Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Parenting

Font Size

How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex

Experts Share Tips for Parents
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 16, 2008 -- Talking to your children about sex can be embarrassing, awkward, and uncomfortable. Just the thought of having this talk is enough to make many parents blush. But not having it may be setting your children up for serious problems down the road -- including teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases -- say leading psychoanalysts at the annual meeting of the American Psychoanalytic Association in New York City.

"Many people aren't talking to their kids about sex. Or they feel very conflicted about talking to their kids about sex and they have their own personal conflicts which get into the mix," explains psychoanalyst Gail Saltz, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell School of Medicine.

A Parent's Guide to Bedwetting

More than 5 million school-aged children wet the bed at night -- with twice as many boys wetting their bed as girls. Here's what you need to know to help your child deal with this common problem.


"Parents still struggle for ways to talk about this all-important material, but they really have no choice because it is so prevalent," she says. "The current media is very glorifying of sexualized material, and today's children have Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears as role models," she says.

To make sure your children get the right message about sex and sexuality, follow these tips:

Tip No. 1: Start Young and Go Slow

"When children are aged 3 to 5 they will start talking about body parts and babies," says New York City psychoanalyst Leon Hoffman, MD, the director of the Pacella Parent Child Center. Now is a good time to start having the conversation. "Answer their questions and don't elaborate with more details then they are ready to hear."

Tip No. 2: Never Use Pet Names for Body Parts

"Parents refer to a sexual organ as 'down there' or 'that place' and that leaves children with confusion, and they grow into women who need help with sexual dysfunction," Saltz says. Or "a child may go to a doctor or nurse and say 'I have a problem with my woo-woo,' and no one knows what she is talking about and they laugh." To avoid this, use the correct terminology and explain what it is and what it does. "Say 'this is your vulva or vagina or penis' from the get-go."

Today on WebMD

Girl holding up card with BMI written
Is your child at a healthy weight?
toddler climbing
What happens in your child’s second year.
father and son with laundry basket
Get your kids to help around the house.
boy frowning at brocolli
Tips for dealing with mealtime mayhem
mother and daughter talking
child brushing his teeth
Sipping hot tea
Young woman holding lip at dentists office
Which Vaccines Do Adults Need
rl with friends
tissue box
Child with adhd