Column: sexual education

Column sexual education

Antonio and Anna couldn’t agree on how they were going to handle the sexual education of their two children. Antonio comes from a family where they talked about sex from a very young age. His father always had a younger lover and he suspects his mother had a boyfriend as well. His sister got pregnant when she was 18 years old and even after the birth of her daughter, she maintained her very free-spirited way of looking at sex and always acts accordingly. Sexuality was always a welcome topic in their family. They were allowed to enjoy it and be curious about it.

Anna on the other hand comes from a family where they hardly spoke about sex at all. She rarely saw her parents being intimate with each other. She explored her own sexuality with the sexual education she got at school as her foundation. And to be honest, she believes she did very well. She notices that she judges the way the topic of sexuality was handled in Antonio’s family. She thinks his sister wouldn’t have become a mother at such a young age if her parents wouldn’t have been so open about sex.

That’s why Anna believes they definitely have to do it differently with their own children: she and Antonio shouldn’t proactively talk to them about it. If there was a question, they could talk about it, but not too much. They would find out the rest at school during their biology classes, or after that in their adult lives.

Antonio didn’t agree with this at all. He saw it as his duty to give his children more information. Looking back, he might have had a very free-range and open upbringing, but as a result, he was extremely good at connecting with his sexual self.

And this is where Antonio and Anna have been stuck for 12 years. It didn’t seem like a big problem 12 years ago, because they didn’t have children back then. Now their children are 11 and 9 years old. And the only message they had send to their kids up until that moment was that sexuality is a very complicated subject that they couldn’t agree on. But do Antonio and Anna realise that they have been sending clear messages about sexuality to their children for years by acting this way?

Sexual education is also about the small messages you send. The implicit remarks and reactions. Every time you don’t answer something, or there’s a conflict between the parents about which answer to give, you’re already sending a message. In the meantime, Antonio and Anna’s children didn’t have a clue what to do with sex, if they came across it in their life at all yet. Apparently, there wasn’t any room for it and it only caused conflict between their parents.

It seems to me that this wasn’t what Anna and Antonio had in mind every time they talked about the sexual education of their children. And yet, in the meantime this was exactly the feeling they created with their children.

Also read: The importance of talking about your sexuality with your daughter

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