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    What Is Sex Positive Parenting? A Primer For Parents (And Non-Parents), Directly From Experts

    Raising safe, informed, consent-conscious kids starts at home.

    Sex positive parenting is being talked about more and more openly these days — and it makes sense as to why.

    Sex positive parenting is an important and complex topic — and despite not being a parent myself, I found myself wanting to know and learn more. To do that, I reached out to two experts: Melissa Pintor Carnagey (she/they) is a mother, sexuality educator, and the founder of Sex Positive Families.

    Portrait of Melissa Pintor Carnagey

    Rayka Kumru (she/they) is a sexual wellness expert with over a decade under her belt as an educator and communications consultant.

    Portrait of Rayka Kumru

    Let's start with the basics! According to the experts, here's a rundown of what exactly sex positive parenting involves...

    Family sitting on couch and reading books

    1. Sex positive parenting is teaching that sexuality is a natural and healthy part of childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.

    Melissa Pintor Carnagey is teaching online about the genital parts of human body

    2. Children benefit so much from the space we can create for them to discover how they wish to express their gender and to learn what they are passionate about, free from rules about what boys, girls, or transgendered people “should” be like.

    Kids arranging multicolor speech bubbles

    3. It's important to teach children about their bodies, the correct names of their genitals, and sexuality. This protects them against sexual abuse and also allows them to become autonomous adults who can describe any health problems they might have.

    4. Children can develop the skills to communicate about sexual consent, boundaries, and desire while they are growing up with a sense of sexuality as a normal and pleasurable part of being alive.

    5. Taking a balanced approach to talking about sexual health with our children means including the positive aspects of sexuality, such as the pleasure it can bring, and this can have profound impacts. This can set the stage for our children to have meaningful and pleasurable relationships of all kinds as they grow.

    6. Informed kids grow into empowered and prepared adults. Open, shame-free talks and education help them get there.

    7. Some children ask questions about sexuality, others don’t. Melissa says that if we’ve hushed, winced, nervously laughed, or flat-out avoided talks, our children pick up on this early and they adapt. This can create a learned discomfort.

    A quote on purple background

    8. Our beliefs shape how we think and talk about things and they inform how we treat others. One of the most common questions Rayka gets from parents is: “What do I need to know in order to talk with my kids about sexual health and their bodies?”

    Many Orange and green question marks with orange background

    Some of the things parents and caregivers can do to explore their values is ask themselves questions such as:

    • What do I think about a specific topic about sexuality? (For example: masturbation)
    • What are some things I learned as a child about my body and sexuality?
    • How did I express myself? How did the adults in my life react?
    • What are some things I wish I knew growing up about my body, relationships, and sexuality?
    • Did I experience any consequences because I acted a certain way?
    • What do I want my child/a child in my life to know about their body/puberty/sexual health/relationships?

    9. Rayka also reiterates that this a complex topic — one that's not meant to be black or white.

    10. At this point, we can think about how we can do the work. It is always an option to get expert help. If we don’t know where to start, there are many resources available to families that make the talks fun, inclusive, and less intimidating as well.

    A variety of learning resources including books and a laptop

    What is your experience with sex positive parenting? Let me know in the comments below!