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Val123's avatar

Do you think there is a time when children are too young to learn about sex?

Asked by Val123 (12704points) December 21st, 2009

I don’t. I think that the first time they know enough to ask a question, they’re old enough to hear whatever relevant answer. For example, when my daughter was 6 she asked me, “Mom. What would happen if a bear had a chicken and a chicken had a bear?”
I said, “Ugggh. You’d have a dead chicken and a frustrated bear?!” I laughed at my own wittiness while my husband rolled his eyes, then proceeded to tell her the real deal, and why a bear will never have a chicken. She was mostly…disgusted! LOL!

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43 Answers

Pseudonym's avatar

Never really too young. Only too immature.

erichw1504's avatar

@Pseudonym Couldn’t have said it better.

ragingloli's avatar

No. There is a difference between theory and praxis. It was part of the curriculum in elementary school, 2nd or 3rd grade iirc.

Val123's avatar

@Pseudonym I don’t quite understand….what does maturity have to do with understanding the physical nature of sex? If they’re mature enough to ask the questions, why wouldn’t they be mature enough to hear the answer?

JustPlainBarb's avatar

If kids are asking about sex, it’s time to answer their questions. However, you probably only want to tell them what they need to know at that point in time… don’t overload a really young child with a lot of “technical” stuff. You can phase in what you tell them .. making sure you tell them the truth and don’t make up fairy tales.

Pseudonym's avatar

@Val123 The problem lies when they understand what you’re saying. Some children would tell anybody and everybody that they know, including strangers. Also, they might start spreading dirty jokes. My point is, some children wouldn’t be able to handle the information.

Val123's avatar

@Pseudonym LOL! Well, um. I can’t imagine a kid making up their own “dirty” jokes just because you tell them about sex! If they’re young enough, there is nothing “giggly” to make a joke about. It’s just what it is. I guess it could become an issue if the information given was given in an emotional way, or if the parent indicated there was something “wrong” or dirty about sex….

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

It really depends on a child – my three year old has lots of question, not enough of an attention span to hear the answers and definitely not enough, shall we say, life experience to even process what sex is

Pseudonym's avatar

They wouldn’t make them up, but if they understood a very simple one, then that would be told to some kid who didn’t understand it, even a very mature one. It would spread like a virus from there, and sooner or later, a child who didn’t get it would tell his parents…

sliceswiththings's avatar

I think they can know the idea of it at any age, but they shouldn’t know the…logistics until they’re older. I was always aware of sex, but learned what actually happens in sixth grade. Even then, I spent the afternoon sitting on the swing set stunned (in a bad way).

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

They probably wouldn’t be too receptive to such education just out of the womb.. so .. um.. yes.

Val123's avatar

@sliceswiththings When I was about six I was playing Barbie with my neighbor girl. She was Barbie, somebody else was Ken, and I was that teenager doll (forget the name.) Anyway, she told me Barbie and Ken were going to go behind the curtain and I couldn’t watch. So, of course I insisted and had to promise not to tell anyone especially my parents. The dolls were naked, Ken on top of Barbie. So, I promptly ran home and asked my Mom what that was all about. She told me. I didn’t quite believe her! It sounded awfully preposterous! Around the sixth grade, though, I saw a stallion mating with a female, and it all just clicked then.
By the sixth grade, though, you’ve had a lot of giggly, negative sociological perceptions of sex fed into your brain, whether you realize it or not. What shocked you in sixth grade only would have only sounded impossible at 6 years!
@NaturalMineralWater Sigh!!

ninjacolin's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater that’s the best time! then you can always just say: “i told you already! try to remember!”

Val123's avatar

@Pseudonym Are you assuming the is something inherently negative or nasty about sex, and that if knowledge of it spread like a “virus” that would be a bad thing?

Supacase's avatar

I don’t know about jokes, but kids talk to other kids. They might kind of understand, but not enough to accurately explain it to someone else who knows nothing about it. I found out about sex from a friend in 3rd grade who had just had “the talk” with her mom. What she told me was full of misinformation.

My mom was pretty mad but only because she thought my step-sister , who is 7 years older, told me the wrong stuff on purpose. I was happy to let her continue to think that since my step-sister was a total bitch.

I am not sure there is anyway to stop this, though. Children will talk about it whenever they first hear about it, I don’t care if they are 5 or 15.

