Photo: Blume

If you’ve ever worried about how to broach sexual health with your child, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s one of the most frequently asked questions we get here at Blume.

Let’s rewind last year to when we launched Blume—the first-ever cohesive line of products for people going through puberty—in order to raise the standards for how we discuss and address this pivotal life stage.

For most of us, puberty was a fairly traumatizing experience that left us scarred in one way or another. Whether that’s because we weren’t instructed properly about what was happening to our bodies, or shamed for what was—puberty left an unfortunate mark on many of us that we carry into adulthood.

In fact, we surveyed 1,000 womxn, and 60% said that they felt their self-esteem plummeted around puberty. We here at Blume think that’s unacceptable, and our mission is to change that statistic.

Not only do we create crowd-sourced products that help young individuals navigate puberty, but a key part of our work is also ensuring that we properly educate teens on their sexual health to prevent future issues from arising and normalize these conversations. This goes beyond traditional education points, like pregnancy and STI prevention. It expands into properly teaching them about essential components of sex that aren’t often addressed by school systems, like consent, communication and, yes, pleasure. Sexual health education is the right to know our own bodies, what they do, how they work, and how to take care of them.

So, as part of our recent States of Sex Ed campaign, Blume has launched a series of conversation cards to facilitate better versions of the “birds and bees” talk (that so many parents dread). Only 9 US states mandate medically accurate, inclusive and comprehensive sex ed, so we want these cards to bridge this knowledge gap that still exists.

The physical deck includes 152 cards covering fundamental topics like puberty, body science, consent, healthy relationships, body positivity, and self-care—all developed with a certified sexual health educator. These cards are aimed at helping you feel confident that your teen will feel informed, confident, and empowered—an experience that we all wish we had during puberty.

The cards include everything from prompts that call on your growing young adult to reflect on what they want to gain from personal self-care to helping them understand terms about gender and sexuality, and allowing themselves a chance to consider their own relationships with intimacy between themselves and others.

When it comes down to how to walk through these cards with your kid, we know that giving “the talk” isn’t easy. What we’ve realized, however, is that the awkwardness of this talk often stems more from the parents’ fears and insecurities than the children’s. Ultimately, at such a young age, you haven’t been subject to decades of sexual shame that most of us have been made to (unfortunately) endure. This is incredibly encouraging because it offers the opportunity to entirely reshape the trajectory of your child’s relationship with their body, with their partners, and with sex. Rather than instilling traditional fears and taboos, this means that the biggest part of giving “the talk” is getting over the fear of, well, giving “the talk” yourself.

It’s often difficult to recognize our own hangups or insecurities and how they affect those around us. We encourage you, through this physical deck of easy and educational conversation prompts, you can open their minds to the misconceptions you might still hold yourself around sexual health and wellness. Take a moment to consider your own relationship with your body and sexual wellness. From where did your insecurities stem? If you could do it over yourself, how would you do it differently? This is a crucial part of re-shaping the next generation into empowered, self-assured individuals who are equipped with factual information to make healthy decisions. On a more tactical level, we also recommend running through the cards first—either by yourself or with a partner. This way, you’ll be knowledgeable and prepared to share them with your teen!

As parents, you have a remarkable opportunity. For every flaw that existed within your own sex education, you have this amazing chance to remedy it for your child. If you’ve ever mistreated your body, engaged in unhealthy relationships or denied yourself sexual pleasure due to societal shame—this is a chance to offer your child a path to do things differently. We underestimate the large scale impact that sexual health education has on every single one of our personal lives. It can change the course of our self-confidence and our interpersonal relationships. At Blume, we fully believe that this is a pinnacle moment in your kid’s life (soon to be adult) and that you’re the one who can make it special. It’s time to normalize these conversations.