How to Talk About Sex with Your Parents (Yes, Really)

How to Talk About Sex with Your Parents (Yes, Really)

Created on 02/08/2018
Updated on 13/10/2022
Think back to before your sex toy collection and list of bedroom trysts rounded out to about the same number. Imagine that cringe-worthy moment when your pre-teen self was sat down for the infamous “talk.” Are you still getting shivers just thinking about mom or dad uttering anatomical textbook terms like penis and vagina? Or maybe you're like me, and the topic of sex was so incredibly awkward and seemingly inappropriate that your parents left sex-ed up to a clique of the neighborhood 10-year-olds – or worse, the United States' scarily inaccurate, abstinence-only sex education program. Unless you lucked out and wound up with aging hippie parents who believed in free-range child rearing before it became a trend, your sex talk (or lack thereof) probably resembled one of the laughably sad situations above. Although you most likely stumbled through puberty, you eventually found your way to becoming the sexually empowered, vibrator-owning person you are now. But that still doesn't make talking about sex feel any less weird when your parents are around. If you've never had that magical BFF relationship with your 'rents, there's no time like adulthood to conjure some potentially awkward silences in the name of self-growth. After all, your parents have to admit to having had sex at least once (or more, depending on your sibling count). There's nothing like a little bit of sexual humanity to build a worthwhile bond with the folks whose screwing ended in your birth.

Wait, Why Am I Talking Sex With My Parents Again?

You're old enough to buy porn, cigarettes, and alcohol, so why the hell do you need to bring up your sex life with your aging parental units? Because ejaculation and orgasm are as normal and necessary as other fairly embarrassing bodily functions like peeing, pooping, and menstruating. This stuff isn't humiliating by nature. We've been taught – through playground jokes all the way to societal, media-enforced taboos – that what concerns our “private parts” should remain just that: private. And go figure, masturbation and sex come right along for the ride. I'm not saying you should shout about your massive dump in the middle of a family dinner any more than you should loudly announce last night's hot round of doggy style during brunch with mom. But if you're hankering to be more open about your lifestyle, broaching sexual topics with your parents can build those special sort of bonds that only adult conversation can bring. Maybe you've known you're LGBTQ+ for years and it's finally the right time to come out. Or maybe you and your polyamorous partner have just found your dream girl or guy, and you're tired of pretending to be a white-picket-fence couple. Or hell, maybe you just want to giggle with your mom over your latest vibe purchase. Whatever the reason, there's nothing wrong with seeking a deeper connection with the closest blood relatives that knew you – quite literally – from the womb. It's just all about going about it the right way.

Keep it Low Key

Keep in mind that when your parents were your age, losing your virginity on your wedding night wasn't terribly uncommon, and concern for women's orgasms was practically nonexistent. Madre and padre can't help that they're old-fashioned; they're from a different time and place in the history of sexuality. Therefore, you might not want to run into a topic like butt sex with anal plugs a-blazing. No matter what sort of sexually expressive news you're breaking, choose a familiar, quiet, and private place to start the conversation. Nobody wants to be bombarded with potentially shocking news about their kid's sex life at your nephew's 2nd birthday party.

Speak Your Piece Simply and Frankly

Resist the nervous urge to spill your entire sexual history or gush about your overflowing bedside drawer of kink toys. Start simply with a single piece of information – So mom, I've been researching sex toys and the Eva is such a great toy for couples – to test the waters and go from there. If you're coming out of the closet as LGBTQ+ or consensually non-monogamous, the conversation might obviously be heavier than spilling the beans about your latest sex toy. Stick to your main point – Dad, I'm gay or Mom, I'm attracted to girls and guys – and definitely wait until it's just the two or three of you together.

Hold Space for Your Parents – Even if Their Response Isn't Perfect

Give parents space to absorb and process your adult sexual decisions. Once you've busted down those familial doors, it's important to leave room for silence while your parents decide on their response. Even if they're not super accepting at first, give them room to respond and voice their opinions. Remember, if they really love you, there's always room for understanding down the line. Once they've wrapped their heads around the fact that you're truly, finally an adult, they'll see that there's no longer any reason to stick to old childhood taboos about discussing sex.

Highlight the Positives

Even if you're 35, you'll always be their precious child, and sometimes it's not easy for parents to imagine their precious baby in the throes of amor. Explain that your choices are contributing to your happiness and evolution as a human, and tie it into their teachings if you can. Understand that they might only be able to show tolerance in the beginning rather than full acceptance, so keep showing them how your sexual choices make you the happy, productive person they always hoped you'd be.

Hope for the Best, and Know the Worst Doesn't Have to Last

Let's face it: some of you are reading this with rolling eyes and shaking heads, thinking, Are you kidding me? Talk to MY parents about sex?! Depending on how they were raised themselves, some folks are going to be ultra resistant to any sort of open conversation about sex. Don't push your old-school parents far past their comfort zone, which could lock the doors of progress forever. Bring up the topic gently and periodically until it's no longer a shock. You might be surprised at the results when you consider that even your old man and lady aren't too old to change their tune in their twilight years. Your parents know times have changed, and it's up to you to prove that it's all for the better. Now it's your turn to sit Mom and Dad down for “the talk” and play sex-ed teacher – because at this point, you can probably teach them a thing or two about the bedroom! Like all initially scary things, it's totally worth it to take the sex talk plunge, and you'll never feel closer to the two people who only want the best for the grown-up-sized human they created.

Leave a comment