10 Ways to Screw Up the Sex Talk With Your Kids​​

kid ears

What's the most universally dreaded, unbelievably awkward, eye roll-inducing rite of passage anybody's ever had to go through (and most people have to experience it at least twice in one lifetime)? The "birds and bees" talk, of course! Parents hate giving it, kids hate hearing it (and then consequently growing up and having to give it themselves), and with good reason: There are as many ways to botch the "where babies come from" conversation as there are ways to have it (the conversation, that is).


Think about it -- do you know anyone who feels like their parents really nailed this one (again, we're talking about the conversation, here! Get your mind out of the gutter!!), or who feels like they did a real bang-up job (oh, just stop it) of explaining sex to their own kids? We sure don't. In fact, everybody we asked to recount this defining moment from their childhoods had only near-horror stories to share.

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Unfortunately, there's no going back in time to reverse the emotional scarring of these uncomfortable, inept exchanges -- but at least we can learn from the mistakes of these bumbling, if most likely well-meaning, parents. Here are 10 ways NOT to have the sex talk with your kids, when the time comes:

1. The "Ignore It and Maybe It Will Go Away"

My parents didn't have the talk with me. They let my school do it. For that reason I didn't understand sex until three years after I was married. Mike C.

2. The "Make Somebody Else Do Your Dirty Work"

My mother had my 3-year-old niece walk in my bedroom with a pile of condoms, throw them at me, and say, 'Nanna and Pop Pop said don't get in trouble' ... I was mortified, obviously! Anonymous

3. The "Scientific Method"

My physician father just left a bunch of strategically placed anatomy books around the house when the time was right. At least the information was accurate! Brigid K.

4. The "No Need for Further Discussion"

After the school health class, dad sat down with me and, as the teachers instructed, asked if I had any questions. I told him, "I already took the class, so I'm good." Knowing he was off the hook, he scampered out of the room. Anonymous

5. The "Textbook Approach"

I got a book handed to me when I was in fourth grade -- one of those "your female body" types -- with a whole section "rubber-banded" off that I was not supposed to look at just yet because it had things in there that I was "not ready for." Naturally being the rule follower that I am, I whipped the rubber band off and perused. Then I brought it into school and shared with the entire fourth grade. Then when I was in, oh, ninth grade or so, and she finally decided we should talk about sex, I handed her the book ... sans rubber band. Anonymous

6. The "You Want to Know What?!"

When I was 7 or 8, I asked my mom where babies came from. She looked horribly flustered, like it never crossed her mind that this would come up. She said "I'll, uh, get you a book." It's amazing I'm as well-adjusted as I am! Anonymous

7. The "Honesty Is NOT the Best Policy"

When I was 12-ish, we were watching an episode of Kate & Allie, and Allie's daughter Jenny is considering having sex with her boyfriend. In a tone that I should have known indicated that there was only ONE answer to this question, my mom asked what I thought of this. Being young and naive, I answered honestly and said that if she was in love and felt ready to take such a big step, it was fine. That was not the right answer. She called my dad down to the room where we were and they angrily lectured me on how very, very wrong I was for about half an hour. I didn't take much from that other than "don't ever answer mom and dad honestly again." Anonymous

8. The "Men Are Dogs"

My mom's sex talk was in relation to our dog's humping, which she named his "snow dance." Talk about bad! Jackie M.

9. The "Fill in the Blank"

When I was about 8, I thought babies came out of "butts." I told my mom and she just gave me a look and said, "No, not from there." I figured it out quick. Anonymous

10. The "Monkey Around"

My dad basically capitalized on a trip to the monkey house at the zoo during mating season, like, "That's what people do, too!" It was a great way to promote abstinence, I can tell you that much. My brother and I were scarred for life. Anonymous

How did your parents give the sex talk?

Image via Zdravinjo/shutterstock

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