Thing no. 1: Avoid having “The Talk” as much as possible. If you have to have “The Talk” you are already in trouble. You should have been having ongoing conversations since the first time she brought the subject up, which probably happened as young as 3 years old. Perhaps she wanted to know about your pubic hair, or why her genitals are different from her brother’s. Conversations that make it easy for her to broach the subject of sex in time start long before she is interested in sex.
Thing no.2: Accept that she is and always has been a sexual being. We do not become sexual at 18, 21 or on our wedding night. People are sexual from day dot. Foetuses have been recorded masturbating to orgasm in utero. I kid you not. Check a letter titled “Sonographic observation of in utero fetal masturbation,” by Dr. Israel Meizner in the Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine, and Ultrasonographic observation of a female fetus’ sexual behavior in utero” published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. So do not postpone engagement with this topic by deluding yourself into thinking that your child does not experience sexual sensations.
Thing no.3: Understand that sexual energy is creative energy. Think about it, the sexual drive is creative. It’s that why we are so stressed by the idea of our children having sex, that it will lead to the creation of a little human being they are ill equipped to raise? It is an act of creation. Fortunately it is not the only way to express yourself creatively. Teach her that investing her energy into other creative pursuits will dissipate that sexual urge to some extent.
Thing no.4: Acknowledge that she is a Pretty Young Thing. Part of an awakening sexuality (during puberty) is wanting to be seen and acknowledged as physically appealing. Remember that feeling when you discovered that boys had discovered you, and how powerful it felt? It’s a trip. She will want someone to acknowledge how hot she looks. Making her feel bad about it, or pretending that it is not happening won’t make that desire go away. Rather you acknowledge and celebrate her blossoming attractiveness, than some shady guy down the road or even posting compromising pictures on the internet. Activities such as dance and drama classes provide a safe platform for her to celebrate and display her physical attractiveness.
Thing no. 5: Help her discover that her body is the source of her good sexual feelings. Teach her to separate good sexual feelings from a specific person. Teach her about masturbation so she doesn’t think boyfriend is the source of the good feelings. If you’ve been practicing point no. 1 you’ll know when the time is right and it won’t be nearly as awkward as it may sound.
Thing no. 6: Teach her to separate good sexual feelings from love. If you are brave enough to do point no. 5 she will learn from personal experience that feeling those good sexual feelings has more to do with how her body is being touched than how her heart is being touched.
Thing no. 7: Touch her for the rest of your life. Do not stop touching your children once they reach puberty. Men especially tend to abruptly stop touching their daughter’s when they reach puberty. People need touch, especially from people they love. If she is touch deprived she will be a lot less discerning about who should touch her, and you may not like how that ends. As they say “beggars are not choosers” and touch is a real human need.
Thing no. 8: Aim to shame-proof her. Shame has proven to be an effective tool for controlling women. The harder it is to make her feel ashamed of her body and her sexuality (whether she be deemed a prude or a slut), the harder it will be for her to be controlled by other people through shaming or people who touch her inappropriately and use shame to discourage her from talking about it.
Thing no. 9: Name it. Use names for genitals and sexual acts. Down there ain’t gonna cut it. How can you two communicate about things you can’t even name?
Thing no. 10: Start with you. Deal with your own issues, or at least acknowledge them before you talk to her about sex, so she doesn’t have to inherit your baggage simply because you are unconscious of it.