Can YOU Be the Kind of Mom Your Kids Will Want to Talk to About Sex?

by | Aug 10, 2016 | Family, Parenting Teens, Parenting Young Kids | 50 comments

Tips for how to make talking to your daughter about sex less awkward!
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Are you the kind of mom who can easily talk to your older kids about sex? Or who WANTS to be that kind of mom when her kids are older?

A while ago I posted a reader question on my Facebook Page, which I thought was really good.

A Reader Asks: “My daughter is getting married and I want to make a fun “honeymoon care package” for her. I’m going to include The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, some lubricant, and candles, but does anyone else have any ideas? Nothing too expensive because we’re on a major budget!”

I was actually kind of surprised by the answers. Maybe not quite half thought it was a good idea, but most women were saying, “Ick! Major boundary issue!”

The night before her wedding I gave my daughter a gift bag with lubricant and condoms.

I knew they were on a major budget and that stuff can be expensive. In fact, I even put condoms and lubricant in my son-in-law’s Christmas stocking this year (and by the way–did you know one of my most popular posts on this blog is stocking stuffers for husbands? Pin it or bookmark it for Christmas!)

So there are two big questions: why do some families think it’s no big deal to be open about sex like this, and why would some families be mortified? And which is right?

Let’s try to dive into this because I think there’s something awfully important going on below the surface.

Tips for how to make talking to your daughter about sex less awkward!

The way we react to the idea of talking about sex with our daughters is often based on how we feel about talking about it with our moms.

If your mom never talked about sex to you and was very prim and proper and never let it be known that she was a sexual being, then that’s likely how you saw her. She’s a mom, not a wife. And then, if she had suddenly, out of the blue, decided to launch into a conversation about sex it would have been the most awkward thing in the world. All you’d be able to think is “please please please shut up shut up shut up oh won’t you please just be quiet?”  

And that’s how we intrinsically think of mother-daughter relationships. It’s based on how we related to our mothers.

Sometimes your relationship with your mom is so rough that you determine to do the exact opposite with your kids, and everything’s fine. But quite often we just repeat what seems natural and normal. And so the idea of having a relatively open-door policy when it comes to conversations about sex seems really weird.

But is that really the way it should be?

Think of the message that this gives kids: sex is something taboo. Sex is something that can’t be talked about normally. Sex is therefore not normal; secretive; and perhaps shameful. It’s something that we’re embarrassed about.

At the same time, we know we’re supposed to tell them that God made sex to be a beautiful part of marriage and that they’re supposed to be enjoy it when they’re married. But if we say those words but also give the impression that “I’m really not comfortable with this”, then we’re sharing mixed messages. And the kids will pick up on the shame part, not the “really great in marriage” part.

Kids are going to gravitate to find information about this from the people who seem to be the most open about it and who enjoy it the most. If you’re always awkward then they’ll assume you aren’t a good source of information because you really don’t want to talk about it.

And, in many cases, they may assume that marriage is where sex goes to die.

But, Sheila, shouldn’t there be boundaries?

Yes, absolutely.

Saying that we should talk about sex openly is definitely not the same thing as saying that we should share with our kids the details of our sex lives.

In fact, one of the first bad reviews I had for The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex on Amazon was from a woman who said that there shouldn’t be books like this–we should all just be talking to our mothers. And I replied that most people would never want to learn about things in this much detail from our moms.

I have a great relationship with my daughters, but I gave Rebecca the book before she was married, and one of her comments was, “I’m glad you wrote this because now we don’t have to talk about it so much!” Being open to talking about sex doesn’t mean that you have to talk about absolutely all the details.

But you should feel comfortable talking in certain parameters.

If you feel uncomfortable talking with your kids about sex, then there may be issues you have to work through. Either you’re scared of what your kids will do or that they’ll rebel, or you have so many mixed feelings about the whole thing yourself that it’s hard for you to talk about it honestly. If it’s the latter, then please, read something like The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex which can help you see God’s purposes for sex and help stop any shame you may feel. Whatever you do, DON’T inadvertently pass your shame onto your children!

Your kids need more, and deserve more. You need to be a safe place. So work on yourself so that you can be that for your children.

What does talking to your kids about sex look like?

It isn’t one conversation. And I don’t think it’s even planned. It’s just simply participating in conversations when the kids bring it up. Here’s what I mean:

Guidelines for Keeping the Conversation About Sex Open with Your Kids

Answer questions at an appropriate level without freaking out

Kids sense from a very young age when a topic is off limits. A child between the ages of 4 and 10 is going to start to ask questions about sex in some form. If, when they do, you stiffen up and become super formal and sit them down for a “serious conversation”, or if you dismiss it, they’ll learn “there’s something wrong with me for wanting to talk about this” (even if they don’t know what THIS is), and “I shouldn’t bring this up with mom.”

If, on the other hand, you just keep doing what you’re doing and have a natural conversation at their level, it will be fine. I often found that it was when we were doing dishes or riding in the car or something that my chatterbox Katie would come out with something, and I’d just go with it, with no change in tone of voice or anything.

This made the girls feel that they really could ask me stuff.

Talking to Your Daughter about Sex

Use teachable moments as kids grow

I remember the girls being really disturbed a girl they knew when they were about 12-14. This girl would wear clothing that showed her cleavage (she was really well developed at a very young age) and extremely short skirts. She’s openly flirt in church. And my girls could not get over it.

When they brought it up sex would naturally come up–“what do you think the boys are thinking?” or “why do you think she’s dressing like that?” “How can we help her?”

Just be a safe place

I’ve never had to bring up uncomfortable topics because my girls always brought them up first. I remember when Katie was 13 and she came in to my room so upset because “One of my friends is having oral sex with her boyfriend!” Now, I didn’t even know that Katie knew what oral sex was. I was a little disappointed that my little sweet innocent girl did. But while I was flinching majorly inside I didn’t flinch on the outside and we just talked about it and figured out how to pray about it.

Similarly, when Rebecca was 14 she came home from camp one year really disturbed about how the camp had talked about masturbation. Again, I wasn’t sure how much she knew about that word, but she kept talking about it (I can’t remember now what the problem was), and we got through that conversation.

Because I never flinched and just kept on with the conversation without making a big deal about it the girls never thought “I can’t talk to mom about this” or “this makes mom really uncomfortable.”

And then as they grew it became so much easier to talk about porn, too, because that’s such an important conversation, even with girls. Porn is not just a male problem, and we need to make sure our daughters are prepared, too (which is why I really recommend a computre filter as soon as you have any preteens in your house–male or female! 

Teen girls use porn, too! Let's make sure we're protecting them.

Encourage them safely

So now that my daughter is married, I can give her lubricant and condoms. But I don’t ask her if she’s used them! I know she’ll talk to me if she needs to. But I also know that she has a bunch of married friends at church and a bunch of mentors, and if she has specific problems she’ll likely go to them.

So there’s a bit of a divide: we’re comfortable talking about sex in the abstract, but we don’t talk about it in the specific. And I think that’s healthy, because there is that divide between parent and child where you don’t really share about your own sexual self. Maybe it’s because of our hardwired incest taboo or something, I don’t know, but there is a line where most people don’t cross. But to joke about things in general, or to talk about big picture issues, or to point people in the right direction for help–that’s all good to do.

I always wanted to be the kind of mom who could give her married kids lingerie or lubricant! And I’m glad I am.

But what do you think? Should some things be off limits? Let’s talk in the comments!

Oh, and you may also enjoy this post on how to raise kids with a healthy view of sex.

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How to make talking to your kids about sex not so awkward!

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Sheila Wray Gregoire

Author at Bare Marriage

Sheila is determined to help Christians find biblical, healthy, evidence-based help for their marriages. And in doing so, she's turning the evangelical world on its head, challenging many of the toxic teachings, especially in her newest book The Great Sex Rescue. She’s an award-winning author of 8 books and a sought-after speaker. With her humorous, no-nonsense approach, Sheila works with her husband Keith and daughter Rebecca to create podcasts and courses to help couples find true intimacy. Plus she knits. All the time. ENTJ, straight 8

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  1. cindy

    Thank you for this! I think you are spot on – we copy what our mother’s did – my mom handed me a book and said to let her know if I had questions – sex was treated as a taboo/shameful subject. I have teenagers and a preteen and am trying hard to be natural and answer questions – I want to give my kids a healthy view of sex. Thanks for the practical reminders!

