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Seun Tuyo: Sex Education, Shyness & Serious Discussions

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Ever tried to imagine one day your young child or relative comes home and asks you (without bating an eyelid) what intercourse means. What will your response be? Hesitation at first; and then, if ever you muster the courage, you may ask “where did that come from?”. Some will transfer the responsibility to another with a “go and ask your mom/dad/teacher/uncle/aunty” response or “we’d talk about it later”. Very few people will actually sit down and deal with it.

The importance of sex education cannot be overemphasized; yet many parents shy away addressing sex-related questions from children. Usually, parents share tales of first tooth and first steps in a celebratory tone compared to sexual development. Some even oppose to sex education for pre-teens with a view that it will corrupt their mind, steal their innocence and open them up to promiscuity. They put it away and just never come around to discussing it. One day you are changing diapers and the next day, they are all grown up, I know. The speed at which puberty shows up these days does not even help (I am still trying to understand the science behind it). I know it can be difficult to decide when the right age is to discuss sexual issues, but if you really think this through, it is more of how comfortable you feel about the topic than the timing or age.

Children need to know that they can talk about these issues with an adult whom they can trust. Parents need to move past the stage of being shy and face the realities of the dangers of not providing the guidance. You find many teenagers having sex without the knowledge of their parents. Remember, there are alternative sources of information that may not be trustworthy or accurate- like friends, the Internet and the media. Get comfortable at discussing these topics with children as they go through the different sexual developmental stages. Toddlers are curious on how babies are formed, on why their bodies differ from mom and dads’. Teenagers are curious about relationships with the opposite sex, gender dissimilarities, sexual intercourse, pregnancy, and even marriage. They most often share these sorts of issues among themselves and exchange information, which may not be accurate.

There are many myths on sexual issues. I have heard tales of parents telling their female children that they will get pregnant if they were kissed or merely hugged. Such children come to believe that expressing physical affection is inappropriate. They eventually grow up not knowing the difference and living with the assumption that merely touching the opposite sex is a preamble to sexual intercourse. I am no professional at this but, here’s my two-pence on educating a child especially a pre-teen about sexual issues:

  • The conversation does not always have to come from the child; you can preempt it and cut out the shyness or embarrassment that may be stalling the conversation. You’d be amazed at what they already know.
  • When the questions come, do not laugh at them or feel embarrassed, offer age-appropriate responses and take time to correct any misconceptions.
  • You need to be honest and open. Do not just stop at answering, “why sex” with “to have kids”, explain the pros and cons. Let them know whom else they can approach on “embarrassing” tales if they ever needed an adult’s guidance and they were reluctant to come to you.
  • Nope! In case you are thinking that one lengthy conversation has done the trick; I tell you, you have to keep an open communication line and always go back on topics.
  • Master the art of sharing your own past tales the child can relate to. Puberty comes with a lot of physical, psychological and emotional changes that may be quite terrifying to an unprepared child.
  • I personally do not encourage fake names for body parts at a certain age. Call it what it is, explain which parts are private and teach them about “the secret touch” not been acceptable.

A few days ago, a friend sent me an email, here’s a summary,

His wife brought up a discussion about her friend who had earlier visited with an issue. The lady has a 14-year-old daughter who is quite big for her age. She had been going through her daughters’ school bag earlier that day and found a condom. She scolded her daughter on the assumption that the girl was sexually active. After he heard, he decided to give the girl a chance to hear her out. So he called her and she reiterated her explanation of not been sexually active and said the condoms were used to teach sex education the previous year in her class. He described the condom as old and tatty, definitely not new. He went on to discuss with her mom and asked if she would rather have her daughter carry a condom or not? Considering the fact that if truly she is sexually active and has a condom in hand, that simply gives a level of assurance that she has taken an educative conclusion to sex (not that he supports her getting sexually active at such an age though).

My friend, whose story I shared has said he will rather have a child who is sexually aware and educated than have one that has no clue or has the wrong approaches. I believe that it is ok to assume that children (teenagers) are not ready for sex BUT it is safer to provide information and guidance on sexuality, these include, but is not limited to, abstinence, contraceptive methods, and sexually transmitted diseases. This way they are well armed when they are ready, otherwise, they will make more costly mistakes.

What do you think?

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Spotmatik

Seun Tuyo is interested in social development. She loves to interact with people and has a desire to make a profound and positive impact around the world. She suffers moments of weaknesses at the sight of a cold bottle of Coca-cola and Chocolates. Feel free to reach her on twitter and instagram @seuntuyo.

26 Comments

  1. Will

    July 2, 2014 at 9:28 am

    Nice piece with deep message. Keep it up!

  2. essoak

    July 2, 2014 at 9:46 am

    I read every word of this article processing pictures of how I would handle this issue with my kids. I sincerely wish my parents had read this sort of writeup in their time, I’m sure they would have done things differently…I had to practically do the sex education thing myself…quite sad cos I’m now unlearning the wrong ideas of sexuality I’d taken in on my own. Good job Seun Tuyo!

  3. Seun Tuyo

    July 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Thank you Will and Essoak. It is never late to make the change.

  4. Joy Babasola

    July 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Beautiful right up dear. Children start to understand from 4 months of age. We need to teach them these things so they don’t learn by experimenting. There are books and CDs by Pastor Praise Fowowe. Very explicit and to the point. Well done dear.

