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We recently found out about a local mother that has started a YouTube channel dedicated to educating children, well, actually the parents, on how to talk about sex in an age-appropriate manner. We caught up with Kathleen Hema, It's Time for the Sex Talk for Parents,  and asked her a few questions. She told us, "I make these videos for free because I believe the information is important and will help parents be the primary sexual health educator for their child."

Why did you start? What has been the inspiration?
I moved to Switzerland with my 2.5 year-old and 3 month-old in order for my partner to pursue his career goals. I left my career, in Public Health focusing on Human Sexuality and Sex Education, in order to support my partner. Fast forward 2 years, I decided to return to work and began looking for work when COVID-19 and a worldwide pandemic hit and brought with it limited job opportunities. After a lot of introspecting, I decided to pursue my favorite public health interest on a platform I had always wanted to try out. Hence, It's Time for the Sex Talk for Parents was started!

Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
I had taught Sex Education and Human Sexuality in public and private schools as well as at universities in the USA and Australia to undergraduates and I loved teaching about it. I have always been very comfortable in talking about sexuality with my children and it dawned on me one day at the playground. I saw my 2 year old, who was being potty-trained, holding her vulva and quickly asked her, "Do you have to go pee-pee? You are touching your vagina like you have to go pee!" And the mom who was there with me looked shocked and asked me if I say the word 'vagina' with my children all the time. It quickly reminded me that many parents are uncomfortable with the 'sex talk' and that I could bring my expertise to more parents through YouTube on a regular basis.

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What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
When I tell folks what I do, I tend to get stories from them about how the sex talk went when they were a child and it usually was not a positive experience. I want parents to know that they CAN be their child's primary sexual health educator, but they need to be prepared and know their family's values around specific sex topics in order to be effective at answering sex questions. Convincing parents that they CAN answer any sex question in a medically-accurate and age-appropriate way to their child, and that they must follow-up with their family's values, cultural beliefs, and religious views on that subject. I can provide you with how to answer a variety of sex questions for a variety of ages, but knowing how to explain your family's values or religious beliefs around premarital sex or hormonal contraception for example, is something that you have to figure out and know ahead of time.

What are your plans for the future?
My goal is to make talking about sex and sexual health with your child less awkward. I want parents to be prepared to have sex conversations with their children, not scared. My personal goal for my YouTube channel is to get 500 subscribers on my channel before 2021 and continue to make a new video each week! Please subscribe to my channel and share with your friends which will help you get the conversation started and help me reach my goal!

What is your favorite subject/video and why?
I love answering sex questions that children ask because they are honestly asking a question that they do not know the answer to and want to try and make sense of something. My favorite videos are the ones where I teach parents how to answer a sex question through the process of layering information for the age of the child. Most parents know the answers to sex questions, but are unsure on how to provide an age-appropriate answer to their child. I believe this helps to build the confidence of parents in knowing that they can answer any sex question when their child asks.

Here are what some parents have told Kathleen
"Parents really need to hear this. All of it is so true, it's not the kids, it's the parents who aren't ready, and they need to be." - Mom of 17 year old

"As a parent and a teacher, the 'ah-ha' moment for me was watching your explanation of the song WAP by Cardi B and hearing you say that if I embrace the awkward conversation, then the next time my child hears that song, my voice and my message about sex comes into their head, not the sexualized message of the song." Mom of 2, Nyon, VD

Anything else you think our readers would like to know.
I want parents to know that there is no one-time sex talk with your child. It is a life-long conversation that can begin from the moment you bring your baby home. October is National Let's Talk Month in the US. It's a month organized by Advocates for Youth to encourage parents to get 'the talk' started. In order to encourage parents to become more comfortable talking about sex and sexuality, I am going to make 21 videos during October in order to give parents practical tips each day on ways they can start the conversation with their children at any age. Join me - the first video will be on Tuesday, 6 October 2020.

Here are some videos to get you started but please click on Kathleen's subscribe button to be notified when she posts new videos.

Kathleen Hema: How do you know your child is ready for the sex talk?

Kathleen Hema: How to answer the question - What is Sex?

Kathleen Hema: What is Sexuality?