I love hearing about kids that are making logical connections about sex. ‘But vaginas don’t have tastebuds’ was an 11 year olds response when her older brother declared that he had been to a store that had grape flavored condoms.
First I thought about how smart she is. Then it reminded me of bubble gum flavoured tylenol. I can’t explain that connection – perhaps it was about hiding the taste of something, which then made me think of penis-flavored condoms. Finally, I thought about how amazing it would be if vaginas did have tastebuds.
Okay, that wasn’t the end of my thinking. I thought about how her parents took the opportunity to tell her about oral sex and the need to make safe decisions (to prevent STI transmission) when engaged in a friendly foray of fellatio.
Introducing condoms to kids can happen pretty early. And opportunities come around fairly regularly, like when you pass that aisle at Shopper’s Drug Mart, or when you see a spent one at the local park…
Before you talk about condoms, kids need to have some understanding of intercourse and the amazing potential results of sperm entering a woman’s vagina. It’s also good to give them a head’s up that intercourse isn’t always about making babies but about feeling good. Once they have these two concepts in their small but agile brains, you can talk about how to make sure the pleasure doesn’t turn into an unwanted pregnancy or infection.
Condom convo starters
When talking to kids under 10:
- Explain that a condom is put on an erect penis before intercourse
- That when a man ejaculates, the condom catches the semen, so it doesn’t go inside the other person’s body
- That the condom is thrown away after it is used
- Since condoms hold the additional value of decreasing the transmission of STIs during vaginal, anal and oral sex, it’s not a bad idea to introduce this added benefit. You could say something like ‘Just like when you have a cold and its important to sneeze into your sleeve so you don’t make other people sick, people sometimes have infections that can be passed along during sex and condoms help to prevent infections from spreading. (In that vein, if the conversation happens as you pass a used condom, its a great time to let kids know that just like other people’s used tissues, you don’t want to touch a cum-filled safe.)
- If you haven’t introduce the concept of oral (or anal) sex to your kids, you might want to ease into it. (Pun intended.) As you communicate that sex is also about pleasure (and showing love, feeling close to another person, etc.) you can let kids know that all sorts of activities are part of sex – not just vaginal intercourse. Kissing, hugging, touching – that sort of thing. You could say ‘some adults like to kiss each others genitals and think it feels really good’.
When talking to older kids (11-16) about condoms, all of the above is still relevant and additional context and factual information is important too. Like:
- You are taking care of yourself and your sexual partner when you use a condom.
- People who say they won’t use condoms maybe aren’t people you want to engage in a sexual relationship with.
- Condoms are perfect for blowjobs and can be cut and opened up for Moustache Rides (one of my favorite euphemisms for cunnilingus). Dental dams also do the trick without needing scissors.
- Practicing using condoms before truely needing one is a great idea. With practice, condoms are less intrusive and are more likely to be used properly.
Boys can be encouraged to masturbate with condoms so that they get comfortable with the feeling of wearing one too.
- Condoms offer good but not perfect protection. Two great ways to further protect yourself are to
- Talk talk talk to your sexual partner about safe sex. Discuss your sexual history, whether you’ve been tested, and anything else that can inform you and your partner around safe sex.
- Have a look around. Especially when any kind of penetration happens its smart to see what you are penetrating or what is penetrating you! If you don’t want to look, it might be a sign that you aren’t ready to be engaged in the activity.
Whether your kid is sexually active or not (whether you know that or not), this is a good time to tell kids where they can get condoms if they were ever to need one. It’s also a good time to show kids how they work. You can use a cucumber, zucchini or chinese eggplant. Then make stir fry and laugh.
Justin at BishUK.com has this video on using condoms. It is accurate, comprehensive and funny. And the brit accent makes it extra entertaining, right?