How to Talk to Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder About Sex

If you have a kid with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) talking to them about sex can seem like a daunting task, I’m sure. You already have so many worries on your plate I am sure that adding in sex ed can feel overwhelming. And just to be clear, I’m not an expert on


As with most children who are not typically developing in someway, your kiddo is more vulnerable to being taken advantage of sexually. This makes it doubly important you have conversations with your child that are direct, regular and chock-full of information.

ASD, but I am one on SEX and think every child deserves a great sex education. Please be sure to leave any sex-talking wins and ideas you have for other parents of ASD kids in the

comments section.

As with most children who are not typically developing in someway, your kiddo is more vulnerable to being taken advantage of sexually. This makes it doubly important you have conversations with your child that are direct, regular and chock-full of information.

Here are a few tips:

1) Use a straightforward and factual tone, but remember to be light hearted about your conversations as well.

2) Use my sex talks formula with wild abandon. It’s clear and simple, so it’ll be helpful for your child. The formula is this: FACTS + VALUES. Explain what something is and what your value is about it. You can also think about this as FACTS + (WHY) + VALUES.

For example: FACT: A condom is something a man puts on his penis before he has sex to capture the semen and sperm. It stops the woman from becoming pregnant and prevents passing germs. VALUE: The rule is (or I believe) when you have sex with someone the man always uses a condom so you can have safer sex.

3) Have frequent conversations about bodies and boundaries and be specific about what kind of touching is okay and when and by whom. For example, “It’s okay to touch your own penis in private when you are alone. It’s not okay to touch your penis in public because people don’t like it. It’s not okay for anyone else to touch your penis unless you are at the doctor.”

4) Use the real words (penis, testicles, vulva, vagina, breasts) and skip the euphemisms (making love vs. sexual intercourse) until they have a good understanding of what goes where, how things work, etc.

5) Do not fall for the idea that your child is either over-sexual or under-sexual. This means either the person is over-sexual, they are crazed and obsessive about it; or not sexual at all and have no desire for or interest in sex. Just like every other person on the planet, your kid is probably somewhere in the middle.

6) If you thought puberty was strange and romance confusing when you were growing up, your ASD child may be finding it even more so. Make sure they have good, fact-based books to help them navigate this important part of life. Check out these resources for autistic kids.

Here is a great website for you: Autism Sex Education

Again, I’m not an expert on ASD, so if you have any other ideas for parents when it comes to these important conversations, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

For more ideas for talking to kids about sex in general, visit my website –

Posted in Developmentally Different Kids, How To Talk To Kids About Sex | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Your Christian Values Will NOT Protect Your Kid!

Christian Values Will Not Protect Your Child, Christian sex talks, birds and bees

It does not matter what your religious values are – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan or Atheist – if you do not prepare your child for the reality of the world outside of your home, you put them at risk.

I am getting very tired of parents thinking that because they have “Christian values” their children are somehow safer from the ills of the world. They seem to think their magical bubble of Jesus will make it so their child will be protected from Internet porn, sexual abuse, or will even make them wait until they get married before they have sex. And this magical bubble of belief also seems to be more important than the health and welfare of their children.

Now, before you get your panties in a wad, I know most Christians are not all like that. I know many, many, many of you do not suffer this illusion. But holy crap! There are a big old bunch who do and I just can’t stand it.

I got an email from a mom of a 9 year-old boy who has been grabbing girls, trying to kiss them and calling them hot and sexy and won’t stop it. This, for those of you who don’t intuitively get it, is not typical behavior for a 9 year-old boy. She was understandably distressed about this and I gave her some solid advice about what might be going on and how to help her kid.

The part that made me crazy is that she said they have limited screen-time (yay!) and “strong Christian values.” She said she can’t figure out where he’s learning this rude and disrespectful behavior. I am pretty sure he’s either seen porn or some of his pals have. I’d guess they have been “playing” this way for a while and the adults in their lives are not stepping in and correcting their behavior or tracking down the root of it.

It does not matter what your religious values are – Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Wiccan or Atheist – if you do not prepare your child for the reality of the world outside of your home, you put them at risk. And by preparing for reality, I mean talking to them openly about sex, pleasure, waiting, bodies, puberty, relationships, birth control, STD’s — all the sexuality stuff.

