Chico Center for Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy and Counseling services for Children & Adults | Support for Parents


Chico therapist An Bulkens, LMFT is psychotherapist and counselor in Chico, California.  An Bulkens specializes in psychotherapy and counseling for young children  (toddlers, preschoolers, adolescents) and support for parents, with a special emphasis on  early childhood psychotherapy, and counseling  for preschoolers and Kindergarten aged child.  She also offers parenting skills support. She offers psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults.  Her approach is grounded in  Lacanian Psychoanalysis. She was also trained as a clinical psychologist in Europe, Belgium.  Her education emphasized developmental psychology and psychoanalytic therapy. 

Talking to your child about sexuality.


According to new research  90 percent of children learn first about sex through online pornography.  Without ever been talked to, or addressed about this by their parents or other adults of importance in their lives. This first encounter with porn happens on average at age nine.  Although pornography use is more prevalent among boys, girls are viewing it as well.

Porn functioning as sex education at such an early age, might lead to an understanding of sexuality that can puzzle, and haunt a child into their adult years.  When sexuality becomes reduced to porn, children receive a very limited and distorted view of sexuality. The viewing of bodies getting off on each other eclipses a whole realm of desire that is far more complex and subtle, but will not get addressed in an industry that is catering to helping people 'get off.' 

Adding porn as an ingredient to America's sex education is not going to be all that helpful. The state of sex education in the US is limited to 2 options: abstinence or safety. Abstinence means no education, safety is focused on 'hygiene,' and leaves the whole realm of desire and other aspects out of the picture. 

The reason for this is that there is shame and awkwardness running through these discussions.  When a curious child is confronted with an awkward conversation, which brings forth the discomfort of the parent, the child will turn to the internet, leading to probably more guilt and hiding. 

It doesn’t have to be this way as I have argued before.  In my practice I encourage parents to have many age-appropriate talks over the course of many years.  For example, with a 3 year old you can start using the appropriate names for the body part.  With a 4 or 5 year old you can start talking about where babies come from.  your child is three to five years old you can discuss topics like sexual intercourse, including boundaries, puberty, a woman’s menstrual cycle, pornography, and sexual abuse. From ages eleven through fourteen, have more dialogue about puberty, and more complex questions about sexuality.

By encouraging these kinds of consistent talks, by overcoming feelings of awkwardness (which implicitly send the message that there is something wrong, or bad about sex) parents can create a climate in which children will feel comfortable coming to talk to them.  They become someone their children can trust to talk with regards to this area of their life.  

To schedule an appointment call An at (530) 321-2970

An Bulkens    |    Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist    |   MFC 52746

Tel. (530) 321- 2970    |   186 E 12th ST,  Chico, CA 95928