Kids and Sex Education

At my bible study group last night parents with kids ranging from ages 7-13 were confused on what kids should know when in regard to “sex” and “the talk”. One mom bought a book called "How Are You Changing" by Jane Graver at a Christian Bookstore in town and it is for ages 8-11. It basically lays it all on the line - how babies are conceived, the marital act, male/female organs, changes that happen during puberty, etc. It is all done in a tasteful way, with God at the center. With the exception of one line that talks about how “some couples choose not to have children”, she said it was in line with Catholic teaching.

Anybody have any thoughts on what kids should know at various ages? I’ve tried to find some good Catholic resources, but most of them (by Christopher West, Colleen Mast, etc. ) are geared towards teens.

Oh my. Looks like I’ll have to do that in a decade or two. I guess every child is different in this regard, so I’m not sure standarised age brackets will work. From my experience with teenagers, one ough to start in quite early teens to avoid the intrinsically disordered from taking place. :wink: Maybe around 10 even (especially judging by the jokes circulating in that age group)… Boys already collect porn at that age and 13 year olds engage in some forms of foreplay if not supervised well enough. This doesn’t mean that younger ones don’t. By contrast, at age 7 or 8, I don’t think they need to know that much.

I cant believe I’m defending the immoral children i call friends but i’m going have to contradict you most of the kids I know are very immoral but it doesnt go beyond jokes there all talk and no game 12 and 13 year olds don’t engage in “foreplay”. (although i don’t deny that a good amount of them do view pictures of unquestionably low morality)

Maybe its were you live but i think you over estimate the immorality of children these days.

On topic I think 12 is a good year if you don’t hurry up and do it most public schools will do it for you which is never good because they teach things like contraception and the pill (you might consider finding out when your public schools will teach this subject and take an educational vacation of sorts.

Depends what we call foreplay maybe. At any rate, groping starts earlier than sex and some 14 year olds already have sex. I think at 12, some children have had minor experiences. Here it’s not that bad, actually. I live in a fairly traditional and moral country.

I don’t have kids but what I can remember- by the time I was about 10 I knew most things (not learned in the most delicate manner, from other kids). I don’t think 7 or 8 is too young to start. At that age they aren’t that embarrassed- by the time I was 10 I would not have wanted to hear that from my mom. And by the time I was 12- forget it. I knew kids who were drinking and having oral sex. And this is in a very small, rural Catholic elementary school.

I think start early with the basics, and encourage questions or explain when the situation arises (issues like abortion come up at mass, for example).

Just my :twocents: ! Will prob change when I’m actually a parent :o

Sex education starts in the crib… When kids ask questions we have to answer them appropriately to their age and experience. When my son was 4 we were out at walmart and he saw silk boxer shorts for valentines day… he said, “ewwww sexy!” So I asked him what sexy meant. He said when mom and dad kiss. OK… but then when my daughter was 4 I used to jump in her bed at bedtime and cuddle with her for a few minutes. My husband walked in and gave her a kiss goodnight so I asked for one… she asked if I wanted her to leave so I could have sex :bigyikes: Two different kids at the same age… One obviously needed a talk alot more than the other. BTW I did ask her what “sex” was… she had a fairly good idea…scary!!!

You start by teaching them the correct names for body parts…then babies grow in the womb not in the tummy (or they will think you throw them up or poop them out) and when they are ready to come out they come out the birth canal. Later when they ask for more detail you tell them about how it is a wonderful wedding gift from God. The key is to be open but let them ask before you tell. Seeing mom nurse is another teachable moment… or seeing a pet give birth and nurse, all teachable moments…just use common sense because the kid will repeat EXACTLY what you tell them at the WORST possible time.

I like the advice that was given by BlestOne.

To add on, my DH and I recently came accross a book called “How to talk to your child about sex” by Linda and Richard Eyre. We don’t have any children yet but my DH has been reading it and thinks its a great book. The authors are Christian and they strongly believe in teaching your children that sex is a beautiful and wonderful thing.


The wonderful wedding gift from God works until someone you know gets pregnant without the wedding.

Or, unless the child was smart enough to figure things out on their own. Dictionaries are pretty informative.I never got any sex education whatsoever from my parents, other than rarely seeing my mom un-pregnant :stuck_out_tongue:

Unless you consider foreplay to be kissing I still have to disagree with you.
Trust me if that kind of thing happend the gossip would get around so fast the whole student population within in the area would know it 30 minutes after the fact.

(sorry for the deleted post I accidentily posted as my dad)


I will only recommend that you go to this website. I am personally disheartened by a couple of the responses you received.

Sex Respect by Dr. Colleen (100% Catholic teachings)

and what does she say about telling your children?

What to tell your 10 year old daughter

What to tell your 10 year old son

God bless you,


from the the “What to tell your 10 year old daughter” link

  1. Men and women are different: Each gender has different gifts. They see life differently and have different emotional responses and methods of communication. Be observant of this as she sees boys and girls become men and women, so she’ll be more understanding later. The girls will be physically mature before many of the boys in their class, and the girls who start chasing boys early are not the ones who end up with the best marriages.

well, that’s overly judgemental. And scare tactics really don’t work.

