Nadine Thornhill Sexuality Educator

Who Can Help You?

this can be really tough to think about as a parent, but we don’t have to telegraph our concerns to our children. For the most part, we’re helping them identify people that they like and trust. In many ways, this is a positive talk.

Do You Have A Crush On Anyone?

It’s not unusual for youth at this age to have their first crushes. Your tween might have one, or they might not. Or they might have one and not want to tell you about it. Which is fine. You don’t have to push. Just the simple fact of you asking the question lets them know that you are open to talking about it

In Our Family What Parts Of Our Body Do We Keep Covered?

This conversation is all about your family’s values around modesty. There’s no right or wrong answer here. You get to set the dress code that works in your home. Some families are fine with total nudity around the house. Other families choose to keep their bodies covered virtually all the time.

What's It Like For Gay And Trans Kids At Your School?

Gender and sexual diversity is part of the human experience. If your child identifies as lesbian, gay, trans, non-binary, bisexual, pansexual or someone other than a heterosexual cisgender person, this is a chance to open up a conversation about their what their daily life is like.

What Makes You Feel Happy?

It’s such a simple question, but learning to identify feelings and where those feelings come from can really help kids express themselves and their needs now, and as they grow up.

Why Do You Think Some People Choose To Remain Abstinent?

Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here. A comprehensive approach to teaching kids about sexuality includes conversations about not having sex. So today’s question is for your teens: “Why do you think some people choose to remain abstinent?”

In an earlier video I mentioned that by age 17, about two-thirds of youth have had a partnered sexual experience. Which means that by age 17, about a third of youth have never had sex with a partner. Also, not all teens try partnered sex stay remain sexually active throughout adolescence. Conclusion: there are a whole lot of teens out there who aren't having sex. I have another video on that topic and you can check it out here.

Why abstinence?

There are a lot of reasons teens choose abstinence. They may not feel ready for a sexual relationship. Or they try sex and realize that it’s not what they want at this point in their life.

Some teens want to wait until they reach a specific life milestone - prom, high school graduation, college, marriage, etc - before they have sex. Some teens have deeply held spiritual or religious beliefs that prohibit having sex.

There are teens are asexual, meaning they don’t have any desire for sex.

There are also teens who are abstinent because of circumstance. They may have an injury or an illness that makes sex difficult. They may be on medication that affects their sexual desire, or sexual functioning. Some teens would love to have sex in theory, but they don’t have a sexual partner in their life at the moment. There are teens are extremely busy with school, work, extracurricular activities and/or family responsibilities and they don’t have time for sex.

It’s okay to be abstinent Sometimes it seems like the whole world wants sex, needs sex, is having sex. But we aren’t. Abstinence normal and valid whether it’s a choice or by circumstance. We can remind teens that abstinence is that not only is abstinence common amongst teens, a lot of people have periods throughout their lives when they don't have much or any sex.

It's also valuable for teens who are or have been sexually active to know that they aren’t locked into that choice.  Sex isn’t chips. Once you start, you can stop...for any reason, at any time. These conversations can help youth understand that different people have different sexual (and non-sexual) experiences. Your teen doesn’t have to make choices about their sexuality based on trying to be “normal” or what doing “everyone else” is doing. There’s no such thing as normal when it comes to sex. There’s just what works or what's happening for each person..and for many teens, what's happening is abstinence.

If you have any comments or further questions about the topic, leave me a comment below. If you’re interested in booking a workshop or a personal coaching session, please get in touch here.

Who Do You Think Can Make A Baby?

As I mentioned in the first post of this series, it’s useful to revisit the topic how babies are made several times throughout childhood and adolescence because it lets us add a few new details about this relatively complicated biological process each time we talk to our kids.

Do You Know What Pornography Is?

Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions To Ask Your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here.

Digital technology has created a reality where porn exists in abundance and access is easier than ever. Tweens are probably more likely to stumble upon porn by accident that to seek it out on purpose. Regardless, if your tweens are online you may want to give them a heads up that porn is out there.

