The Adult Years
Though we have separated this resource into sections by age, this is far from a static breakdown. All children are different and it’s most important to educate them based on their own personal growth. Your children may ask questions, run into sexual or social problems or may become sexually active earlier or later that you expect, so we welcome you to skip ahead or go back to sections to find the relevant advice. We all learn and grown at our own rate and so these designations are meant to be guidelines, not rules.
Never Too Late
Nothing ever goes as we've planned and many parents experience the surprise of having a child ask questions about sex, go through puberty, move away from home or become sexually active before they have the chance to have these sorts of discussions about sex. It is never too late though. Even if your child has already begun to menstruate, had wet dreams, become sexually active, been broken up with by the love of his life or given birth, it doesn't mean they already know all they need to know about sexuality. It especially doesn't mean they couldn't use someone to talk to. Your child, no matter how old they are, may simply appreciate the effort on your part to connect to them. It's never too late to talk to your child, no matter how old, experienced or worldly they seem.
Dating, Marriage and In Between
Your vision of adult life might include marriage rings, a baby stroller and a house with a yard. It might include lots of dates, never settling down and hip bachelor pads. It might be something entirely different. No matter what your child's adult lifestyle is like make sure not to confuse your goals and values with those of your child. They have their own life now, with their own morals and values which may not line up perfectly with yours. Resist the urge to push them into one sexual lifestyle or another. Don't ask if every woman your son brings to dinner is a prospective wife. Don't loudly proclaim your desire for a grandchild. Don't promote "settling down" or "playing the field." Instead focus on what makes them happy and healthy. Are you worried that they don't use protection with all their dates? Remind them that just because they are adults, they are not beyond condom use. Are they having trouble getting pregnant? Help them do research on common causes of decreased fertility.
Most of all though, if you become too pushy or start to have too many worries about their life, reevaluate your actions. Be there for your child, but don't force yourself into their decisions. If you find yourself too focused on your child's life, try taking a look at your own. Do something for yourself (sexual or not!) that makes you feel happy and try and appreciate your child for who they are.
Pass It On
One day your child may have children of their own and that is the perfect opportunity for you to use your experiences teaching them about sex to help them navigate that path themselves. Share your experiences with them, give them resources you especially liked and laugh about how awkward it was when you found them making out with their girlfriend in the basement on Thanksgiving.
Give them advice, listen to what they have to say and pass on the knowledge you've gained.