And the biggest thing? The most important thing? You MUST talk to them about Internet pornography and make sure they know what it is, what to do if they see it, why people watch it and your family rules about it. Your “Christian values” will not help them in the least if they don’t know how to deal with this part of modern childhood. You need to know if your kid sees porn and the only way to know (other than crazy-ass behavior) is if you make it easy for them to talk to you about it.

Finally, I find it incredibly distressing when a parent values their religious beliefs more than they do the health and welfare of their child. If your belief system or parts of it cause your child to be in pain or to be at risk for pain, I think it is completely fucked up to pick your religion over the health and welfare of your child. Your religious beliefs will be fine without your support. Your child will not.

The reason I’m all ticked off about this is because I read a FB post by someone who kept her child in a small, private Christian school from kindergarten to 9th grade where she never fit in. They kept her there because the parents liked the bible-based education and, I’m guessing, the safe feeling of the school. The parents have now allowed the child to attend a public high school and while the mom is terrified (of what, I’m not sure), she thinks her daughter will do better – because she won’t feel like a freak.*

So, you are more than welcome to your “Christian values” but you are not more than welcome to think they are a magical protective shield because they are not. And if you don’t believe me, take a look at your own experiences growing up and learning about sex and sexuality. I am willing to bet my first-born child your “Christian values” didn’t keep you safe.

Learn more about how to talk to your kids at my website –

*Update: she’s loving her new school and comes home “smiling every day.” Praise Jesus.

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5 Things You Might Be Doing That Screw Up The Sex Talks

These five things are common beliefs about how and when to talk to kids about sex. If you’ve fallen for them, you are not alone because most parents do. They make sense in some ways, especially if you like to take the easy route through parenting (and really, who

5 Things That Screw Up Sex Talks by Amy Lang,

5 Things You Might Be Doing That Screw Up Sex Talks by Amy Lang,

doesn’t?!) The key is to be aware and change your ways. No one has ever died from a sex talk, so get on it, would ya?

1) Wait for your kid to ask questions. The chance that your child is going to ask you the right question at the right time in their development is nil. So if you are waiting for them to come running to you with their sex questions, don’t bother, because chances are very high they won’t! When you wait for them to come to you this makes your child’s sex education their responsibility and not yours. Remember! Talking about sex is all about health and safety which is the main job of parenting — keeping them healthy and safe. Unless you actively talk to them about sex, they will not know you are open to conversations. You have to show them how it’s done.

2) Try to “protect” them by giving too little information. Lack of information is one of the main reasons the US has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world. If you think you are somehow protecting them by limiting the information they get about sex, you are wrong. In countries where they have very low rates of teen pregnancy, the children are empowered with a lot of information. Aim for too much information and you should get it just about right.

3) Wait until they are in 5th grade to start the conversation. Most parents think this is the right time because that’s when they teach it in school. The school sex ed schedule is driven by fear of pissing off parents who really don’t have a clue in the first place about the best age to start the conversation. By the 5th grade your child is past ready to know how babies are made, all about puberty and even about birth control and condoms. Please stop clinging to the mistaken belief that they will be ruined somehow if they know these things sooner rather than later because the opposite is true.

4) Let school handle it. School is better than nothing, as long as it’s comprehensive and medically accurate and since that’s a total crapshoot, it’s smarter for you to buck up and get talking. Schools are a mire of bureaucratic BS and parental hysteria when it comes to sex ed, so it’s better to use school as just another source of information, not THE source.

5) Use your child’s discomfort as an excuse not to talk to them. Guess what! Your kid might be *gasp* uncomfortable when you talk to them about sex! So what. Life is uncomfortable and there is no better place for your child to be uncomfortable than with you. My son hates our sex talks (or so he claims) and I don’t care because I know it will serve him in the long run. Stop thinking being uncomfortable is somehow a problem because it’s not. I can’t think of much of anything that’s more uncomfortable than a teen pregnancy.