    • Sheila

      You’re so welcome, Cindy! I really was surprised by how many women were mortified with the idea of their moms giving them lubricant. But maybe I’m the weird one; I don’t know. But I’d certainly rather err on the side of openness!

      • me

        I’m in the same boat as Cindy (actually worse – I wasn’t even given a book). My husband and I would like to speak to our kids openly but they don’t come to us with any questions. We are afraid we may have sent a nonverbal message that the subject is taboo so we are unsure how to proceed.

  2. FollowerOfChrist

    Great article! My wife and I have kept the policy that the kids can bring up any subject. We are also let them know that some subjects might be a bit awkward, but they are never off limits. And there have been times when we have had to bring up the topic of sex to our kids, in order to help them set appropriate boundaries. They know that we see sex as a tremendous blessing from God, a gift that is only to be opened on the honeymoon. Scripture addresses this vital area of life, therefore parents need to as well.

    • FollowerOfChrist

      I just glanced through some of the comments on your Facebook page and am really surprised at how strongly many mothers felt this was a bad idea. My father, a great man of God and a pastor, told my wife and I to have fun on our honeymoon and he wasn’t talking about the site seeing. God has given us parents to guide and encourage us, in every area of life. I think it is sad that some are opposed to being a positive influence in one of the most critical areas of marriage. It may not be all there is to your children’s marriage, but it will have an enormous impact. Encourage them, and let them know that God has given them a beautiful wedding gift.

      • Sheila

        I know! I was really surprised too. But I do think that it stems from a bad relationship with our own moms, and then we can’t really picture how our daughters (or sons!) may want it to be different.

  3. Jill

    I have two girls… One 9 and the other almost 8. For 3 years of their life I’ve been pregnant, and am about to have our 5th child, their 3rd little brother. My oldest always asks how the baby is born & I’ve never had a C-section so can’t get off that easy in my answer! Confession: I dodge the question. She’s been asking for 2 years…. Thoughts? She’s 9.

    • Sheila

      I would tell her. Telling how the baby comes out is a lot easier than telling her how it got there in the first place! Just tell her what a vagina is and that you have to push the baby out, and the baby gets kind of squished, but then it’s out forever! Otherwise she may be picturing something really bizarre.

    • Emily

      I agree with Sheila on this one – if she can ask the question, she deserves an honest (though not necessarily detailed) answer.
      Start with basics – as she asks more, give her more details.
      My older two kids ended up knowing all about fetal development and the stages of labour without ever thinking to ask how the baby got in there in the first place!

    • Eliza

      check out ‘God Centred Mom’ podcast with guest Mary Flo Ridley – ‘when to have The Talk’ – she has a GREAT way of explaining this to kids in an age appropriate way.

      Or else take them to the country for a farm stay… we are country folks and country kids generally learn these things from an early age!

  4. Ashley

    Different people respond differently to how they were raised. I’ve learned this because my husband is the opposite of me in this area.

    I’ve talked to my husband, telling him I want us to do a better job at talking about sex with our kids, if we have a family. He told me no kid wants to hear about sex from his parents. I, of course would want to be the one giving the info so they don’t get twisted info elsewhere.

    I do this with other areas of my life too. I see things I want to do completely differently from my mom and grandma, and I break the cycle.

  5. Amy

    I would LOVE for your daughter to do a post about this. Just to get her perspective. You know, did your best intentions truly open the door for her to feel comfortable, were your gifts well appreciated or embarrassing, etc. I want that open door with my own daughter and would love the daughter’s view!

    • Sheila

      That’s a good idea! I’ll ask them and see which one will agree.

    • Mary

      Yes please! I’d like to hear from them too!
      I do kinda like the ‘honeymoon gift pack’ idea. My only talk with my mum was a very awkward few seconds about arranging for a script for the pill a couple of months before my wedding. Very awkward! I’d like to do a little better with my daughter!
      I do wonder whether condoms for your son-in-law may be crossing the line though?! When it’s not your own child, it seems to me that there’s a lot more potential to be taken wrongly, or to totally embarrass the life out of them! I’d leave it at the honeymoon and then let my married kids approach me if they wanted to say anymore on the subject.

