Sex Ed for Toddlers

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Toddler making fish or kiss face
10 ways to talk sex and relationships with under 5s

By Ellie Hutchinson

I am a parent, a feminist and a human being. Because of this I know it’s super important to talk to children about ‘things’ that ‘happen’ in ‘sex’ and ‘relationships’ or in other, less euphemistic ways, I want my toddler daughter to grow up to have good sex.* No, really.

Despite all the moralising about whether or not children and young people should learn about the birds and the bees, the reality is that they have bodies and live in the world, and I would like my daughter to feel able to talk about her body and relationships without shame and stigma.

Feeling good about your body is one way to start feeling good about sex. Now, of course, you also have to deal with pressures, coercion, and generally living in sexism; creating a body positive, sex positive environment isn’t going to stop rape and abuse, but it is going to empower us to feel good about our bodies and do nice things with them.

This is how I intend to do it:

1) Vagina. Don’t be scared to say it. No shame y’all.

Animated gif of the word 'Vagina'

2) Your body your choice – say it loud, and say it proud: ‘wear what you want sweetie. Sure, why not wear socks as gloves?’


3) NO (hugs) MEANS NO. Even from you, Gramps


4) No touching. The cat is still allowed their own personal space.

Animated gif of a child bouncing a cat on a trampoline

5) My body my rules: or ‘no baby, Mummy doesn’t want you to look down her top.’

Animated gif: muppet nuzzling man's face, captioned 'Excuse me, what is personal space?'

6) Talk it out. Use your words darling, use your words.


7) Despite protests, Mummy and Daddy can and will kiss and cuddle without you.




9)Long words said early: I respect your bodily autonomy so sure, no more tickling.


10) No hitting. That’s it.

Animated neon pulsing gif heart

*Good sex: fulfilling, consensual, respectful, body positive awesomeness.

Ellie HutchinsonEllie Hutchinson is a freelance feminist who also works in housing. She has supported folk at rape crisis centres, organised marches, hosted pro-feminist discos and compered pub quizzes all in the name of gender equality. She has trained people in everything from feminism, to online technology, to positive aspirations. She launched the first campaign in the UK to challenge the sharing of non-consensual images (otherwise known as revenge porn), founded Hollaback! Edinburgh and co-founded Edinburgh Feminist Network. She lives in Edinburgh with her daughter, her partner and her cat.

Likes: family, friends, 90’s dance routines, mix tapes and the work of Channing Tatum. Dislikes: SEXISM.

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