Here’s how to do it the right way or my way, which (surprise) is the right way. ;-)

Birds + Bees + Kids: The Basics Video

Posted in How To Talk To Kids About Sex, Sex Ed at School, Sexual Abuse Prevention, Tweens, What to Say | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

15 Radical New Rules For Girls’ Sexual Health

New Rules for Girls Sexual Health, Birds+Bees+Kids

Considering we are well into the the 21st century, I think it’s time we consciously adopt a set of new guidelines regarding girls’ sexual health. There have always been some sort of “rules” concerning girls and their sexuality, but most are implicit, sex negative (this means believing sex is not the wonderful, positive part of life that it is) and sexist. These 15 new “rules” for girls’ sexual health may make you twitch, but you will come away with a new perspective on talking to your girl about sexuality. You can watch my webinar on this here.

As a parent, it is your responsibility help your daughter grow up to be a whole and healthy adult who really understands sexuality and how to confidently and comfortably embrace this part of herself and life. When a girl is well informed about sex, sexuality and relationships she has a much higher likelihood of avoiding unplanned pregnancy and basically fucking up her dreams and ambitions.

Generally speaking, regular communication and education about sex, love and relationships is not optional – it’s required – and you are the person for the job. Teens say their parents are their main influence when it comes to sexual decision making and you can use these “rules” should support and supplement your conversations.

Here you go — my new rules:

She is the boss of her body. Girls need to hear they are the “boss of their bodies” from an early age because it keeps them safer from sexual abuse. They need to know it is just fine for them to say “no” to any kind of touch that feels uncomfortable to them. This means you need to request permission before touching them (even hugging), teaching them to wipe their own damn butts by the time they are 4 and making sure they know their privates are not for sharing with anyone, even someone they know, love and trust.

Vulva not vagina. Seriously. You cannot see a vagina! Yes, she’s got one, and should know it, but what she can see is her vulva — the outside of the vaginal area. Vulva means “covering” in Latin and is the equivalent to penis. It is more accurate than calling everything down there “vagina.” Vulva power!

The puberty and period talk needs to happen by age 8. Girls are starting puberty at younger ages and so their periods are making the scene earlier too. She needs to know what is going to happen to her body BEFORE it happens so she’s as comfortable and confident as possible. Get her a book – I love The Care And Keeping of You for girls 7 – 10 and The Girls Body Book – Everything You Need To Know for Growing Up YOU for 10 – 13 year olds.

Daddy’s quality time and attention is required. If your baby daddy is in the picture, healthy and sane, it is imperative he spend quality time with your girl. It’s a double bonus if he talks with her about sex and relationships. We have enough data now to know that daddies have a strong influence over their girls’ overall sexual health outcomes. The physically (like living in the same home) and emotionally closer he is helps her to have sex later, fewer partners and be overall more satisfied with her sex life. Go Daddies!

Prepare her for judgement about clothing. It doesn’t matter if the skirt is long or short; the straps are thin or wide, she will be judged based on her clothing. If it’s too mature, she’s “distracting”. If it’s masculine or sloppy, she’s “unattractive.” She can’t win. She can, however, be very conscious of her outfit choices, and be prepared to handle the potential impact, reactions and suggestions she wear something more “appropriate.” And BTW, if you are buying her clothes and you think they are too mature for her age, there is a very simple solution. I’ll leave you to figure it out.

It’s totally typical to be sexually attracted to another girl. Girls develop close relationships with each other that sometimes include a sexual charge or even fooling around. When this happens it doesn’t mean she’s a lesbian, necessarily, or even bisexual. It just means she’s normal. Sexual attraction is fluid and rarely is someone 100% straight or gay, or 100% masculine or feminine. Your job is to get a grip on this and respond appropriately, meaning calmly and kindly if you find out she’s been playing “games” with a same sex pal.

First PAP smear and pelvic exam are at age 21. There is no need for a pelvic exam to get most birth control or STD testing and unless she’s getting an IUD or there is a specific problem, she can be speculum and PAP free for many years. Also, make sure she’s comfortable with and likes her current medical care provider. If she doesn’t, find her a new one. It’s important to establish a good relationship with her medical folks early, so she will be more likely to ask for whatever kind of help she needs with her body. 

She buys the condoms and carries them with her. Girls are much more susceptible to STD’s so they need to make sure condoms are readily available. Use of condoms with her partner is non-negotiable. Any excuses her partner many have like reduction in feeling, too small, too big, don’t have one, etc. are all total bullshit. The only way to ensure regular condom use is for her to be in charge of the condoms. Check out Sustain condoms. They are marketed to women and are super pretty! And vegan, and fair trade, too, for whatever that’s worth. 

