Help! My young child found my sex toys!
As a sex educator and mother, I’ve experienced a few moments where my 4-year-old has discovered a sex toy or two. Anyone with young kids will know that if you want something to be hidden a small child will find it.
Coping when a child finds an adult novelty can be tricky, it’s easy to react quickly and snap out at them due to embarrassment and shame, however, this may impact on your child’s relationships as they get older and develop into adults. We regularly forget that younger children do not sexualise items like we do as adults unless they have been taught to (which sadly does happen to some but shouldn’t and we want to avoid this as much as possible). To them a sex toy is simply an object they have found, they are just as curious when they find a rock or bug when exploring the world, and unless it sends dangerous alarm bells out (like threat of injury) we as parents simply just explain what the item is and what it’s for.
With sex toys, we need to explain some things to our children, but we can easily leave out any sexual information or shame when discussing them. As a parent you may have already thought about the difficulties of if your child finds your adult devices, but if you haven’t or are stuck on what to do, I’ll try and go through some tips of what to do if this does happen to you.
First thing is to simply ask your child what they think the object is. Children see the world differently to how we do, they have a free-flowing imagination that isn’t restricted by the laws of reality. So, when my child found a packet of cock rings, I simply let him explain what he thought the items were. To the adult consumerist world they are sexual enhancing devices, to my 4-year-old, they were brightly coloured mini hula hoops.
Next, set boundaries and use this as an opportunity to teach about personal space and even consent. You know something, consent isn’t just seen as something we obtain or give when engaging in sexual acts and many forget this, we give and receive consent in many daily activities and interactions. That is why addressing why a child can’t go into your room without permission is important, or setting boundaries on where or where they can explore without you. Sure, children will always challenge their parents, but if the foundation is there on boundaries and consent it is going to help them so much in so many ways as they get older. Simply explain to your child that they shouldn’t be looking through your things without you and that they should ask. Also incorporating boundaries and consent into other places in the home should help them understand when they do over step the boundaries and why they may get in trouble in future – not understanding why a child is being told off is a horrible and confusing thing for them, the key is to explain as much as you can in a way your child will understand. If you set boundaries and consent about going into one drawer in your bedroom only, you may find they become more curious about it, but if the same rules apply elsewhere in the house, they may lose interest faster. Examples of other areas can be the kitchen, where sharp items are stored, or the garage where you may have car tools they shouldn’t play with.
Make them aware that they are your items and not theirs. When you play with them ask them if you can play with their toys. This will not only help them understand that they need to ask to play with someone else’s things but that you too will ask them.
Another way of dealing with when they find your sex toys is to remain calm and divert the conversation to something else, like asking them is they want to do a puzzle, help “build” a sandwich, go to the park. Anything that they may find fun and spark their interest. I find the park one a good one as you can ask them to go grab their coat or shoes as you quickly re-hide your toys away.
Larger items that you may struggle explaining? For years I have been passing off sex furniture as Pilates equipment and simply tell people it’s for exercise. If this can convince adults, it can work for children.
Just want to avoid the situation completely? Well depending on your situation you could purchase a lockable tool box or makeup trunk. It’s worth noting those, if a kid wants to get into something, they will manage it no matter how secure it is.
Every so often the children have to win. When I say win, I mean give in and just let them have the toy. I am not saying they should have a sex toy as a sex toy, but, one mum found after her children found some cock rings that it caused less harm for them to simply keep them as bracelets avoiding any disastrous upheaval. If you are trying to avoid a tantrum, sometimes just letting them play with a toy until they forget or get bored is just easier rather than causing negativity and shame.
All my guests were traumatized but I couldn’t stop laughing. Needless to say, the girls got to keep their new “vibrating bracelets” and I found them all over the house for months after “the incident”.
So, are there any big tips? Well the most important is simply just don’t get angry at your kids and teach boundaries. Another tip is I recommend to just always remember to wash your toys after use as you don’t want your kids finding dirty sex toys. Hiding sex toys away in fabric bags cans help make them more discreet but also keep them cleaner when stored too.
If your child is now a teenager or aware from social influences outside of your control when it comes to sex toys, it may be time to address them in a more serious manner depending on the relationship and their maturity. Some children are already exploring their bodies as they go through puberty. This is a good opportunity to ask them what they think the item is and then educate accordingly to both your comfort levels. Whilst some parents will fully support their fifteen-year-old when it comes to sex toys if you or your child is uncomfortable with this concept don’t worry. Simply avoiding shame and negativity is the main focus here.
Unable to cope with using your sex toy a sex toy once your child has found it? I have met some unable to use a particular toy once it had been found or even moved by another. It’s not just when kids have found a toy, but cleaners, partners, relatives, etc. Some of these people have reported that their fantasies become interrupted by the incident when they use a particular toy. If this happens to you, I really recommend to try a ritual of sterilising the product and seeing if that helps. If this still doesn’t work then try distracting your fantasies and thoughts with porn or audio porn. If all else fails, maybe it’s time to treat yourself to some new sex toys.
At the end of the day our kids are really good at surprising us and it’s always worth remembering our children are pros at embarrassing us as parents and that laughter is sometimes the best approach to some situations.