just answered honestly when I asked. As I never stopped asking questions as a toddler, I think I knew before I started school.

I know I taught my younger sister about periods, because she didn't get my one and only rude joke.

mmmerangue Tue 19-Feb-13 11:04:24

Please, whatever you tell him, make it clear that sex is not 'dirty' or 'bad'!

It is perfectly normal, but very private, that's all. It has happened since the dawn of time, He would not be here without it.

Two people who love each other (A man and a woman if you want the easy version) lie together. Thier love shines through, they get so close they become almost like one person, and sometimes this can make a baby.

It might sound strange but I genuinely felt like that the night I conceived my son. Sex is beautiful.

Kormachameleon Tue 19-Feb-13 10:54:55

My son is almost 10
We used the baby explanation as stated above and as he got older so more recently we have been able to exain about condoms, preventing pregnancy and safe sex

All in very basic and brief terms which can easily be expanded on as he gets older

madwomanacrosstheroad Tue 19-Feb-13 10:49:16

I found special cuddles vague enough to include non heterosexual and nonpenetrative sex in later years and he had not asked about babies. And it was special adult cuddles to emphasize the consenting issue. I added to that information as we went along. He is 20 now and perfectly comfortable and open, takes responsibility for contraception (as far as i know) and went to the clinic for condoms at 16.

Spero Tue 19-Feb-13 10:22:17

I don't see any harm at all in pointing out that sex can result in babies. Anything to encourage safe and responsible sexual activity later in life.

Each to their own but 'special cuddles' I find particularly twee and horrid and I think would have both confused and disturbed me as a child.

Booyhoo Tue 19-Feb-13 01:11:14

"A man puts his penis in a ladies vagina and the sperm meets the egg and babies are made."

not really. he asked what sex was not how babies are made.

my son knows what a penis and a vagina are. he hasn't asked yet but i'm expecting it soon and i'll say that it's a way for adults to show affection for each other by bringing their bodies together and putting the penis into the vagina. i will explain that sometimes people do it to create babies but that other times it is just for pleasure and how they prevent getting pregnant.

MerylStrop Tue 19-Feb-13 00:48:52

Me and DS had a chat about this yesterday, he's 8

Just told him the facts as simply as possible. In as much detail as he asked for, ie taking his lead and answering his questions

The conversation started with something that he'd heard on the news about "a new way of having a baby with three people". So we talked about sperm and egg, IVF (to explain the 3 people thing) and then he had some other questions about how the sperm gets into the woman.

I couldn't have got away with "special cuddles" it would have been far too coy and evasive. I'd rather I told him than some other kid as school.

Purplecatti Tue 19-Feb-13 00:34:17

I got shown with guinea pigs at that age.

I'd tell him the truth but be a bit sparing of the details. Reverse cowgirl might be taking it too far but a mummy and daddy having half an egg each and putting themttogether in a special cuddle is age appropriate.

madwomanacrosstheroad Tue 19-Feb-13 00:27:21

I would be unsure if i would introduce the purpose of sex as having babies. Also i remember to deliberately keep it vague re "mummies and daddies" it meany that without actually introducing complications i kept my credibility when concepts like same sex relationships or contraception popped up years doen the line.

TiddlyOmPomPom Mon 18-Feb-13 23:48:22

I might've gone with "sex is something grownups do to make a baby", I remember being that age and I was really only interested in facts and 'purpose', I wouldn't have wanted any more complicated explanations!

sad at the kid telling everyone it's 'dirty'.

Twogoodreasons Mon 18-Feb-13 23:44:53

My 4 year old knows about penises and vaginas and how babies are made. They ask, I answer. I'm amazed you've got to age 7 before any questions were asked!

2mummies Mon 18-Feb-13 23:41:06

Yes a clear and simple answer from a parent will help him a lot. I remember a little boy called Duncan telling me and my friend Alison about what happens during sex, whilst we waited for our school bus, aged 5. I don't think any of us asked our parents for further details (you didn't in those days). Strange thing is, we ALL turned out gay!!

MamaMimi Mon 18-Feb-13 23:33:54

cross post but agree with madwoman

MamaMimi Mon 18-Feb-13 23:32:26

I wouldn't mention penises going into vaginas at this age, personally.

I seem to remember nonchalantly telling my 8yo dd that its when a couple that love each other kiss and cuddle, in bed for example.

When she was younger and the word 'sex' was mentioned for whatever reason, and she asked about it, I just told her that 'sex' is whether you are male or female, ie,'what sex are you?' I guess you won't get away with that though if some other kid is already making him more curious about it.

Just use as simple an explanation as you can in a very casual way, giving him the impression that 'that's it really'. Plenty of time in the next few years for him to find out any more detail.

madwomanacrosstheroad Mon 18-Feb-13 23:30:19

My explanation was "special adult cuddles". I added more info when and as needed.

Spero Mon 18-Feb-13 23:25:06

If he is asking the question, he deserves an answer. Think korma's answer is spot on. It shouldn't be something disgusting or embarrassing or shameful. It is what a lot of grown ups do.

I don't think you will be besmirching his childhood. He will probably go 'urrrg' and not want to pursue it any further, that's what my daughter does after the 'what's sex, what's a period' etc questions.

But I am matter of fact and give simple explanations and the conversation usually ends there.

I think a lot ofharm can be done by adults getting embarrassed and/or angry at certain questions.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now