See what moms teach their kids about connection, intimacy, and sexual wellness.
We’ve all heard the story. You know the one, about the birds and the bees? You may have even been told about it by your own mother when you were young and starting to get curious about where babies come from. Maybe you didn’t get any answers to your questions at all—the whole topic being way too embarrassing or secretive for your mom to even know where to start.
Mother of two, Val, says her mom taught her “Nothing. Literally nothing,” about sex and intimacy. Mother of four, Liz, agrees. “My mom didn’t tell me anything. She also forgot to mention anything about a period. I do remember her mentioning nobody would have pre-marital sex in our family. Whoops!”
And even when “the talk” did happen, it was usually focused more on reproduction than pleasure and connection with a partner.
"My mother talked me through 'the facts of life' with a leaflet from the doctors when I was about 10,” says Louise, mother of two. “That was it. I didn't feel like I wanted to talk to her about any of my sexual experiences ever!"
Well, here at Pepper, we’re on a mission to change that conversation (and many others). We believe times have changed, and what used to be a taboo topic should be a natural conversation for people to have with their children of all ages.
So for Mother’s Day this year, we talked to moms about what they’ve taught, or plan to teach, their own children about connection, intimacy, and sex. Read on to gain their wisdom and pick up some tips for your own family conversations.
What today’s moms have taught (or plan to teach) their kids:
“Sexual health is an important dimension of their overall wellbeing, just like mental, physical, emotional, or spiritual health. It requires self-awareness, reflection, and tending to. I want them to know the fullness of their sexuality and never confuse sexual connection with confirming or denying their self-worth. When we bring our whole selves to a partner who is loving and generous, then a true and amazing connection can happen (and the sex is better, too).” - Molly (kids ages 7 and 3)
“1. Love your body. 2. Enjoy your body and do not feel shame. 3. Treat yourself and others with respect.” - Lauren (kids ages 7 and 4)
“We try to convey similar messaging around connection and sex as my parents did in terms of the importance of making time for and prioritizing one another. I have made a point to talk openly with my daughters about self care and self pleasure. I want them to know that they don’t need a partner to feel good or to explore their bodies. I also want my boys to know that it is not all about them when it comes to sexual pleasure—pay attention and be attuned to your partner’s needs as much as your own. And finally, recognize that bodies and beings change because of the seasons of life, so ride the waves of these changes and meet each other wherever you are.” - Marta (kids ages 20, 19, 16, and 14)
“I taught my daughter that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Make sure you are being pleasured and not only focused on the guy. Sex is usually a more intimate connection for young women than for young men, so choose wisely. Last, but not least, always use a condom and the pill (double coverage!).” - Steph (kid age 19)
“We have yet to have “the talk” with our kids (they’re a bit young), but we plan to teach them about their bodies in a positive way. We want them to have agency and we hope to frame access to their bodies around the notion of consent. We’ll also encourage them to explore their own sexuality, safely.” - Margie (kids ages 4, 3, and 10 months)
What did your mom teach you about sex? What have you taught (or do you plan to teach) your kids? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know, or post your answer to social media with hashtags: #peppertogether and #thetalkwithmom.