      • Rosie H

        My mother started asking me if I’d thought about contraception a few months before the wedding, in a very loud voice on a crowded train! I have never been so embarrassed! My daughter is only five but I am determined not to do that to her, so I answer her questions as they come up. She knows a little about how babies happen because she asked, but at this age my main message is that her body is her own and, outside the demands of health and hygiene, no one should be doing anything to her that she hasn’t agreed to.

  6. Ngina Otiende

    Sheila I love this “we’re comfortable talking about sex in the abstract, but we don’t talk about it in the specific”. Do you think that’s what many of the mortified women missed? They assumed talking about sex with their daughters involved getting all detailed and specific. I love your take here and your book is absolutely the best for new brides!

    • Sheila

      Exactly! You can say, “sex took a while for us to figure out well, but now it’s great!” without having to say, “your dad could only last two minutes at first!” or “I could only reach the Big O with oral” (not to get too graphic). Seriously, if your kids ask something in detail you can choose what to share and what not to share, but let’s not forget that we can be open to talking about things without having to divulge “last night your dad and I tried X and Y!”

  7. B K

    I think it depends on the relationship you have, like you said! For example my mother in law and I are not close and neither are her and my husband. She gave us condoms after we had our son, instructing us that we needed to use them if we wanted our marriage to survive after a baby. It felt very invasive like just one more area of our lives for her to stick her nose in and tell us how to do things.
    I strive to have that generally open dialogue about sex with my kids, like you said, where they can bring up an issue and I don’t flinch. I didn’t grow up with that and went to my friends with questions which is a big no no!

  8. Carlene Seghers

    You are right on about the importance of coming to be comfortable with our own sexuality. My mom was my best friend during my growing up years. I remember sitting on the counter in our kitchen and talking with her about everything. She had uncomfortable areas in some of these conversations, and I learned not to go there. Nonetheless, she definitely had processed that because her mom didn’t talk to her about sex, her naivety got her into trouble. And she was committed to being available to process with me. We talked about most everything. Our conversations got as specific as the questions I knew to ask. I was a virgin when I got married. I know those conversations had a great deal to do with that. Another important factor was how my (now) husband committed himself to protecting my virginity. I experienced that vividly when we were dating. I never considered having sex with him, but his battle with images of his past was vivid. I thought marriage would free him of whatever caused this conflict. However, very quickly after our wedding day, I realized I didn’t enjoy sex. I felt awkward. It didn’t feel like I fit into his world when it came to sex. My mom was the first person I went to for advice. She was honored, flabbergasted, and had no idea what to say. My questions approached issues of relationship and sexuality that she had never resolved in her own life. She was obviously uncomfortable, and so was I. I decided I wouldn’t return to that conversation again, and would have to figure this out elsewhere. I wish The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex had been available for me. But God had a different path for healing and sexual freedom. Eventually, we experienced sexual freedom because we both were committed to loving and honoring one another, and MUTUALLY understanding and meeting one another’s needs. Passionate needs can’t be dismissed. Communication is good. Boundaries are good and ever changing as God reveals his passionate plan for relationships. Resolution happens in all relationships, when we find that place of understanding by consistently, honestly, and lovingly communicate about healthy boundaries and personal needs.

  9. J. Parker

    I only have one thing to say: AMEN.

    • Sheila


  10. Scott

    I think it has less to do with a relationship with their mom’s and just an overall bad view of sex. so many (my wife included)women have received some bad words regarding sex from family /church etc. Things like sex is not to be talked about, it’s is something that you do because men want it and good wifes put up with it. Don’t promote it by giving your daughter lube or condoms, sad. I applaud you for sending your daughter into marriage with a healthy view of how awesome and important sex is to a strong marriage. And no, duty sex does not count as the norm.

  11. learningmaman

    I know it wasn’t your intent but your post made me cry. There is no way, no way, I’ll ever be comfortable or enthusiastic when comes the time to talk about sex with my daughters. This excerpt especially made me so sad:

    “At the same time, we know we’re supposed to tell them that God made sex to be a beautiful part of marriage and that they’re supposed to be enjoy it when they’re married. But if we say those words but also give the impression that “I’m really not comfortable with this”, then we’re sharing mixed messages. And the kids will pick up on the shame part, not the “really great in marriage” part. Kids are going to gravitate to find information about this from the people who seem to be the most open about it and who enjoy it the most. If you’re always awkward then they’ll assume you aren’t a good source of information because you really don’t want to talk about it.”

    My mom has always been the kind of person that can walk naked around the house and talk about sex but I have always been more prudish and uncomfortable. Whenever we watch a movie and we see two people kissing, I avert my eyes and change the subject (maybe it’s because at some point when I was younger she made fun of my curiosity… I can’t remember for sure but it became a habit of hers to tease me when there were two people making out on tv).

    I believe what happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors. I will have the sex talk with them but the thought of it is already giving me sweaty palms and I feel like I won’t be able to be comfortable about it. Your words put a burden on my shoulders and I feel like I am lacking as a mom. And Idon’T know how to change who I am.

    • Sheila

      Oh, thank you for being so honest! I’m so glad you spoke up, because I think that so many women share your fears! Really.

      Sometimes it takes practice. I know it sounds weird, but when I started speaking about sex on stage, I had to practice saying certain words into the mirror, out loud, without flinching. And it really did take some practice!

      And I ALSO believe that what happens behind closed doors should stay behind closed doors. I don’t think that you should be telling your kids “we had such a great time last night!” or “your dad is such an amazing lover!” or anything like that. But you can still talk about sex without talking about what you do. Does that make sense? Maybe starting to talk to your friends about it will help it not be such a difficult conversation. In fact, if you said that to your friends–I need to get used to talking about this NOW before my kids need me to!–I’d bet you’d find a lot of women in exactly the same shoes you’re in!

  12. Jessica

    I LOVE this! I come from a very conservative family- which is makes the fact that I’m a ‘sex blogger’ rather interesting. It’s also a single-parent family and my mom NEVER talked to any of us about sex. Never. Ever.

    A while back, I asked some female friends of mine what three things they would recommend brides pack for their honeymoon. Each and every one of them said ‘lube’ and several of them recommended a feminine wipe of some sort for cleanup. “It’s really messy” they said, “I wasn’t prepared for it.”

    A couple years ago, I went to a lingerie shower where the groom’s sister gave the bride condoms and lube, and the one of the bride’s sisters loudly exclaimed, “I WISH I had had that on my wedding night. USE that!” She then went on to detail this horrible story of how she got a UTI on her wedding night and had to go to the ER.

    So, when my brother got married last year, I took it upon myself to make a honeymoon care package for them. I knew my mom wouldn’t get them anything like that, and her parents likely hadn’t, and all their friends were single. I concluded that no one else would be willing to cross that line, but since I’m the ‘sex blogger’ I figured it was in character. 😉

    I went to the store, grabbed some plain lube (no fragrances, flavors, or weird warming sensation stuff- lol), cleansing cloths, Uricalm, and other things and packed them all in a cute little gift bag. I waited until they were in their ‘getaway’ car and leaned over to my new sister-in-law and said, “The big box is for the whole honeymoon, but the little bag inside is a ‘bedside bag.’ Take it in the hotel with you tonight.”

    At first, I was worried she would find it awkward- her husband’s single sister providing lube and stuff. A couple days into their honeymoon, though, I got a text, “Thank you so much for everything (the box) but ESPECIALLY the bag… it’s helped a lot.”

    Totally worth it.

  13. Kristina

    Such great points. I really appreciate your sharing of the inner turmoil while maintaining composure when kids ask tough questions.
    For me, my mom gave me a book and told me which chapters not to read.. Haha. So you know which ones I read. And that was that pretty much. Now that I have a son, I feel like it just starts with not being afraid to call body parts by their appropriate names. It’s absurd how many code words people have for the word “penis”. I would feel sillier saying them then the word itself.
    Awesome article!

  14. ThePastorsWife

    My parents (and most of my friends parents) were the type to give a book to you when you were 13 and leave it at that. I cant think of a time when I ever discussed sex with my mom. As young teenage girls in the late years of grade school (in the early 90s )we sat around at recess sharing what information we had gleaned about sex, female changes, menstration and hygiene. I giggle to thing about what we thought we knew. I was always bold and researched information to share. Some girls parents were failing them miserably, even into our highschool years some girls would seek that group of girls out because they knew we had no trouble talking about this stuff… it started in me a heart for girls and young women who feel lost admist all the change. Its why as a young adult I loved working in youth ministry. There were so many girls lost at sea when it came to sex and becoming a woman.