Birth control is required before she has sex for the first time. It should be firmly implanted in her brain that unplanned pregnancy is a preventable problem. She is 100% responsible for doing everything she can to avoid an unplanned pregnancy, which means getting and using a highly effective birth control method, preferably something long acting and reversible. It’s best if she is using a method before she does the deed so she knows how her body reacts, and so she’s prepared if she wants to be spontaneous. Of course, not having sex is the best way to avoid a pregnancy, but the failure rate of this method, without back up, is outrageously high — 85 out of 100 women get pregnant. 

Girls should start LARC in the 10th grade whether or not they are sexually active. LARC – Long Acting Reversible Contraception – are the most effective birth control methods and include the hormonal IUD and implants. Most girls’ periods stop when they use these methods which is one of the best side effects in the history of womankind. Of course, these methods are not for everyone, which is why you daughter will talk to her healthcare provider about what method is best for her.

Allow me to address some of your possible objections to the above:

Won’t they think I’m giving them permission to have sex? No. Girls do not see being on birth control as permission to have sex. If you have done your job right, they won’t have sex until they are ready. And most people have sex for the first time around age 17, so it’s safer to be prepared!

Adding hormones in my girl’s body? Isn’t this harmful? No. Adding a very low dose of well researched hormones to their bodies will not harm them in any major way. Having a baby will probably harm them in many major ways. And remember, she needs to make this decision with her healthcare provider, not you, or me, since we are not medical experts (no matter how much one of us wishes she was).

What? No period? This must be harmful! Nope! Women in agrarian cultures have 150 periods in their lifetime. How many periods do we have in a lifetime? 450. It is fine not to have a period every month. The body absorbs the uterine lining and life goes on. This is a major selling point for LARC, but not everyone has this awesome side effect, so again, medical people need to be involved. 

Encourage her to masturbate. If she knows her own body and what feels good, it’ll make her overall sex life 100 times better. Also, she’ll be able to let loose some of her pent up desires and be less likely to think her boyfriend made her feel so good. Of course this means she needs to know about the almighty clitoris. Seriously — ALMIGHTY! Learn more here.

Boys want what girls want – love, connection and the status that comes with having a partner. Boys are not uncontrollable beasts who only want one thing. They really want what most girls want — to love and be loved. If sex is on the menu, great, but given a choice boys say they’d rather have the status of a girlfriend than sex.

Porn is not the Kama Sutra. Boys and girls use porn as “sex ed” and believe what they see is real, live, actual-factual sex. When, in fact it’s real, live actual-factual acting. She should know porn starts in the middle of a sexual encounter and it’s usually a man’s fantasy of what sex should be like. Sure, the various parts are getting stuck in a variety of holes, and women really do have sex with other women and men and another man, and then one more woman, but this is fairly rare and not for beginners. Also, let’s not forget that in porn, everyone, always, has lots, and lots of really hot anal. Real sex involves communication, clear consent, give-and-take, and, especially in the early days of learning how to have sex, mainly oral and vaginal sex. Mamas, just imagine if the first time you had sex it was with a guy who thought he knew how to have sex because he’d watched tons of porn. My hoo-ha (not to mention my bum) is cringing, and I hope yours is too.

Consent means saying YES wholeheartedly. “No means no” is officially dead. “Yes means yes” is the new and improved model for consent. Your girl needs to know it’s very important she is clear about her desires when she’s getting busy. “Yes” is clear consent and she and her partner should openly discuss this. If alcohol or drugs are involved, consent cannot be given. See rule number one. This excellent little video does a great job of explaining consent. Feel free to watch it with your girl it’s great and funny.

Girls are as interested in sex as boys. We have all been sold truckload of crap regarding female sexuality and in his book, What Do Women Want? Adventures in the Science of Female Sexual Desire, Dan Bergner shines a new and much needed light on what’s really going on for women in the sex department. Your girl needs to know it’s perfectly normal for girls to have sexual feelings and to want to have sex — a lot! Their bodies are wired up for reproducing and often scream “GET ME LAID” at them, so they listen.