VIDEO

Tech smarts, sex smarts. Many sources report that the average age of first exposure to internet porn is 11 years old. That may be an alarming statistic for many of us with kids; however, no one is quite sure where it originated. Even if we assume it’s true, it doesn’t tell us whether that allegedly early “exposure” to porn comes from trying to find it on purpose.Many a curious tween has been shocked by triple x-rated Google search results. Kids watch watching porn in early adolescence is concerning, but having questions about sex is very normal.

Navigating the Internet and curating online information, especially when it comes to sex, can be really tricky, especially for youth. When I was in early puberty, porn lived on the top shelves of the convenience store magazine shelves, the back room at the video place, and on scrambled TV channels. I literally couldn’t see it if I wasn't trying. Today phones, tablets, laptops and other internet-enabled rectangles make accidental exposure to porn is much easier for our kids. Even if your kid doesn’t have their own device - there’s a reasonable chance that they have friends, classmates or older siblings who do. The only real way to guarantee that tweens never sees porn would be to personally supervise all of their online interactions, something that's virtually impossible these days.

Porn isn't for kids...but knowledge is! If your tween has never heard of pornography, you might explain that they’re movies, pictures or stories about adults having sex. You can also emphasize that pornography is made for grown ups and it’s not for kids.

This can also be a good time to talk about some of your personal values around pornography. I’d actually like to share a few of mine right now. I’m not categorically anti-porn and I think there are positive ways for adults to enjoy it. That having been said, it isn’t something I want my kid watching. I hope they'll to wait until they've grown-up to decide whether or not it’s something they want to watch.

You can let your tween know that it’s normal to be curious about sex and sexuality... but pornography isn’t the same as real-life sex. Porn is like any other movie, fictional story or magazine shoot. They use actors and models, make-up, editing, even scripts and special effects!  Everything is designed to catch an audience’s attention and show a fantasy version of sex.  One of the reasons porn isn’t appropriate for kids is that it can give them a very distorted idea about what sex is like or should be like.

If you'd like more tips on how to talk to youth about porn, I have another video here.

If you have any comments or further questions about the topic, leave me a comment below. If you’re interested in booking a workshop or a personal coaching session, please get in touch here.

What Parts Of Your Body Can You Name?

Children being able to name their genitals properly is foundational sexual knowledge. It’s information that kids can use when they're young, and then build on as they move through their childhood and adolescence.

"What Do You Know About STIs?"

there’s a lot to say about STIs. It’s far easier and effective for us to put STIs on our kids’ radars early so that we have the option of discussing it over time, rather than slamming them with one massive safer sex lecture.

"How Can You Let Someone Know You're Angry With Them?"

Learning to express anger, sadness, upset with others in appropriate ways is a really important foundational relationship skill. For children, it’s something that will serve them in their relationships with friends, family and their community. Later on, it’s a skill they can bring into any romantic or sexual relationships they might have.

"What Do You Think Are Good Reasons To Have Sex?"

When it comes to having sex, adults often give teens the advice “wait until you’re ready”. But what does “ready” mean? So today's question is one you can ask the wonderful teenage kids in your life: "What do you think are good reasons to have sex?

"What's Your Favourite Social Media Platform?"

As adults, we sometimes worry about what the young folk are getting up to online. Concerns about our kids’ safety and well-being never go away entirely, but learning where your kid is hanging out online and what goes on in those digital spaces can help soothe a bit of our parental anxiety

"How Do You Think Babies Are Made?"

There are a few great reasons to start a conversation with your little person about babies and where they come from sooner rather than later!

Three Ways To Help Your Teen Avoid Unintended Pregnancy

A couple weeks ago we talked about how we can support our teens if they're dealing with an unintended pregnancy, and last week we looked at pregnancy options. This week I’ll round things out with a few parenting tips that may help your teen significantly reduce their risk of pregnancy in the first place.

How To Help Your Teen Deal With A Pregnancy

If your teen is having the type of sex where a penis meets a vagina - even if they're using birth control - pregnancy is a possibility. An unintended pregnancy doesn't mean you and your kid aren't great people or a strong family. It does mean you have a big challenge in front of you. Find out how you can help your teen face it head on!