    I have been excited to talk about sex and the awesomeness of growing up a boy or girl ( I have one of each) to my kids since they were babies. Having one of each has helped with discussion starting on there behalf, even their young questions of “where is her penis?” were great ways to jump in a young age. l am very active in listening to their conversations, which helps to start a discussion… one time my son keep saying “and then she pukes the baby out” (Complete with gaging noises). I was quick to use that moment to talk about how babies come out and how much work it is but how truly awesome womens bodies are made! We have covered so many topics with the two of them, seperate or together. The use of feminie hygiene products to PMS (that was a tricky one to get across to a 8 year old boy!). In all the questions they have come up with they have yet to ask “How does a baby get in there?” So this fall as part of our schooling we will be adding a “health” component to make sure most topics are covered (they are gr 1 &3). Some of my friends think I am weird but I am excited!

    The trickest and hardest part for me in this whole thing was not to be ashamed of my body. It had changed a lot since i was young. I think that this may be a key element in being able to share openly about life changes and sex with my kids especially my daughter. If they burst into my bedroom or bathroom I will my self not to cover up with a shrek but calmly cover up or continue dressing and continue on like its normal.

    Breaking the cycle of shame and taboo over sex and the human form( in all its shapes and sizes) is almost a discpline. At first it seems unattainable, but for every discussion you have with your child it will get easier and easier. Some discussions will go better than others… and there have been times that I have gone back and said “I don’t think I did a good job on that” But I am hoping and praying that my husband and I are creating a foundation now as our children are young that allows them to talk to us about sex and what ever other topics come up openly and honestly as they grow.

    ( I am that crazy pastors wife that gives out a honeymoon kit and your book to the engaged girls of our church that I am friends with. My husband was very against this but I sat down with a bunch of newly married women at our church and asked how weird would that be… they said it would be awkward at first but wished someone had done it for them. There has to be something said about women coming together from all stages of life supporting one another through the stages of life)

  15. alchemist

    My mom talked with us about stuff a lot. At times in high school it seemed like she wouldn’t shut up about it 🙂

    However, I know my middle sister would *not* have appreciated a honeymoon care package from my mom. She refused to go lingerie shilling with my mom. My mon took me to buy lingerie, but we didn’t really talk about the honeymoon and what not. I was 28 when I married, had taken a lot of biology and have been reading marriage books since I was 10. I think my mom figured I had it covered. I didn’t feel inclined to ask anything either. I think my baby sister would just about die if my mom gave her a honeymoon care package. Your child’s temperament also plays a role in how stuff like this is received.

    To me putting condoms and lube in your son-in-laws stocking crosses a line. I know my poor husband would wish the earth would swallow him up if my mom did that. And I know his mother would never do anything like that.

    • Sheila

      Yeah, I think a lot of it does depend on personality of both! I think openness is so important during the teen years, and if you are open, it can be greatly appreciated when your kids get married. But I know my son-in-law and daughter just think the whole situation is hilarious, and actually think it’s kind of cool that I’m the “sex lady”. But we still don’t talk details! 🙂

      • alchemist

        That’s good then 🙂

        My husband and I actually both thought it was hilarious that my mom was so intent on getting me lingerie. We live in a small collage town in the middle of a rural area. So she drove me to the next state over and made a whole day out of it. He thought it was very amusing.

        She was definitely open. But I’m really a born and bred nerd. I don’t recall asking my mom about things. I do recall pulling her human sexuality textbook off the shelf in our library and reading it when I was about 11. I was so terrified of all the *don’t do drugs, don’t have sex, just say no* talks they gave us in middle school that I read an entire book on common street drugs and their effects (also found in our library. My mom was a nurse). Looking back, I really read a lot of strange things as a kid.

        So naturally I read a lot about sex. On your site, the marriage bed, sex in marriage, hot holy and humorous and Julie’s site. My husband and I also read both Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex and Intended for Pleasure (recommended by our pastor) before the wedding. It’s just what I do. Nervous or curious about something. Read a book. Read several books. Read all the books.

        • Sheila

          Authors like us love readers like you! 🙂

  16. Nancy

    I just came back from my 2-day “Passport to Purity” get-away with my daughter. It was such a wonderful program and we had some really good talks. I think she is finally seeing why I don’t want her rushing into dating. Luckily, being in the medical field, I started with conversations with my daughter early without feeling weird talking about the reproductive system and how things work. Bringing God’s design into the mix made it that much easier.