A sexual health educator for over 20 years, Amy Lang, MA teaches parents of all beliefs how to talk to kids of any age about the birds and the bees. She is the author of the award winning book Birds + Bees + YOUR Kids – A Guide to Sharing Your Beliefs About Sexuality, Love, and Relationships and Dating Smarts: What Every Teen Needs to Date, Relate or Wait. She created the lively and engaging video Birds + Bees + Kids – The Basics so parents can learn how to talk to their kids about sex and values without leaving the couch! Amy is still married to her first husband and they are getting the hang of parenting their teenage son. She lives in Seattle, WA. Learn more at 

Posted in Gender, Girls, How To Talk To Kids About Sex, Parenting Tips, Sexism, Teen Pregnancy, Teens | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

6 Reasons It’s Not Okay For Your Child To Use The Word “Sexy”

Have you noticed kids under the age of 12 or so using the word sexy? Does it make you squirm? It should. Here’s why.No SEXY

1) It’s not a kid word. The last time I checked, sex is not for children. Sex is for later in life, so this means the word “sexy” shouldn’t be used by children. Sexy has to do with sex.

2) Childhood is already over-sexualized. Our kids are exposed to so much adult-like sexual language, music, videos, TV and movies, it’s messing with their heads. Their hearts and minds aren’t ready for this level of information. When kids use this word, it contributes to this problem.

3) Hector the Molester wants your daughter to use this word. He is smart enough to know this isn’t a kid word. If you daughter doesn’t know this, and you let her think it means something like “pretty” it makes her vulnerable to his charms. He will tell her she’s sexy and she will like it. Until she doesn’t.

4) It’s creepy. Whenever I hear a child use the word, it freaks me out. Even if they are innocently singing along to “I’m Sexy And I Know It” I hate it. Ick.

5) Sexy, at its core, means “sexually attractive or stimulating.” On what planet is it okay for children to use a word that means “sexually attractive”? I know, I know, it can also be used to describe kitchens and cars, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.

6) People feel uncomfortable when kids use this word. This is just another version of #4, but they do – they feel uncomfortable when kids use this word because it’s not a word kids should be using.

What do you do when your kid is having a blast singing “I’m Sexy And I Know It” at the top of his lungs? You stop him and explain what “sexy” really means. You have a conversation about why kids shouldn’t use this word because sex isn’t for kids, people feel uncomfortable when kids use it and it’s kind of like a swear word when they do.

Tell them the “rule in your family” is this is not a kid word and they may not use it. Give them words they can use, like pretty, attractive, handsome, beautiful or cute. This is what they really mean anyway.

Learn more quick video tips for talking to your kiddos here.

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How To Respond To Comments About Planned Parenthood’s Disposal of Fetal Parts

PlannedParenthoodLast night during dinner at my delightful in-laws home, the subject of Planned Parenthood and Fetal Part-gate came up. Their equally delightful neighbor was appalled at the cavalier manner in which Dr. Deborah Nucatola discussed the disposal and donation of fetal parts post abortion. She didn’t understand how this woman could be so blasé, candid and direct about something so emotionally and politically charged.

Not me. I totally get it. Here’s the deal: she was talking about a part of her normal, regular, workaday life and she thought she was with colleagues who also see fetal part donation as a normal, regular part of their workaday life.

Think about how you talk about your work with your family and friends. Now think about how to you talk about your work with your co-workers. My guess is you have inside jokes, complain about clients, and make comments you would NEVER make in front of someone who didn’t work with you or in your industry. You would not say these things to an outsider because they would be misconstrued, possibly offensive and could get you fired, right?

Here is what you can say to other adults about Fetal Part-gate:

It occurred to me that she thought she was talking to colleagues about something they had in common and her casual manner tells me that she thought they were on the same page and she didn’t need to screen her comments.

This is just like when you make jokes and say things to your co-workers that you would never, ever say in public or to people outside of your work.

Planned Parenthood does considerably more good in the world than they do “bad.” In fact, through their work, they prevent an average of 550,000 pregnancies each year.

So, kindly shut the fuck up about this and talk to your kids about sex and do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t have to deal with an unplanned pregnancy.

Well…maybe not that last part.

And here’s what you can say to  your kids:

Sometimes, after a woman has an abortion, the doctor’s office will give the fetus to a company that does scientific research to cure or understand different medical conditions. Planned Parenthood has done this for years and this doctor made a mistake and talked to some people who were pretending to be from one of these companies.

