So how do you turn ‘an adult (or sex) shop’ into an opportunity to teach your child something important.
Teachable moments should be your Number 1 strategy for sex education!
Learn more about what a teachable moment is.
Watch the video below to find out how to turn this into a teachable moment.
[00:00:00] How do we turn an adult shop into a teachable moment? Let’s find out.[Music].
[00:00:13] Hi, I’m Cath Hakanson from Sex Ed Rescue. Sex Ed Rescue is a channel where I talk about all things to do with sex education and getting comfortable with talking to kids about growing up. Each week, we share a teachable moment and this one is my favourite because it happens to me all the time. It’s about how to turn a sex shop, or an adult shop, into a teachable moment.
Now, every week, I take my son to swimming lessons and when we drive back, we always pull up at this one set of traffic lights. There’s a big road in front of us and across from it, there are shops where we turn off right. Right in front of us is always a sex shop with a big, flashing sign out front saying, ‘Sex, Porn, New toys!’
My son will often read the sign and go ‘P-O-R-N, porn. What’s porn, mum?’ And we’ll have a conversation about what it is. Or, I will point the shop out to him, and I’ll go, ‘Look over that shop it’s got big flashing lights and signs! And look, what’s in that window?’ Because usually they have mannequins that are in scantily dressed clothing, and I’ll go, ‘Ah, what sort of shop do you think that is?’ And then we’ll talk about it because, in the city, you do see these shops everywhere. I know of at least five that are within a six-block radius of my house whichever direction we go.
There are some parents that like to shelter their kids from this. But because my kids are seeing this stuff all the time, it’s very much about satisfying their curiosity. We’ll walk past a sex shop and there’ll be women dressed up as nurses in the window. My kids will go, ‘Oh why are they dressed up like nurses?’ Or ‘They’ve got no pants on, and they’ve got holes in their top around their boobs.’ So, we will talk about that stuff to satisfy their curiosity and to normalize it as well.
[00:02:43] Sex shops are just that great opportunity to start talking about sex. I remember one night when we went somewhere for dinner, we stopped at the lights yet again. This time the sex shop was right next us and both kids were like, ‘Wow, mum! S-E-X, what’s that word?’ This is when my daughter was seven and my son was three, and I felt really uncomfortable. To distract them I said, ‘What a great shop, but look at that one over there!’ This is important as well; you don’t have to talk about something right away. For example, with my son saying ‘P-O-R-N what’s porn mum?’ I might go, ‘Ah I’m not sure. Hey, look over there!’ We don’t have to talk about stuff right there and then, we can when we get home and I’ve worked out what I’m going to say. I do have products like Sex Ed Quickies that can give you advice and ideas on how to start talking about porn. I am also writing a book for parents that is specifically about that too. But when you get home you can say, ‘Hey, you know how you saw that shop with the sign that said P-O-R-N and I said I didn’t know? This is what porn is,’ and having that conversation then.
Those sorts of shops, especially if you see them, shouldn’t be ignored because kids often learn more from what we don’t say. So, if we just brush them off or don’t mention what it is, they’re going to grow up thinking that those sorts of shops are bad and that sex is also bad. No matter what we do, these shops have been and are going to be around for a very long time.
[00:04:35] I think that as parents in a world where kids are getting so many sexualized messages, and so many negative messages about sex that it helps to talk about them. We’re helping them make sense of what they’re seeing and we’re also letting them know that it’s okay to come and talk to us about this stuff. Kids are going to hear about this whether you drive past a sex shop every day or not because kids like to talk what’s to be. That’s one thing that I’ve noticed with children whose parents are opened about sex; it’s that they don’t get as sensationalized about it as much as they do when it’s a taboo topic.
Anyway, I hope that helps. That’s just some of the things that I can talk about with my kids when we see a sex shop.
Cheers, have a good one.
I'm Cath, a sex educator living in Australia with my husband and 2 kids. I help parents to talk about sex (with less cringe and more confidence) and empower their child to make smart sexual decisions. To find a better way to talk about sex, you can join my community of parents and visit my shop for helpful resources.