    • Sheila

      That’s wonderful, Nancy! And my husband as a doctor always had an easier time saying certain words than I did. 🙂

  17. SA

    I have never discussed sex with my mom. Ever.

    That being said, before any female in my family (cousins included) gets married or marries into the family, all of the female relatives throw a lingerie shower. It is totally tame (except for when certain cousins show up 🙂 ) but there is certainly a message of “this is good, we are here for you”. I know for sure at mine the topic of sex didn’t come up in any way that left a negative impression and I walked away knowing that my whole family supported this next step. It is something that I have started with the younger girls that I know well at church, to give them a forum to ask questions or just know who to turn to. Would I go to my mom or my aunts? No way. But maybe a cousin or sister in law. These girls at church will know who then can turn to if they feel it is too awkward with their own moms.

  18. Olamide

    We talked about sex a lot in my house and not in a bad way, of course my mum didn’t go into details but she was very open with us and it spilled over into other areas – my mum is one of my closest friends to date.
    I have two little girls and I believe that I’ll be able to talk freely with them about sex because I learnt how from my mum.
    P.S. – I’ve been bingeing on your blog since I discovered it about 3 weeks ago. Thanks for giving such great advice.

  19. CW

    I definitely want to be able to have that kind of openness with my children when they are older. I do feel a bit weird about the condoms, though. I think I would have felt offended if my mom or mother in law had gotten us condoms for our wedding (or after.) It’s one thing to buy lingerie, lube, etc…but condoms kind of implies that ‘you shouldn’t have a baby.’ Of course they may have been open with you about wanting to wait, but I still feel like that puts a pressure on the couple to not have children yet, and if it happened anyway, I would worry that they would be afraid to tell you in case it disappointed you. Just my two cents! Otherwise I agree with everything here.

    • Sheila

      They were definitely open about it! They’re trying to wait five years. And my daughter is ALWAYS complaining about how expensive condoms are. 🙂

  20. mlmnttlkr

    Haha, I guess if she’s complaining about how expensive condoms are they would make a great stocking stuffer! I can’t imagine getting them from my mom. But I think you’re right that has more to do with my relationship with her than how I think things “should be.” Thanks for being real and mentioning even though you were open your girls brought up oral sex and masturbation before you realized they really knew what they were! It’s encouraging to know even if I’m trying to be a safe place for my daughter to ask questions she’s still going to find out some info elsewhere and it’s just how I react to realizing she knows it that matters.

  21. Abigail

    I have a question… if a teen has specific questions and those are off-limits to talk to her mother about, then where will she go? Who can she talk to? Won’t she go somewhere else to get that information?

    • Sheila

      Absolutely she will! That’s why it’s really better to talk to her mom. 🙂 Or, if they’re detail questions, then have an older Christian woman who is like an aunt (or an actual aunt) to talk to. I talk to a bunch of my daughters’ friends, and in turn, I have friends who talk to my daughters. Because sometimes there are just some real details that you don’t want to hear from your mom! 🙂

  22. Jill

    I love this article. Luckily, I had a mom who was (and is) very open about everything, including sex. It probably helps that she’s an RN as well 🙂 I have always felt like I can talk to her about everything and it has been an awesome example of how I want to approach things with my two girls. Because she never made it feel embarrassing, I ended up coming to her and sharing most everything. And for the record, my mom bought me some gorgeous, sexy lingerie for my honeymoon and recommended that I purchase lubricant…it wasn’t weird or awkward but helpful and loving!