They lied to her and because she thought they agreed with this policy she was very direct and open with them. Now a lot of people think Planned Parenthood makes a lot of money from this and are very upset about it. I think…

Obviously, you may need to explain to your kiddos what abortion is and your values about it. Here’s some help with that.

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How to Clarify Your Values about Sex So You Can Brainwash Your Children

When I was pregnant, Kerry, my spouse, and I would joke that our baby would be a football-playing-conservative-born-again-Christian as God’s punishment for our liberal, non-believer ways. So far, so good. Milo seems to be an anti-sports-liberal-atheist, just like his mama and papa. I guess this means we’ll end up in hell together! Yay! Values blog - rings

I know for a fact you want your children to think and believe the same things you do. If not exactly the same things, then some close approximation. When it comes to sexuality I bet you’d like your children to believe much of what you do about this fundamental part of life.

But, because it’s sex and sex is complex and confusing and personal and political, you may be a bit out of your element when it comes to articulating your beliefs about it. In my last post I gave you my super secret sex talks formula – Facts + Values – so you can have easy and effective talks with your kids.

The “facts” part is easy. The “values” part, not so much. Here’s the deal, you MUST be clear about your sexual values because this is the one and only part of all the information about sexuality your children will get that you and only you can and should provide. Your values are what you believe to be right or true about something and your kids need to know what you believe.

When you know your sexual values and talk openly about them with your child, you will influence their thinking about sex. This means you will influence their decision making about sex. This means you will be IN THEIR HEADS when things get hot and heavy (the world’s biggest turn-off, I’d like to point out).

Let’s take “sex before marriage” as an example. Many, many, many people believe, really and truly believe, sex should only happen within heterosexual marriage. This is a very common value and one that only 5% of Americans manage to live.

But here’s the thing – saying you believe sex is for marriage isn’t good enough. You need to explain why it’s for marriage (and “god says so” isn’t an answer; it’s a cop out). What is it about marriage that is so special? What’s going on, in a marriage, that makes it the best time to do the deed?

I do not share this value. I happen to think it’s kind of nuts, but that’s just me and my values. I think sex, especially the first time a person has sex, should be with someone they love, are in a committed, exclusive relationship with, have protection and it’s a whole hearted YES! for both parties.

I also like it when the people who are considering having sex are over the age of 18. I rarely get my way on this one considering the average age of first intercourse is 17.

And if you think it’s wrong to share your values with your child because you “want them to make their own decisions” I would like you to consider what would happen if you left them to their own devices for every meal they eat. They would make shitty choices 90% of the time.

Just like you don’t share every value your parents ever crammed down your throat, your  kids will develop their own values and beliefs anyway. If you talk about your sexual values chances are merely higher they will make better decisions about sex than you ever did.

I wrote a whole book about this very topic – clarifying your beliefs about sex, love and relationships. You can purchase the Kindle version here.

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How to Make a Sex Talk Super Simple and Effective

It’s really easy! Just use my magic formula: Facts + Values.

Fact = What it is. Effective talk blog - tampon
Value = What you believe about it.

Here’s what it looks like in action.

Boy: Mom, what’s a blow job?

Mom: Excellent question! A blow job is slang for oral sex on a guy. Oral sex is when one person puts their mouth on another person’s penis or vulva.

I believe oral sex isn’t something kids do because sex isn’t for kids.

It’s part of a committed sexual relationship, and not something done casually or in exchange for something else. It’s not something you EVER have to do.

Or, if you are doing what you are supposed to be doing and consistently starting sex talks, it looks like this:

Mom: Hey, boy-child, what do you know about tampons?

Boy: Gross, mom. Something with periods…?

Mom: Right! A tampon fits inside a girl or woman’s body and it captures the blood from her period. I believe tampons are one of the top five inventions of the 20th century.

See how easy this is? This strategy is one of the simplest ways to get a sex talk started.

And lucky you, I just gave you two scripts you can put to work!

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How to Talk To Preschool and Elementary Children About Sexual Abuse

Here you go – the magic words you need so you can talk to your kids about this shitty part of life. These scripts are just to get you started as this is an ongoing conversation you need to have with your youngsters.

A note of caution: if you were sexually abused as a child please do not revel this to your children until they are older (17+) and can handle the information. I believe children do not want or need to hear about our childhood traumas. They need to see us as whole and healthy and when you talk about your childhood trauma it can be very scary and upsetting to them because they do not have the emotional or mental capacity to handle this information.


