Expert encourages parents to open 'highly stigmatised' sex talk with kids as young as 10

Parent talking to their child
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One sex expert is detailing how parents can bring up the “highly stigmatised” and often awkward talk about the birds and the bees. The University assistant professor in psychology gained notoriety on TikTok after sharing her method by documenting how she puts it into practice parenting her own sons.

The mum-of-three has now released a book delving into extreme detail for parents on how to approach the subject with their children, titled The Birds, the Bees, and the Elephant in the Room. Among some of her recommendations include bringing up hygiene and masturbation first and noting that some parents may be able to bring up the subject when their children are as young as 10.

In the book, Rachel noted that “self-exploration”, or masturbation, has been “highly stigmatised in many cultures” but insisted that parents approaching the subject proactively can be incredibly beneficial for their children. She writes, according to Elite News: “Parents’ proactive choices can both keep their children safe and potentially identify children who have been made unsafe.”

“While some kids may be ready and willing to have these conversations at 10 or 11, some aren’t – some might be more receptive at 12, 13, or 14. However, if they haven’t expressed a willingness by about 15, it should (in most cases) just be stated. Guidance around self-exploration should be free of shame, require privacy, and focus on hygienic practices.”

Understanding the struggle to find the right words for the big talk, Rachel’s book contains a few sample scripts that parents can use to open that channel of communication. One example for parents of boys emphasises the importance of safe sex and self-exploration while ensuring the child’s privacy.

Rachel suggests opening the talk with: “I wanted to let you know there is a box of condoms under the bathroom sink for you. It’s really important that you get used to how condoms feel, because they’re one of the best ways to protect yourself when you get older and start having sex with a partner.

“I have one here and I will show you how it works. If you choose to use the condoms while you explore, it might help you get used to the feeling and can also help you not have to clean up as much after you’re done. I won’t ask you about them or where they are going, but I will check the box every so often and refill them for you. If you want to know more about how they work or if you’d like me to get a different kind, you can always ask me or leave me a note.”

Among the more controversial recommendations Rachel has made both online and in her book includes introducing the subjects or oral and anal sex in the birds and bees chat, stressing the need for lubrication and her Number 12 Rule around dating.