A Secular Childhood: Letters to My Daughter – no.4 “Sex”

Dear daughter,

Sex is a complicated subject and will be an ongoing conversation for us. I want to arm you with as much information as possible at a young age — hopefully before you are sexually active. I want you to feel comfortable asking questions or for help obtaining birth control.

When I was in high school, sex ed wasn’t even offered. At that time, the state of Ohio required that any sex-ed programs be abstinence-only, which meant they could only teach that sex is only acceptable after marriage. Important topics like consent, contraception, and sexual orientation were never addressed. I hope these strict and ridiculous rules are not in place when you are in school.

I benefited greatly from having an older sister who taught me what she could.

Here are my thoughts on sex. You’re only four years old as I write this, but I’ve made a list of the things I want to tell you.

  1. There’s nothing special about being a virgin.
  2. It’s okay to masturbate. It’s good to know your body and what you like.
  3. Be safe. Use condoms.
  4. Birth control is readily available. Use it. Don’t take your chances.
  5. Always make sure everything is consensual and nobody’s getting hurt — physically or emotionally.
  6. Say no when you need to.
  7. Say yes when you want to.
  8. Don’t be embarrassed about the things you like.
  9. Don’t be afraid to tell your partner what you like. 
  10. Marriage is not necessary. 
  11. There’s nothing wrong with casual sex.
  12. There’s nothing wrong with the type of people you are attracted to.
  13. Don’t ever be ashamed of your body. You’re beautiful and our bodies are amazing.
  14. Don’t listen to other people’s rules and expectations. Make your own.

This list will probably grow as time goes on. Please don’t ever be afraid to come to me if you need help or have questions.




What would you add to my list?


  1. anat says

    Great start!

    How about – “There is nothing wrong about deciding to wait for a while, even if ‘all’ your friends aren’t”

  2. flexilis says

    I have been really enjoying this series. I predict your daughter will grow up to be an amazing young woman.

    Your letters have the makings of a wonderful parenting book.

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