  23. Audrey

    My mom and I have a very open relationship and can talk about everything… except sex. The only message I ever got about sex growing up was 1) Don’t do it til you’re married and 2) Boys aren’t to blame if they grab what is dangled in front of them… ie, rape is understandable ?
    I’m striving to do a MUCH better job with my children (and NOT pass on pro-rape garbage!)
    My children are just little- 4 & 6. However my six year old daughter is extremely smart, curious and mature. We live on a farm where every spring my 50+ goats give birth. She is down in the barn helping to dry off new babies and knows the basics of pregnancy and birth. She doesn’t know how babies are made, except that they grow in a special bag in the mom’s tummy and that bag squeezes hard, causing tummy pain, and pushed the baby out the “baby hole”. Not to be confused with the “pee hole” or “poop hole”. All girls have three holes. But our cats and dogs have had the bag that babies grow in removed. This is all matter of fact to her and no more sensational than our digestive or respiratory systems, which she also knows about.
    Unfortunately my mom is constantly on my case that my daughter knows too much. That I need to “tone it down”. She’s not bothered that my girl knows about blood vessels and heartbeats, but regarding birthing goats she goes berserk.
    So, thanks to mom, I’m nervous because I know that “how babies get in the tummy” is coming up next… and whats up with those boys… I know my mom didn’t do a good job teaching me about sex (I didn’t learn about it at all from her!) but I’m bothered by this uncertainty. Maybe I’m messing up too?

    • Sheila

      Audrey, it doesn’t sound like you’re messing up at all! It sounds like you have a lot of fun with your daughter and you involve her in your life and she’s smart and learning to be inquisitive and compassionate, and that’s great! And even if it’s awkward, you’ll be able to tell her one day how the baby “gets in there”. But if you know that your mother did a bad job, and it really sounds like she did, then you must also silence her voice in your head regarding the choices you’re making. In fact, if she disagrees with you–that’s likely a sign you’re on the right track! Just pray a lot that God gives you the words when your daughter does ask.

      • Audrey

        Thank you Sheila, I really needed a vote of confidence. Raising a bright child has so many joys and challenges. Prayer is definitely a huge part of parenting. We can’t do it without our creator!

  24. Karen Davidson

    Love your books! Love your blog! I just finished taking my 12 yo on her passport to purity trip last week- end where we talked about a lot of these topics. Question: I tried Covenant Eyes and cancelled it. My kids (16 down to 12) mostly use iPads. I didn’t find Covenant Eyes to work well on them. I have restrictions set up on their devices and on our wireless network. However, they occasionally are on networks at other places where that won’t help. What is best to use for iPads, phones, etc? Thanks!

    • Sheila

      Hi Karen! Thanks so much for the encouragement, and I’m glad you had a great weekend with your daughter!

      Yeah, the Covenant Eyes issue with iPhones and iPads is that Safari doesn’t allow you to filter in the same way. It’s really an Apple issue, not a Covenant Eyes issue, and I’m afraid most filtering things run into this. What Covenant Eyes does is create a browser to replace safari so that you can still do the accountability/filtering on the devices. But it it a little more cumbersome than on the desktop for sure!

      I think the Covenant Eyes alternative is still the best one for iPads, etc., and they have info here on how to install it properly so that you can’t get around it. But the fact is that you can never be 100% safe, and most kids run into more problems at home, late at night, when they’re bored, then when they’re just out and about. If someone sees something at school that someone shows them (and most kids will), it is sad. But it won’t have the same effect as when they’re at home and they have time to just browse the internet. So I think having really good systems at home is key, and then just praying that God will help whatever they may encounter outside of the home not have a lasting impact on them.

      I don’t know if that helps or not, but I think that’s the best I can do!

  25. TrUtHy

    Thank you madam Sheila for yet another educative post. May the good Lord continue to bless you with wisdom.
    I will forever be grateful for the day i discovered ‘you’!
    My take on this is that ‘Truth-be-told’…yes truth be told in WISDOM.
    i have three sons, oldest is turning six next January..not long ago he asked where his baby brother came from..i tell you kids are so interesting..i realised they ll ask most of these questions out of innocency.
    I am planning on sharing this with my husband so we can agree on how we can approach discussions of this nature..we cant avoid is a parent’s responsibility.

    thank you,

    • Sheila

      You’re so welcome! I’m glad it helped you. And it sounds like you have a lovely family. 🙂

  26. Lisa

    I am a 19 year old virgin. My mother had never talked about sex ever ( we are from a strict family). I don’t know what would it be like having a talk like this with my mother. Waiting for it 😀


    Our daughter got married the beginning of October and we have been open about sex and marriage for the last 2-3 years. We gave them a sex bag that contained lube and condoms. We also made up a special “sex towel” that used different candies and writing meaning different sex things. We chose not to say anything about the bag and its contents to them, but about 2-3 weeks later she talked to my wife about it. She thanked us especially for the condoms. She said that they were both hoping the other had bought them. They had talked about it but both felt awkward about buying them.


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