A Parent’s Guide On Talking To A Teen About Sex
As a parent, your responsibility is to teach and prepare your child for adulthood, including talking to a teen about sex. After all, it’s completely normal for your teenager to have many questions and a lot of thoughts about sex, so it’s vital to approach this entire topic maturely and allow your child to ask you everything that’s on their mind.
Keep in mind that teens who have frequent and open conversations with their parents about sex will more likely step into sexual activities when they are older, while also protecting themselves from unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) when they become sexually active.
If you wish to be the biggest influence in your teenager’s decisions about sex, you can start planning these conversations in your mind. Please make sure that they feel comfortable enough to come to you with their questions as well.
In all honesty, accepting that your child is entering the adult world is not easy. As parents, we often continue seeing them as too vulnerable for the real world, and that’s why you will need to prepare yourself first if you wish to avoid confusing your teen even more.
What are your personal values and beliefs about sex? What is that you want to share with your teen? Ask yourself about what you have learned from your first sexual experiences and which mistakes you would wish they avoid making.
If this conversation is uncomfortable for you, make sure you are well prepared. Include in your conversation information about protections such as birth control and condoms, sexually transmitted diseases, and everything else that might be important for them. Think about this as the first step to building a mature relationship with your teen where you will start discussing topics you never have before.
Start the Sex Talk First
It would be really good if you would be the one starting this conversation so you can dedicate your full attention to it. They might ask you some questions before you decide to sit with them and have the ‘big talk’, yet make sure you start it first as it will show you are open to discussing this topic and you’d love to hear your teen’s view on it.
Make sure you have chosen a day where both you and your kid have enough time to dedicate to this conversation. When you’re ready, start the conversation casually and try to not make a big deal out of it. Remember, you should make this conversation as less uncomfortable for them as possible, and being stiff about it will not help at all.
Guiding the Conversation
Your teen will probably have a few questions for you as well. Try to respond to them accurately and straightforward. For instance, if they ask for a proper age to start having sexual relations, try not to get too philosophical about it and provide them with facts and your personal opinion. Keep in mind that your child will form their own opinion about sex topics as they go through life, so it’s vital to give them all vital information before stepping into this world.
If you personally feel uncomfortable sharing some of your sexual experiences with your child, you can talk about it in the third person. If your teen asks a question you don’t know how to answer, be honest and invite them to look for that information together.
Common Misconceptions Teens Have About Sex
When talking with your teenager, they will maybe share with you one or two of the common misconceptions teens have about sex. For instance, they might think that sex will make them appear adult. Be supportive and offer alternative ways that might show them as adults in their friends’ eyes. For instance, they can get a summer job or volunteer.
If they want to have sex just because all of their friends are already doing it, why not focus on things that make them unique and stand out from the crowd? Explain that not following blindly every step their friends make is a good thing and that they should start having sex when they feel the need, instead of when their friends are doing it. Also, make them aware that many lie about their sexual experiences and that on average, teens start having sex at 18.
If they are in a relationship and they want to feel closer to their partner, make sure you understand their motives behind it. Many teens will have sex just because of fear of losing that person. There are many ways to show you love someone, and sex is just one of them. If done because of the pressure, tell them that the sex experience will not be enjoyable at all and that it doesn’t imply that it will improve their relationship.
As a parent, it’s your job to inform your teen of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancy, and any other consequences having unprotected sex can have for them. You don’t have to be a sexual health expert to help your teen avoid these consequences, just talk to them about it and motivate them to learn about safe sex. Encourage reading Scarleteen online!
Make sure they know they have to use protection once they start having sexual relations. Talk to them about pregnancy and how it changes life for a young person, so they are aware of all the negative outcomes if they decide to practice unsafe sex even once. Also, make them aware they are not alone in this, their decisions on sex affect one more person and they should be responsible for them as well.
Your child will find out about sex, one way or another. It’s best if you can be their source of information and help them shape their opinion on sex topics which will ensure they have a healthy sexual life later. Don’t assume they know something just because you do, they still need to be educated about sex from the start. Allow them to ask you whatever they need and always encourage them to start the sex talk whenever they feel the need.
Life Coaching and Therapy (LCAT) is a relationship coaching and sex therapy practice that transforms our clients lives through our flexible, multi-technique approach and pleasure-skills training provided by systemically-trained and licensed therapists!
Our team of compassionate, licensed therapists and certified sex therapists help Millennials and Baby Boomers alike who visit us for a variety of relationship, intimacy and sex problems.
LCAT provides on-site appointments, as well as video chat and text therapy programs.
Learn more about how LCAT can help improve your life at What We Do.