Talking with kids about sex can be tough for parents even when we think we're ready for it. Julia Sweeney gives the best (or worst) account of having the sex talk with a child ever.
I actually think listening to this is a great way to prepare yourself for talking with kids about sex. Once the topic comes up, kids, especially young kids may ask all sorts of questions that we might never expect, but that are pretty obvious if you take some time to consider it from their perspective. After all, everything about sex seems pretty unlikely to an eight year old.
Also her account is loving and humorous and sort of makes the point that we all make mistakes when we talk about sex with kids, and if we have a loving relationship with our kids, we will get lots of chances to go back and talk more. The importance of having an ongoing dialogue with your kids about sex was demonstrated by a 2008 study done by researchers at Ste. Justine hospital, here in Montreal. That study found that while parents assumed their adolescents looked to friends and celebrities to shape their attitudes towards sex, teens (the study was of teenage girls) report that it is their parents who are their most significant role models, but that despite that they do not feel comfortable talking with them about sexuality. So take heart, your child will look to you more than peers or the popular culture for her ideas about sexuality but you should start laying the groundwork for conversations about sex early.