5 Questions About Sexuality that Children Have
If you have a child, you should be prepared for questions about sexuality from them at any time. It’s important that the topic doesn’t take you by surprise and that you have the right answer for each question. And, if necessary, some concrete substantiation in a language that’s appropriate to your child’s level of understanding.
Sexuality is a universal topic and, for this reason, questions always point to the same aspects. So, you can anticipate and learn how to deal with them right now. We can help you!
What questions about sexuality do children have?
The first thing you need to know is that these questions come at any time or place. At home, at the grocery store, in the park, or at a birthday party.
That’s why the best strategy for answering them is to start by listening carefully to your child. This way, you can find out how much they know about the subject. Then, without making speeches, you should answer them in the most natural way possible in order to start promoting healthy sexuality from the beginning.
“When talking to children about sexual topics, it’s important to maintain a calm and constant tone of voice…”.
– Educator Yolanda Gallardo –
Here come the questions!
1. How do babies get into a mom’s tummy?
If there’s a pregnant member of the family or mom is expecting a baby brother or sister, this question will come up sooner or later. The age of the child is a determining factor when it comes to elaborating a satisfactory and sufficiently clear answer.
The most important thing when faced with questions about sexuality from children is not to lie and to call things by their name.
If your little one is 2 or 3 years old, you can explain that mom has an egg in her womb and that dad has special cells called spermatozoa. And that when both come together, a new life is created.
If the child is older, tell them about the genitals of the different sexes and tell them how the union of these cells occurs. In intimacy and while sharing a loving moment, daddy’s penis enters mommy’s vagina to give life to the new baby.
2. How do babies come out of mommies’ tummies?
If the child is 2 to 3 years old, tell them about vaginal birth and cesarean section without too much detail.
For children older than 4, it’s good practice to describe the difference between the two processes and what body parts are involved in each.
3. Why don’t girls have penises?
You need to name the body parts with the correct words. It’s not a good idea to make up nicknames for the vagina or penis, just because it’s less cumbersome or uncomfortable for you.
When children ask this question, you can explain the differences between the sexes and why this difference is essential for reproduction.
4. When can a girl become a mom?
A girl will become a mom when she grows up and is strong enough to carry and feed her child. She’ll have a partner with whom she can father and raise the baby. Also, a home and, in general, the things necessary for the child to grow up healthy and happy.
In the book No hay lugar como el hogar para la educación sexual ( There’s No Place Like Home for Sex Education), there’s a dialogue of a boy who wonders,“Can I have a baby when I grow up?” And the suggested answer is:
“Only a woman can have a baby. She has a place special place in her body that’s called the uterus where the baby grows up. But dads help make one. You can be a dad when you grow up if you want to.”
5. What’s sex?
Through television or other technologies, young children may see scenes of sexual intercourse. They may also hear about them when other older children mention them.
So, when the question comes to you, you should ask a little more about it. It’s important to know how deep the question goes and how far your child’s current knowledge extends.
It’s best to continue the conversation by asking again: What do you think it is?
Once you detect their level of understanding, explain that this is an intimate, loving encounter between adults. If the child is older than 7, you can talk about intercourse, intimacy, privacy, and the importance of mutual consent in sexual relations.
But make it clear that if they need to know more about it, they only have to ask you, and you’ll provide the answers they need.
How to answer the questions about sexuality that children have?
So far, we’ve explained how to answer each of the above questions in order to favor communication with your child. We recommend the following tips to put into practice when the time comes:
- Don’t laugh or make fun of their questions, even if they’re funny and witty. If you do this, your child will feel embarrassed or think you’re not taking them seriously.
- Answer truthfully, with simple and brief words. There’s no need to give a lecture on the subject.
- Adapt your answers to your child’s age.
- Although it’s a serious subject, try to speak naturally and without concern. Nothing bad is happening and you’re just responding to the natural curiosity of a developing child.
- Always end with a question: Do you want to know more? Is your question answered?
- Pay attention to the conversation and evaluate the child’s gestures to see if they understand or want to ask you something else.
- Be prepared for the “next chapters”. Children often ask questions, reflect on the answers, probe with other children, observe, and then come back for more!
Remember that when you answer children’s questions about sexuality, you’re forming sexually responsible people from an early stage. This is fundamental for their safety and self-care.
In addition, you’re showing them that you’re a reliable source and that you’re available to answer their questions, no matter when or where they arise.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- American Academy of Pediatrics. Cómo hablar de sexo con su hijo pequeño. HealthyChildren. [Internet] Última actualización 2018. Disponble en: https://www.healthychildren.org/Spanish/ages-stages/preschool/Paginas/Talking-to-Your-Young-Child-About-Sex.aspx
- Gallardo, Y. P. D., Vásconez, L. A. C., & Barragán, M. F. C. (2019). Conductas sexuales y emocionales infantiles. Revista Boletín Redipe, 8(11), 124-134. https://revista.redipe.org/index.php/1/article/view/858/781
- Gossart, M. (2002). No hay lugar como el hogar para la educación sexual. http://biblioteca.udgvirtual.udg.mx/jspui/bitstream/123456789/679/1/No%20hay%20lugar%20como%20el%20hogar%20para%20la%20educaci%c3%b3n%20sexual.pdf
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Educación sexual: Cómo hablar sobre sexo con los niños pequeños y en edad preescolar. Mayo Clinic [Internet] Última actualización Jun 2019. Disponible en: https://www.mayoclinic.org/es-es/healthy-lifestyle/sexual-health/in-depth/sex-education/art-20044104
- Moya Dabed, C. La Sexualidad Infantil en la Primera Infancia. Chile crece contigo. [Internet] Disponible en: https://www.crececontigo.gob.cl/columna/la-sexualidad-infantil-en-la-primera-infancia/ [consultado agosto 2021]