Mum-of-four Peta Todd on sex education and how to talk to kids about what makes a baby
I RECENTLY hosted an event for Superdrug in the run-up to World AIDS day – which is this Saturday, December 1.
The message of the event was that we should all know our “status” to take control of our sexual health and wellbeing.
The high-street chain is the first to sell a do-it-yourself HIV test. The BioSURE HIV Self test kit is available for £33.95.
The panel at the event included Dr Alex George of Love Island fame – who was a dream, I might add – and we discussed the myths around HIV that mean there is still a stigma around it.
One in five people still believe you can catch AIDS from kissing or from using a toilet seat.
Most shocking to me was that of a sample in London, the biggest increase in positive tests was among girls aged 15 to 25.
Embarrassed about my own assumptions and lack of knowledge prior to the event, I decided to sit down with my son Finnbar, who’s 12, to see what his ideas around sexual health were.
I was pleasantly surprised by his willingness to chat about the nitty gritty with his ol’ ma.
He asked lots of questions, seemed unfazed by the answers and was a lot more composed than I was at his age.
No storks dropping bundles of joy
It made me start to think about how much information is too much for our kids.
My approach to all things biological has always been to tell the truth.
Yes, I say “nunny bits” to my six-year-old Delilah but I also let her know it’s actually a vagina.
When she wanted to know how a baby gets out, there was no talk of storks dropping bundles of joy from the sky.
Being open in discussions about sex and reproduction is important for children to develop good mental attitudes towards their bodies and their peers.
Does my son love knowing about periods? Nope. But it’s just as important for him to know as it is for my daughter.
I don’t think our children need to see graphic images from the karma sutra . . . but leaving their schooling to basic sex education is not enough in a world where porn and fake news lurk online.
Do you have funny names for private parts in your house or is it biology central?
Does magic make a baby? Or is it Mummy and Daddy?
People get squeamish about ruining youngsters’ innocence with too much information about sex, hoo-hoos and ding-dongs.
But with something that is going to play such a key role in our young people’s lives, and with so many Chinese whispers already in play, it is time we got real. We need to sack off the narrative of “when two people love each other very much, magic happens”.
Also, you get serious parent points if you can say the word “penis” with a straight face.
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