Answering teen sex questions and talking about sex with your teen can be difficult, uncomfortable, embarrassing, and awkward….and that’s when it’s easy. For teens and adults, answering teen sex questions and dealing with teen sex issues can be one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. The fact is, though, that your teen probably already knows more than you could possibly imagine about sex, and what they’re really looking for from you is truth, honesty, and a sense of comfort.
Teens and kids even younger than that are exposed, not only through TV and movies but through advertisements and books and hearing kids talk in the hallways at school, to every possible sex topic. Kids can be watching the most innocuous television programming and be exposed to Viagra ads that openly discuss erectile dysfunction. If you’ve never even had the “birds and the bees” talk with your teen, that can create an entire litany of questions.
Yet teen sex and teen pregnancy are once again on the rise. In the states, the rates are increasing at a rapid rate. Experts blame the increase on the conservative right political efforts to have abstinence only education in schools. Many teens are not being taught about condoms, or are being given false information about condoms through these programs.
What your teen really needs from you is the understanding that even if both of you agree that teen sex is not something your teen should be doing and that abstinence is the best policy, that it is still possible that something could happen. Your teen needs you to arm him or her with the knowledge that using condoms does save lives, prevent STDs, and prevent unplanned pregnancy. Your teen must trust that you are the source of information that will rise above embarrassment, politics, or social pressure to be the voice of compassion, reason, and understanding.
If you have a teen, you can be guaranteed that with or without your teen’s consent, his or her body is being prepared for sexual activity. It is the way in which humans perpetuate the existence of our species…we are made to have sex. If you’re the parent of a teen, you need to be answering teen sex questions honestly and openly. Don’t stigmatize sex or make it difficult for your teen to come to you with concerns.
Since they most likely already know more than you expect, the role you play is more about building trust than actually teaching them anything about sex. Your role is to reassure them and be a safe place to turn. If you need help knowing what to say to your teen about sex, start by letting your teen know that you are there for him or her. Use opportunities like TV shows or other moments when sexual situations are portrayed to let your teen know that if he or she has questions, you’re happy to talk to them. Don’t minimize your teen’s feelings, and reassure your teen that you care. By opening the dialogue, your teen will be more likely to come to you for information than seek it from a friend at school or the internet.