I don’t want to scare you.

But it is my job as your parent to tell you what risks you are taking. I know that the whole world is obsessed with sex. I know that you hear about it in songs and movies, you’ve seen references in comics and books. But my sweet beloved child… you are just turning nine. Let’s talk about this.

Sex is one of the most normal and natural urges you are going to have in this life. Wanting sex is completely ok. But you have to understand the culture you live in, the country you live in, and the rules by which you will be judged. If we lived in a different place we would have a different conversation.

In this time and in this place if you initiate a sex game with one of your little friends there is the possibility their parents could freak out and call the police. They would probably call you a sexual predator. They might even call you a rapist.

Is that fair? Probably not. But this is where we live.

In this time and in this place at your age, sex is illegal. You are not allowed to have it with other people. You can have it with yourself, that’s fine. I’ve told you many times that masturbation is awesome and I’ll say it until you finally get to the point of blushing and yelling, “MOM! I KNOW. JUST STOP SAYING IT.” Because I need you to internalize down to the very marrow of your existence that sex is awesome but you need to start with yourself and what you want before you ever touch another person.

I don’t want to tell you that you “can’t” initiate sex when you are this young. I’m too wise in the world to think that’ll work. What I want to tell you is this: I will not be able to save you from these consequences.

Your body is yours. You get to decide how you use it in this lifetime. I can give you advice. I can share my hard-won wisdom with you. I can’t make you do the “right” thing, whatever I think that is. You have to make your own choices and you have to learn to live with them.

I love you. I think that it is a great thing that you feel things in your body and you want to share them in a loving way. But sweet baby, I think it will go better for your whole life if you wait a few more years.

I know. You are sick of hearing “when you are older”. It’s frustrating as heck. I get it. But beloved child waiting a few years is the difference between people shaking their head at you if you get caught and potentially having this go to the police.

Do you really want to risk having the police get involved in your sexuality? It’s incredibly unpleasant. It hurts. It may hurt for the rest of your life.

In four or five years you can probably get away with asking to play such games with people who are within a year or two of your age. I don’t think you should start that young. I’m not sure it is wise. But I don’t think you will face legal trouble. (That within a year or two of your age thing is a BIG DEAL though.)

Remember: never ever touch somebodies body because you “think they wanted you to”. You get explicit verbal consent or you don’t know if you are hurting them badly and they are too scared to say “stop”. You must ask in advance. You must get clear consent or you just don’t know.

If you don’t know with 100% certainty that your partner wants to be doing what you are doing, if you have not heard them say out loud with their own voice that they want what you are doing…

You could be hurting someone for the rest of their life. Is that really a risk worth taking?