In the Netherlands, they have been doing sexuality right for a very, very long time. If you want your kids to be super-smart about sex, the easiest thing you can do for them (and for yourself) is to pretend your family is the Netherlands.
The Dutch have the lowest teen pregnancy and STI/HIV rates in the industrialized world. This tells me they are doing something that actually works when it comes to their kids birds + bees education.
Here’s how you can turn your family into the Netherlands:
1) Be a naked family. Families in this part of the world are naked together from birth until death. They see nudity as a natural and normal state of being. We see it as embarrassing, shameful and something to hide.
2) Accept sexuality, in all it’s forms, as a natural and normal part of being human. Which it is. Just like humans are intellectual, social, spiritual, physical and emotional, we are sexual, too.
3) Offer sexually relevant public service announcements. This means you talk about how to use a condom correctly, the most effective forms of birth control and why communication is key to great sex and anything else when the mood strikes you. Short and sweet.
4) Start sex education in kindergarten. Rather than wait until children are in 5th grade or even high school, like they do in the US, start the sex talks really early. And by sex talks, I mean the whole tamale – penises in vaginas, sperm, eggs, etc.
5) View sex as a positive and fun part of life that requires education and responsible behavior. Compare this to driving a car: you wouldn’t just hand your kid the car keys on their 16th birthday, would you? This is one of the biggest responsibilities they will ever have. So is sex. It’s awesome and you need to be careful and responsible.
6) Expect your children to use birth control and condoms every time they have sex. It should be understood, from an early age, people have sex for fun and pleasure 99% of the time. This means everyone knows birth control and condoms are part of the deal when it comes to their sex lives.
7) Make birth control and condoms free and easy to get. Tell your kids where and how to get birth control and condoms. Actually, you should by condoms for your kids and leave them in a place anyone (including their friends) can access them.
8) Dutch teenagers see teen pregnancy as shameful. I’m not a fan of shaming kids, but this is part of why they have such amazing sexual health outcomes for their young people. Watch “16 and Pregnant” so your children can see how terrifically hard it is to be a teen parent.
9) Accept the fact that your child will have sex. And sooner than you will want them to. Most kids have sex at age 17 or so and it is in their best interest to be as ready as possible for this inevitability.
Read more about their culture here.