If Your 11-Year-Old Doesn't Know About Consensual Sex, It's Time to Talk

sex edWhile you're gearing up to give your kids the sex talk, there's another talk just as important -- and maybe even more difficult. Some schools are teaching children as young as 11 about rape and sexual consent. Is that too early?

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Public schools in England are being directed to teach students about rape and consent starting at age 11 this spring. The classes won't be mandatory, but it seems there has been huge demand from parents. Britain's education secretary Nicky Morgan wrote in the Sunday Times:

Mothers at the school gates often tell me about their worries for their daughters. They tell me that on top of the usual stress of school life and teenage years, they want to know their girls are being taught what a healthy relationship looks like and how to say ‘no.'

So that's happening overseas. Should we be doing the same?

I have an 11-year-old son, and this news made me uncomfortable. But not because I think he's too young. If anything, this puts me on notice. I think it's actually the perfect age to have that conversation and I need to get on that.

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My son already knows how sex works. We've talked about it before, and he's learning about it this year at school as well. But at this point he and his peers are thinking about sex and talking about it -- but they're not doing it yet. It's the perfect window of opportunity.

And he probably already knows that rape exists. So that's not going to be a big surprise. I would like to get ahead of all the mixed messages kids get about sexual consent: The slut-shaming, the cat-calling, the nude photos that get forwarded, the sexually-charged trolling, all of it.

None of us wants our child to grow up to sexually violate a woman -- in any way, shape, or form. No one wants to believe their little angel is capable of such heinous acts. But how else are they going to learn what's wrong unless we teach them in specifics?

Do you think 11 is too young to learn about rape and sexual consent? What's the right age to you?

 

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