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Important Topics to Talk About: By Age Group

Sexuality, much like the human body itself, has many different stages of development. As soon as we’re old enough to start asking questions, we inevitably want to know more about ourselves and our bodies. Upon reaching adulthood, we’ve more or less figured out who we are with regard to our sexuality, but even as we make the transition into families and senior years, there are still many things to discover. Our sexuality never stops changing, and it’s important to continue to learn about it.

Children

Children delight in learning more about themselves, such as the names of their body parts. They may also be interested in learning about how babies are made and where they come from. It’s tempting to reply with the old story about the stork delivering babies, but kids are genuinely curious, and explaining that babies are made when a man’s sperm meets a woman’s egg will satisfy that curiosity. Kids should also learn about how their bodies will change as they get older, so they can be prepared for puberty when it hits.

Teens

Teenagers face lots of pressure from peers, TV shows, and movies that portray sex as something that everyone is doing. It can seem like they’re weird if they’re not having sex or if they’re not sexually active with multiple partners. This is an important time to learn about STIs and how they’re contracted as well as how to use contraception to prevent pregnancy. Another essential topic is the components of a healthy sexual relationship, which include consent, mutual respect, and open discussion.

Adults

By adulthood, many people have learned about their sexual orientation and how to enjoy safe sex. However, adulthood doesn’t signal the end of maintaining good sexual health. It’s important to continue regular medical checkups to protect against STIs. This is also a stage of life when sex may become a critical part of relationships, especially as the relationship becomes more serious. There are many different forms a relationship can take, but the most important aspect is that all members of the relationship feel valued, safe, and respected.

Couples

Finding a partner introduces a whole world of sexual education. Many couples worry about their ability to orgasm and to help their partner orgasm. An orgasm is not always a guaranteed result of sexual activity, and if one doesn’t happen, that’s all right. Talk to your partner about how you feel and if there’s anything you’d like to try or discontinue. The secret to amazing sex is open lines of communication between partners, and that needs to extend to family planning, especially if partners intend to start a family together. Determine when or if you want children, and decide on a method of contraception until ready to become pregnant.

Pregnancy

There are many changes that take place both during and after a pregnancy. A female’s body will change to accommodate the growing baby, and this can change how partners have sex. Likewise, there will be a healing period after giving birth, and partners may have to rediscover sex together. This can be a confusing time, but it’s not insurmountable. Partners may want to discuss how long to wait before having another child and may want to resume using birth control, since it’s possible to get pregnant as soon as two weeks after giving birth.

Senior

A popular myth states that once we become seniors, sex no longer becomes a part of life. Fortunately, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. The senior years are one of the most sexually fulfilling, and while medical conditions may need to be taken into account, there’s no reason that a vibrant sex life can’t continue. The onset of menopause at around 50 years of age may reduce the risk of pregnancy, but practicing safe sex is still crucially important. STIs can still be passed from partner to partner, so continue to get regularly tested and use barrier protection like a condom or dental dam.