talking to children about human sexuality

Dear blogging nana,

I have two children, 6 and 3.  Here’s the problem:  I have no idea how to talk to them about human reproduction.  What do you suggest.

puzzled mom

Dear pm,

You are not alone.  And I am no expert in this department.  I did a bit better than my mom who unintentionally communicated to me that sex was bad before I understood what it actually was.  And I was too embarrassed to very effectively communicate with my own children.

But, as usual, nevertheless, I have some thoughts!  to wit:

-Take some time with some close friends to practice and laugh about the subject.  This will reduce the embarrassment that most of us carry.  Do that a lot.

-Clarify what values you carry connected to human sexuality.  Do you believe that sexuality should be limited to committed relationships?  Do you think having good sex is important to having a good life as an adult?  What does that mean?

–If your child asks a question, answer it; but don’t answer more than the question.

–Give your child an opportunity to observe animals mating.  Even insects on a physiological level aren’t all that dissimilar.

I have a friend who I believe has done a good straight-forward job with her children; I think it helped that her mother was a nurse.  She said that, like a career, marriage, and most other things in human life, a good sex life needs education.  I agree.

And a question for my dear readers:  do you know of some good books on this subject that you have found useful?