Expert encourages parents to open sex talk with key topics

Rachel Coler Mulholland, a sex expert and assistant professor in psychology at the University of Minnesota Morris, has shared a detailed guide for parents on how to discuss self-exploration and safe sex with their children.

The mum-of-three, who gained fame on TikTok where she put her own parenting advice into practice, has now penned a book titled The Birds, the Bees, and the Elephant in the Room.

The book provides an in-depth guide for parents on how to broach these sensitive topics with their children.

Among her suggestions, she recommends discussing hygiene and masturbation first and notes that some parents may be able to start these conversations when their children are as young as 10.

In her book, Rachel highlights that “self-exploration”, or masturbation, is often “highly stigmatised in many cultures”. However, she insists that proactive discussions about this topic can be incredibly beneficial for children’s health, safety and wellbeing.

As reported by Elite News, she writes: “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.”

Rachel’s book offers a lifeline to parents grappling with how to approach the birds and the bees talk, complete with sample scripts to help break the ice. One such script is tailored for parents of boys, highlighting the significance of safe sex and private self-discovery.

The suggested conversation starter from Rachel goes: “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.”

Rachel has made some controversial suggestions both online and in her book, including introducing the topics of oral and anal sex in the birds and bees conversation, emphasising the importance of lubrication, and her Rule Number 12 regarding dating.

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