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Innocence or Ignorance

Children’s innocence was the topic of a conversation I had at a recent workshop on how to talk to your children about sexuality. Some parents think that using “clinical” words, like penis and vulva, will somehow mar their kids’ innocence. Many people believe that a child’s innocence will somehow be soiled by knowing developmentally-appropriate information about sex. Here is a quote by a fellow sexuality educator that I think sums it very well. The more information we arm children with, the more likely they are to “remain innocent”.

This concept of keeping children innocent “stems from the belief that information about sexuality is ‘dirty’ or ‘wrong.’ Innocence means freedom from guilt or shame, whereas ignorance means lacking knowledge or information. Some people believe that if children have no knowledge about sexuality they are innocent. Children who are well informed about sexuality are less likely to feel guilty or shameful about their bodies or their sexual thoughts because they will understand their feelings and know what is and is not OK for them. This in turn will also help protect them from sexual exploitation and abuse. Sexuality education can actually help to maintain innocence.”Micheal McGee

That sentence bears repeating: Sexuality education can actually help to maintain innocence. Open and honest talks about sexuality arm your children with confidence, body awareness, and trust in you.

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