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

      Thank you Joy

  5. Peaches

    July 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Nice one Seun.. Glad you did this write up.. Like you’ve rightly said the media and internet play a huge role in educating children. I have a four year old and when he touches my tummy (Bump) I let him know there are babies in there (LOL) its a gradual thing, no point is using the stork story…. But honestly, we really need to educate our kids as they grow up and reach certain milestones in the development… I for one will let my kids in on my experience on this matter.. My mum and dad just dismissed it alll… Thank God for my own independent education on SEX….. (As there more to sex ed than just the birds and bees, is now sexual orientation, transgender issues, paedohiles and other horribles topics thats tagged with SEX.) God help us…

    BTW new BN page is cool 🙂

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Amazing Peaches, thank you

  6. Elareall

    July 2, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    This is just what we need for our kids…….Thanks for this great piece. God bless you real good.

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      Amen and God bless you too Elareal

  7. Feyi Tuyo

    July 2, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Lovely write up…weldone omo Tuyo

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Thank you Feyi

  8. Iyobosa Aduwa

    July 2, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Nice one luv! U ve said it all. God bless u. Do u know I was a victim in 2009, when my lil nephew who was in basic 3 then asked me, what is d meaning of sex? Instead I gave him d gender meaning, his reply was he knew dat meaning, I shld give d other meaning. I shy away from it n called him mum to tell him d meaning. It was his parents dat educated him on it.

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:37 pm

      Glad he eventually got the information. We need courage to deal with these issues, Thank you

  9. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    July 2, 2014 at 5:07 pm

    Not to belittle your article, but your fondness for chocolate and coca cola…. HALLELUJAH!

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:36 pm

      Trust me, i am on the road to recovery.

  10. Bobosteke & Lara Bian

    July 2, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    I always pride myself on being frank and very basic, but when out of loneliness one Christmas afternoon, (I was preparing for examinations so my family travelled without me) I hauled my neighbors kids in (all boys) to prepare party rice in my mother’s kitchen I knew that I was not all what I cracked up to be. I, Bobo, got sex educated by a six year old. He described in detail what a “blue film” was and the attendant forward backwards motion which he proceeded to show me with apparent gusto and accompanying vocals. Did I mention that the other boys were nodding in agreement and adding further helpful tips when he forgot something? I was dicing pepper and he was washing the rice, the others were peeling spices, but I swear on the 7 gods of Westeros (help @Neo) that I knew right there and then the meaning of wanting the ground to open up and swallow me.

    I tried to act cool and suave like it was everyday a couple of 6-9 year olds gave me a sex talk, but my agape mouth gave me dead away. After I gathered myself together, I started asking the what, where and how they got to be so informed. 18+ movies, “uncu” leaving porn lying carelessly around and largely unbothered when they were watching with him, watching people they knew in the act (without their knowledge, of course), and irresponsible mothers who felt that the standard of morality was the same as it was in their households were the culprits.

    I could not deny their authority on the issue so I employed the ubiquitous “What’s the way forward?” routine. We talked condoms, protection and diseases and why they should wait a really long time to have sex and why their bodies were special and to be preserved, is what we did. Then we ate Christmas rice and drowned in Coca cola. But I have never forgotten that day.

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      Wow, beautiful ending Bobosteke & Lara Bian. Thank you

  11. okhumhale freda

    July 3, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Great piece babe. i was actually a victim but thank God for the grace to be able to handle it with my nephew…………

  12. flora

    July 3, 2014 at 10:17 pm

    Well done! Great write up. Reminds one of the TV series “I need to know ” which showed the difference between well informed children and those whose families didn’t speak to their kids about sex and sexuality. The result was that those uninformed made mistakes like getting pregnant. We all need to get involved by discussing with our youngsters as it will help them take informed decisions about life. No pretence, kids get more information about sex and sexuality from their peers. Should it be so? Every parent, teachers and guardians must do the needful. Some school of thought feel the subject should be included in school’s curriculum. How about that? Well the important thing is that the subject should be discussed with young ones so they do not get it from the wrong sources. Kudos to you Seun!

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you Mom.

  13. Steego

    July 5, 2014 at 10:26 pm

    STuyo, nice one. We need to get to grips with this issue of making our children sexually aware by educating them. Most parents will hide behind religion and not educate their children, forgetting that these children need to be educated and then prayed for. Weather we parents like it or not these children are going to grow and they will have to cross those bridges.
    Using the Dutch, Swedish and Belgian experience. The teenagers are very well educated sexually, the effect of this knowledge about sex is that the teenagers get to be sexually active by choice and safely too. And the percentage of STD and teenage pregnancies is very low as compared to a place like the UK.
    Like you rightly said Seun, communication is key to helping these children of ours. And I will end with a Yoruba saying, when it comes to sex etc.. ”Agba wa bura ti ewe o ba se e ri o” (the young must grow, but let us arm them as they do)

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you Steego.

  14. Afue

    August 1, 2014 at 10:35 am

    The message has stuck. This pièce is awesome.

    • Afue

      August 1, 2014 at 10:36 am

      Nice one!

    • Seun Tuyo

      August 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm

      Thank you Afue

  15. Seun Tuyo

    August 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    Thank you Freda

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