  1. Moodiness: When the hormones start accelerating, she will find herself struggling with moodiness. Instead of making excuses for her hormones, it’s time to strengthen her will so as not to live by her whims. Be sympathetic that she will not recognize or even like herself some days during big hormone fluctuations. Understandable, not excusable. A good diet without chocolate, caffeine, junk food and sugar will reduce the mood shifts. A deeper prayer life will draw her to Christ and His mother during the confusing times.

Quite often, mental illness, such as depression,starts to manifest itself during the beginning of puberty, and a lot of parents brush it off as “moodiness”. This is incredibly damaging. Yes, it could just be moodiness, but labeling it “not excusable” isn’t helpful anyway. And how exactly is one supposed to avoid sugar? Sugar is in all foods(for example, fruit).

No, I don’t consider kissing to be foreplay in most circumstances. Even the kissing some people refer to as passionate and “thus” mortally sinful according to them. But when kissing moves from the normal kissing to some kind of sexual stimulation, it might be a form of foreplay, I think, if not in intent, then in effect. I generally think that if kissing makes one think of sex with the kissed person, one should stop. Also, I believe that kissing for mere fun, without a notion of love, even if it has no generic sexual motivation or impact, is not a good thing (such as kissing with every girl or boy one takes to a cafe or cinema, apart from it being incredibly tacky). Kissing by teenagers often comes with groping or some inappropriate gesture. Then think about all the spin the bottle games. I don’t want to make that into a mortal sin, come on, but surely it isn’t proper. What I referred to as foreplay didn’t presuppose nakedness or something. But when kids end up on the couch and start groping, what else is it, anyway? Playing the doctor? They’re to old for that. :wink: In my time, 12-13 year old boys freely talked about sexual matters, being turned on by this or that girl or act or whatever else it was, collected and swapped porn. And I’m not talking about a pathological environment but about more or less Catholic families (practicing).

(No problem at all. ;))

Here are 3 resources for you:
Beyond the Birds and the Bees by Greg Popcak

Joyful Mysteries of Life by Catherine and Bernard Scherrer
see the resource section for books and such.


By the time they see this, they should have been told how we need to pray for others that don’t understand God’s gift or the importance of it. I would much rather explain to my 11 or 12 yo daughter how wonderful it is that X is going to have a baby, but how sad that there is no daddy to help her because she didn’t wait until the proper time to experience the gift. It’s all teachable!!! I have a 20 yo ds, a 17 yo ds a 15 yo dd and an 11 yo dstepd. All are virgins… because by the grace of God, I have stressed God’s plan for families. I used our family as an example of how hard it was to raise kids alone… my ex walked out years ago and left without providing for the kids… they saw me struggle to pay bills, they saw me put my social life on hold to make sure they were raised right. We do talk about these things… We do pray as a family for unwed mothers… I pray that my kids continue to uphold the values I have taught them. I am sorry your mom didn’t share these things with you, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t work. Only time will tell in our case… I pray it does, but honestly, I have taught them… now they must choose.

Woah, I didn’t mean to say anything bad about following Church teaching, or my mother. All I meant was that giving no other explanation of how babies are conceived than “when two people get married, God sends them children” doesn’t work when(to give an example) a cousin becomes pregnant outside of marriage. Or multiple cousins. And I didn’t need my mom to tell me anything, I was able to give myself a pretty good education about things.

I wasn’t slamming on your mom… What I was saying was that using teachable moments you can stress the importance of following God’s family plan. As for just telling a child that a baby is a gift from God in marriage… no, I wouldn’t do that. I am sorry if you got that impression. You also have to explain the mechanics too, but the problem is so many parents leave out the spiritual and emotional aspects of sex education.

In my mind, the more you separate the emotional and spiritual out, the easier it is for your kids to do the same. When they can do that, what would stop them from thinking they are all grown up and can do grown up things. As for portaying sex as a “grown up” thing, I made sure my kids knew that it was a “marriage” thing by setting the example and staying chaste after their dad left.

I dated my husband for 6 years before we married. My kids knew that there wouldn’t be any sex before our wedding night. Even my step daughter knew…even though her mother actually told her she was wrong and that her dad and I *HAD *to be sleeping together. I explained to her that indeed it was not necessary nor was it appropriate for me and her dad to be doing that before marriage. I had half a mind to charge her mom with child sexual abuse for talking with her like that!


It is SOOOO refreshing to hear that your children are still virgins thus far and you’ve really stressed living morally upright lives :). All I seem to hear is the other side of the tracks, and for myself, I have a past I’m not proud of. However, to know that you are doing your best and being involved in your children’s lives, answering questions when asked, and being honest but with discernment, is awesome! :slight_smile: You give me hope!

The 20 yo is very open to talking about it…which really set the tone for the others. I really credit my oldest with alot of good qualities that the others have picked up! I wasn’t a saint in my single years either I am afraid. I didn’t have much of an example in my mom… The good news is that you can always begin again to live chastely if you mess up. Not that you can become a born again virgin, but you can always renew the life of chastity. When I got married in 2005, I finally got that whole dream… the devout husband, willing to wait until we were married to have sex… the sacramental marriage… I finally understand why it is so special!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit