Sexologist Logan Levkoff Gives Single Moms the Lowdown about Kids and Sex
By Melissa Chapman
Single Minded Women asks AASECT-certified sexual health educator Logan Levkoff, author of Third Base Ain’t What it Used to Be: What Your Kids are Learning About Sex Today and How to Teach Them to Become Sexually Healthy Adults the tough questions and how Single Mothers can broach the subject of Sex with their kids.
SMW: Why is the whole subject of parents talking about sex to their kids still so taboo?
Logan Levkoff: It’s not so much that talking is taboo; rather, single Moms are often worried that they are not capable of talking to their kids about sex, either because they don’t have the information or they fear that their children will not respond to them. But we (parents) can be the best sex educators for our children, as long as we get past our own insecurities and start being honest, realistic, and positive about the role that sexuality plays in our lives.
SMW: Why is it especially important that single Moms have this sex-ed talk with their kids?
Logan Levkoff: When it comes to sex-ed talks, single moms are just as capable as dual-parent homes. You have an opportunity to shape how your children view themselves, their bodies, as well as the other gender. But because you’re responsible for your children and other financial and home-related responsibilities, you are busy. But when it comes to sex-ed we need to be more available to our children than ever before – emotionally and intellectually.
SMW: Are kids of single Moms, more inclined to engage in sex at an early age; does being a child growing up in a single parent home lend itself to a child becoming more sexually promiscuous?
Logan Levkoff: There is much conflicting research out there about this topic, but we do know that parents have an opportunity to (and often do) impact how and whentheir children make decisions about sex. Kids want information about sex from their parents; we help them evaluate these important milestones.
SMW: What are the sex ed basics that single Moms should make sure they discuss with their kids?
Logan Levkoff: Everything is a basic. If your kids have questions it means that they need answers. Rather than think of these conversations as subject driven, listen to your children and find out why they are curious about a particular subject. Where did they hear about it? Are their friends talking about it? What do they want to know? Your children’s answers will help you to best craft your answer.
SMW: At what age should you begin this frank discussion about sex with your kids?
Logan Levkoff: Sexuality education isn’t simply about the act of sex…it includes the topics of gender, body image, development, sexual orientation, relationships, and so on. Building the foundation for talking about healthy sexuality should begin at birth. We shouldn’t wait until the right moment; it may never happen. By being proactive and always talking about these issues with our children and teens, our children learn that we will always be willing to help them, give them information and support.
SMW: Why is it important that kids learn the facts about sex from their parent rather than from their peer?
Logan Levkoff: The fact is that peers (while they may have the best intentions) don’t necessarily have all of the facts. They may be more influenced by pop culture and media (which are chock full of skewed or inaccurate information). At the end of the day, we as parents have our children’s best interests at heart. Not many other sources can say that.
SMW: Will having an open communication about sex with your kids help them be more communicative with you about other aspects of their lives as well?
Logan Levkoff: We want children to learn that sexuality is an innate part of who they are. It shouldn’t be treated as dirty or negative. It is part of our overall being and overall health. If we can get our children to talk to us about the subjects that are considered to be most difficult, there is nothing that they won’t be willing to speak to us about. It allows us as parents to infuse our values, facts, and give our children the opportunity to use us as sounding boards.
SMW: How can single Moms get over their initial uneasiness about having the sex talk with their kids; what is the best way to approach it?
Logan Levkoff: If you are uneasy about having the sex talk, think about the alternative. Someone or something else (a friend, the media, pornography) is more than willing to step up and teach your children about sex, and chances are they may not have your child’s best interest in mind. Use cues from the media to talk about sex – it may be from a show on television, something that pops up on the internet, or a political debate. Because these conversations aren’t directly about our children or their peers, it is perceived as easier to talk about. Always keep the door open for them to come to you and try not to be judgmental. Just because your child is asking about sex doesn’t mean that they are thinking about having it. And last, acknowledge your uneasiness with your children. They will respect your honesty. It makes us, as parents, seem a bit more human :)
For more information about Candid Sexologist Logan Levkoff and her book, Third Base which serves as a guide for parents to teach important values, give realistic advice, encourage honest conversation and provide the best information possible on the (scary) topic of sex, check out www.loganlevkoff.com.
More Single Minded Women articles to enjoy:
The Talk Single Moms Need to Have; Talking to Your Kids About Sex
How Do You Deal With Your Child’s Irregular Behavior Following Your Divorce
As a Single Mom is it All Right For Your Kids to Co-Sleep in Bed With You?
Ask Dr. Susan Bartell: When Your Child Acts Out