There is a museum exhibit opening soon regarding sex - there has been quite the uproar about it from parents - and I don't understand it. Here is a link to the article.
As I said - I don't understand the uproar. The museum has put age restrictions in place for this, and to be honest - by the time they are 16 (the age for unaccompanied children) they already KNOW a lot of this stuff. Whether they have learnt it from their parents, their teachers in class, or their friends is the question.
If my kids were 12, I would be heading down there as soon as possible to give them a chance to learn more.
Sex is a natural part of life - heck, without it MOST of us wouldn't be here. I grew up in a very open household, where my mother answered our questions honestly. She gave age appropriate answers, and we were always encouraged to ask questions if we had any.
I learnt about menstruation at a very young age - much younger than most. My friends and I ended up talking about it after our sex ed class in Grade 5 - and then came to school the next day and told me that their moms told them they weren't allowed to talk to me about it - and that I lied. Girls/women didn't bleed from their genitals monthly, and they didn't know why I would say something like that.
I couldn't understand why their mothers would tell them that (heck, we had JUST learnt about it in sex-ed - it wasn't like I came to school spewing all this stuff out of nowhere). I can't imagine a mom actually LYING about it - take the opportunity to educate them so that WHEN they get their first period they won't think they are dying.
I also believe that sex education is more than just about sex. It needs to be an open dialogue between parents and children from the time they are born - and this begins with the parent. When your teaching children their body parts - use the proper names. Penis, Scrotum, Vulva, Vagina, Bum. There is nothing wrong with the proper names, and if people used them more there wouldn't be such a stigma or embarassment about them. You don't call a nose a winkle do you? Penis - Vagina - I can say it without embarassment. Kids explore their bodies - pretty much every diaper change Kyle grabs his penis - so I tell him what it is called, along with his scrotum and I did the same with Julien. The boys are practically attached to me as I am going to the bathroom - they know that I don't have a penis, they know that I have a period (they don't understand yet, but why would I lie to them - when I was asked what it was I simply replied that mommies get what is called a period and it helps them to have a baby when the time is right - simple answer, he moved on)
Start young - really - it is easy. The more you talk about it in daily life, the easier it is. If you wait until you think they are ready to have "the talk" - not only is it embarassing for them and you - you will most likely be too late.