How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

How To Talk To Your Child About Sex

Talking with your tamariki about sex can be difficult but it is important. If you want to be involved in shaping your child's ideas and attitudes about sex, start these conversations early.

The First Time - The REAL Sex Talk

Famous Kiwis talk about having sex for the first time.


Key points about how to talk to your children about sex

  • if you want to be involved in shaping your child's ideas and attitudes about sex, start these conversations early
  • it's OK to feel nervous about talking to your child about sex
  • treat the conversation with care and make sure you let them have their say – even if you disagree with something, or something they say takes you by surprise
  • try to have lots of little talks, instead of just one big talk when they are a teen
  • more and more young people are also learning about sex from pornography
  • many young people say they are doing this because adults are too embarrassed to answer their questions about sex
  • Gender stereotypes can be harmful - discuss with your teenager that there is no type of ‘role’ they have to play in relationships or during sex. 
  • if your child wants to talk about sex - but not with you, you could try asking a trusted adult relative or friend to talk to them instead

You can also check some advice about how to talk to and support your teenager around pornography

What resources are available to help me talk to young people about sex?

Having 'the sex talk' with your young person is always going to be a bit awkward. But if you want to be involved in shaping your child's ideas and attitudes about sex, start these conversations early. Below are some resources that can help you to start a conversation with your young person about sex.

Family Planning

Family planning website

The Family Planning website has a series of pages on information for young people and parents.

They say: "We understand that talking with your child/tamaiti about sex, sexuality and relationships can be challenging. But talking is important - it shows your young people that you think this is important and that you're someone they can talk with and come to for help and information. It's also important to remember that this is not just one conversation - it's going to be many conversations across many years."


Parenting Place

Parenting place website

The Parenting Place website has some useful suggestions on how to start a conversation about sex.

They say: "You may not have learned about sex until your early teens yourself and that is because information was far less accessible when you were growing up. All you had was the dictionary's definition of sex and that one puberty lesson with the oldest teacher at your school. This generation has so much access to information that if you want to be involved in shaping your child's ideas and attitudes about sex, start these conversations early."



Just the facts website

JUST THE FACTS is a website created by the Sexually Transmitted Infections Education Foundation (STIEF) - an initiative funded by Te Whatu Ora - Health NZ to educate New Zealanders about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


The REAL Sex Talk - Villainesse

The real sex talk website

The Real Sex Talk is a 12-part web series designed to educate Kiwi teenagers about sex in an approachable, yet informative way. Local medical experts feature in each episode, providing practical advice and information that answers many of the questions that Kiwi youth have when it comes to sex, sexual health, relationships and identity. Rape Prevention Education, Family Planning and RainbowYOUTH have all been consulted on the series and support the project.


The Ministry of Health

Ministry of Health website

The Ministry of Health has resources on how to talk to your teenager about sex.

They say: "Being a parent is a difficult but exciting job. Talking to your teenager about safe sex is a vital part of your role as a parent."


The Light Project

Screenshot of the Light Project website

The Light Project is a project that was set up in response to the changing online porn landscape. It was created in response to an absence of any information, support or resources for young people in Aotearoa. The project aims to help equip youth, their whānau and communities to build porn literacy and positively navigate the new porn landscape.

There are lots of great resources and tips on how to talk to tamariki and rangatahi about pornography


This page last reviewed 15 May 2023.

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