Val123's avatar

@Supacase Sure they’ll give misinformation about a whole lot of things, not just sex. Hail, we were getting total misinformation in the girls locker room in HS! Way to dis sista!

Oxymoron's avatar

Kids can never be too young to learn about sex!

Val123's avatar

@Oxymoron I agree! Unless one feels there is something inherently “bad” about sex and it shouldn’t be talked about. IMO, there is no difference between discussions on why the sky is blue, and sex.

shego's avatar

I was told I came from the cabbage patch, so when I was old enough to realize that it was a lie, that was when I started asking questions. I think I was like five or six.
So no

shego's avatar

@Val123 I know, and my mom told me that if I acted up, that she would take me back and pick out a new one

ragingloli's avatar

anyone here who was told the stork story?

Pseudonym's avatar

@ragingloli told? It’s true!

phillis's avatar

This is what I was saying on another thread, and I wholeheartedly agree with @Simone_De_Beauvoir‘s answer. I indeed depends on what the child can psychologically and emotionally handle. Kids mature at different rates, which I why I said that there would be no judgement from me if Mrs. Johnson told her 3 year old, while Mrs. Smith told her 13 year old. I have my THOUGHTS on that, but no judgements.

At two years old, my (now 11 year old) daughter walked into our bedroom one night BEFORE we realized she was able to climb out of her crib and asked, “What’s that stinky smell?” Of course, hubby and I knew it was the scent of sex. To a child, it WOULD be stinky. Instead of telling her the truth, we asked her if she was okay. She obviously came to us for a reason. At two years of age, she was incapable of remembering the answer, so why bother?

At three years of age, my (now 5 year old) daughter asked us why the golden retrievers were playing leap frog. We let it slide (mostly because we were doubled over in gales of laughter and were gasping for air) and changed the subject. She has not the attention span to even pay attention long enough to hear the answer, so why bother?

It’s not that I am uncomfortable in the least! Nor do I see sex OR maturbation as a dirty act. My 5 year old has been humping her teddy bear since she was 1 year old. It wasn’t until 3 days ago that she finally “got it” my message (once again, we had this talk) and could remember mommy saying that, if she wanted to do that, she simply needed to do it as a private act, in her room with the door closed. No embarrassment, no shame or humiliation, just love and acceptance.

She is so randy and so forgetful that we expect to have our first grandchild from her in about 10 years….....0.o

sliceswiththings's avatar

Here, I’ll go into detail about what I did and didn’t know. I thought it was just mashing genitals. Then in the car during a long drive, someone made a Viagra joke (I was about 10). I asked what it was, and my mom calmly explained. This is what I got from her interpretation: when you get to be an old man, your penis gets stiff. Viagra is a pill you can take to soften your penis so it’s easier to mash up.

I painfully remembered that day when I finally learned what actually happens.

Note: I had never really “gone exploring” and didn’t know what an actual vagina was until I was told with the rest of the class in sixth grade. I thought babies came from the urethra, which stretched for childbirth. This was a lot to process in one day, and I was too scared to look for my own until it became time for tampons.

phillis's avatar

@sliceswiththingsOh, you poor thing! The messages can become so garbled, can’t they?? I got a book at 10 years of age, entitled The Wonderful Story of How You Were Born. It said that when a man and woman love each other very much, they get really close. Hell’s bells! I was terrified for YEARS to get close to my little boyfriends! I didn’t want to get pregnant (however THAT happened. I still didn’t have a clue!).

sliceswiththings's avatar

Haha @phillis that’s terrible! And grown-ups wonder why kids fear “cooties.”

phillis's avatar

No kidding!! I understand using descretion, but for God’s sake, make it clear! I had no idea that the penis went into the vagina after reading this supposedly awesome book. NONE! Talk about omitting the whole point! Good thing I have viagra. It keeps hubby’s penis nice and soft. LOL!!

sliceswiththings's avatar

Haha exactly, don’t want to get poked!

downtide's avatar

I think there is such a thing as “too young” but that age varies from one individual to another. The right time to learn about sex is when they first start to wonder about it or ask questions about it. You can’t fix an age on it because everyone matures at a different rate.

