How do you support a younger sibling in their sexuality?
Sex can be a taboo topic in general, especially in many families. How do we support a younger family member in their sexual education and autonomy?
Nurture an atmosphere of openness: Develop trust with your sibling so they feel that you are a safe, non-judgmental resource for them. My MO with my little sister is: “You can tell me anything; I might not agree with it, I might ask some clarifying questions, but I won’t judge you.”
Acknowledge your bias: When talking about sex with a sibling, acknowledge your own attitudes and beliefs, as well as your biases of them as a younger family member. It’s okay to voice that there’s some awkwardness or internalized protectiveness on your end, while still allowing for their sexual autonomy. Emphasize their safety and happiness over all.
Provide them with resources: Siblings may not want to have active conversations about sex with family members, so it’s important that they have constructive, age-appropriate resources for learning on their own. Below are a few resources based on age:
Preschool to age 8: “What Makes a Baby” by Cory Silverberg
Age 8-10: “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg
Tweens/teens: Scarleteen (https://www.scarleteen.com/)
Teens: S.E.X., Second Edition, by Heather Corinna, The Sex and Pleasure Book by Carol Queen & Shar Rednour, Guide to Getting It On: Unzipped (for older teens)
Having open and ongoing conversations about sex can help your sibling to stay safe, knowledgeable and joyful in their bodies and lives. Happy educating!