If your child does not know about sex, then don’t say “sexual abuse” just skip it.

Early Childhood

Sometimes adults and even other kids will try to touch kids in their private areas to make themselves feel good. This is called sexual abuse. The adults who do this know it’s wrong and sometimes the kids do too, but not always. These are tricky people who will try to get kids to do things that are against our family rules.

Please tell me or another safe adult if someone tries to touch you this way. You won’t be in trouble and we will find help for the other person.

If sexual abuse ever happens to you, it’s important to know that it isn’t your fault. It’s never the kids’ fault and if you tell someone, they will make sure the person who is doing the abuse gets help. If that person doesn’t believe you, keep telling until someone does.

Please let me know if anyone wants you to keep a secret from me. We don’t keep secrets in our family. Surprises are okay, like a birthday present or special treat. Never keep a secret that feels sad, scary or bad.


In addition to the scripts above:

Sexual abuse can be uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s really important to talk about it. I want you to be safe and need to know if something like this happens to you or to one of your friends.

If a situation feels uncomfortable, wrong or even just a tiny bit strange to you, please tell me. It’s better to follow up on those feelings than to ignore them. You might get an “uh-oh!” feeling in your belly. Pay attention to this when it happens. It’s your intuition telling you something isn’t right.

Can you think of a time you were doing something and you had this kind of “uh-oh” feeling? I remember one time when…[tell a tale of when you ignored your intuition].

For more information about sexual behavior in children, child sexual abuse and red flags in adults and kids, check out

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How To Talk To Your Children about Caitlyn nee Bruce Jenner and Being Transgender

If you’ve been under a rock for the last several months, you may have missed that Olympian and reality TV star Bruce Jenner has come out as transgender. Her new name is Caitlyn and she is finally living her life as nature intended – as a woman.

The idea of “gender” is confusing and “transgender” even more, so you need to get a little learning under your belt and talk about this with your children.

Here’s my handy-dandy and simplistic guide to explaining gender. goldfish-32441_1280

SEX is about biology and physiology. Are you male or female? Think about this in terms of fish. Do we talk about “women” and “men” fish? Nope, because that’s gender.  We say male and female. See, biology or physiology.

Some people’s sex isn’t so clearly defined and we used to call those folks “hermaphrodite.” Times and language change and the preferred word is now “intersex.”

GENDER is social, cultural and emotional and there are two parts: identity (how you feel and connect to the gender role available to you) and expression (how you dress, talk or behave).

The words we use to describe someone’s gender are woman and girl; man and boy.

TRANSGENDER is when someone, like Caitlyn, is born in the wrong physical body for their gender identity. How they feel on the inside (like a boy or girl) doesn’t align with their sex (male or female).

CISGENDER is when someone’s gender is aligned with their sex. Like me, for example. I am in a female body and I feel like a woman on the inside and I related to and connect to the things most women and girls like and do in our culture.

Now, I have simplified things here to one degree or another because this is a complex issue that has many facets and intersecting ideas.

If you think that being transgender or something other than the typical genders most of us are familiar with, is wrong or bad, it is imperative you find a way to talk about this with your kids that isn’t negatively biased. Children who are out of “norm” with regard to any aspect of their sexuality, generally have a tough time. They have an even tougher time when their parents are assholes about it, whatever it may be. Don’t be an asshole.

Part of the reason I know what I do about this, is because of this great infographic, The Genderbread Person 3.0.

Here’s what to say:

Early Childhood – under age 8

“Sometimes, when people are born, their bodies don’t match how they feel on the inside. They might have a boy body, but feel like a girl on the inside. This is called transgender. It can be super hard and confusing for the person if they feel this way.

 Most people feel comfortable in their body and are happy to be a boy or a girl.”

 Tween – 9 and older

“Have you heard about Bruce Jenner? How he changed his name to Caitlyn? He actually changed a ton more. Here’s the deal.

Your “sex” is whether you are male or female. Your “gender” is how you feel on the inside – like a boy or a girl. Gender also has to do with social roles and our culture, like women wear dresses and there is work that people still think are better for men or for women.

When someone is transgender, like Caitlyn, …(insert script from above).

What do you think about this?”

 Be sure to talk about your values about this as well.

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