Val123's avatar

@sliceswiththings Sorry! ROFL here! Ok…I’m sorry about the mashing confusion!! ROFL!! At ya’ll…I never had that particular confusion between vaginas and penises and such, because I knew pretty much from day one. The thing that threw me, when, at age 6 my mom told me that the Dad puts the penis in the Mom’s vagina was….well, from what I knew of penisis it pretty much would be a mashing thang, and since I knew that he peed from it, NONE of it made any sense! Until I saw that stallion years later and saw the “Viagra transformation”. Then, and only then, did it make sense.
@downtide I’m talking about straight questions…a kid asks a question that requires an answers that touches on (OMG) sex. Does one come up with silly BS to deflect the discussion about (OMG!) sex or does one answer the question straight up?

downtide's avatar

@Val123 At whatever age, I would answer the question as honestly as possible, but in as simple a way as possible, as appropriate to the age of the child. If you start telling actual lies, you are opening a whole can of worms that will have to be crammed back in the can one day.

mattbrowne's avatar

When kids ask smart questions they might be ready. However, the level of detail matters and I think our answers should take age into account.

Suppose your eight-year-old kid comes home from school and tells you, “At school Josephina said her aunt has many orgasms and everybody laughed. I was too embarrassed to ask what it means. Mom?”

Would your answer be: “Okay, I think you need to know all about sex. Here’s how it works. An orgasm is the peak of the plateau phase of the sexual response cycle, characterized by an intense sensation of pleasure. You said Josephina’s aunt had many orgasms. Well, after the first orgasm, subsequent climaxes may be stronger or more pleasurable as the stimulation accumulates. You see, for some women, their clitoris and nipples are very sensitive after climax, making additional stimulation initially painful. So be careful, my dear.”

My point is, the younger the kids the more vague we should be. We should not tell them everything about sex right away.

Val123's avatar

@mattbrowne LOL! No, I guess I’d just say that “When you have sex with someone, sometimes there comes a point where it feels super good”. If he persists and wants to know what “super good” feels like, I guess I’d compare it to that tingly feeling you get when someone scratches your back. What else could you possibly say?!

phillis's avatar

@mattbrowne – Excellent analogy.

@Val123 – how about a sneeze :D

Val123's avatar

@phillis Mmmm…getting my back scratched feels better than a sneeze!
@mattbrowne I agree that you surely wouldn’t need to offer up such detailed, incomprehensible information to a kid, but….what exactly would you say in such a situation? Nothing? Would you deflect it? Or the ever famous, “You’re too young to know”? “You’ll understand when you grow up?” Because sure as heck, Josephine has told that to a bunch of other kids, so your kid is going to hear something in the way of an explanation from someone!

phillis's avatar

Actually, that “You’re too young to know” works great! It’s a matter of preference, of course. But I do field occasional questions from my daughters that I DO feel they are too young to hear the answers to. WHen that happens, This is what I say:

“You’re too young for that answer right now, but I promise you, I WILL answer it when I feel you are ready. We will talk all you want to about it at that time.”

It is fabulous! They know I’m telling them the truth because they trust me. I hav ethe pressure removed from me to tailor an impossible answer to a question (such as my 5 year old asking me what the box of “giant Q-Tips” is for), and it allows me to set the pace for what I am ready for them to know.

Val123's avatar

I guess…I just don’t understand why people want to avoid talking to kids about things like sex and menstruation (actually, maybe I would deflect the menstruation thing….could scare the poor kid to death, with Mommy bleeding like that!)’s not like sex is evil or bad or not to be discussed, IMO. And, like I said, in Matt’s example, the word is out there and if they don’t get any help they will find a way to come up with an explanation on their own….

That reminds me. When my son was about 5 I asked him what PM meant, and he said nighttime, I asked him what AM meant, and he said daytime,and then, just because I’m the goofy mom that I am I said, “And what is PMS?” He says, “Um…it’s a girl thing, but,um, I don’t know what it is!” LOL!

phillis's avatar


That is the reason I chose not to answer the tampon mystery.That hasn’t stopped her from tearing into thier packages and trying to paint with them, however. You can’t explain bleeding to a child who freaks over a scratch. But there are other questions that I gave the same answer to. If I can think of one, I’ll let you know.

Val123's avatar

I felt kinda sorry for him!

nitemer's avatar

Children know about sex from infancy.

mattbrowne's avatar

@Val123 – Good vague answers can be tricky. In this case? Hmm.

You see, not only kids like to cuddle up. Adults like it too. Because it feels nice. Josephina’s aunt and uncle seem to enjoy it too. Many orgasms means very intense and long cuddling.

Maybe there are better solutions. I’d have to think about it some more. After the Christmas break there are 61 Fluther Activities…

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