This article is by Renae and Maria Elena, the writers of the Ask A Teen Column where readers can write in to ask our teens for advice, email firstname.lastname@example.org for your question.
“How should parents have the “sex talk?” What do parents do wrong and what should we do right?”
It’s usually really uncomfortable for teens to talk to their parents about sex. I think the easiest way to make the transition from not talking about sex at all to at least approaching the subject would be to watch TV shows or movies with your teens that have sexual references. Not only sexual references but comical sexual references. If your teen sees you can laugh about that kind of thing, it’s a sign you are comfortable with sexual topics, which makes talking to you about sex easier for your teen. My mom never had the talk with me and I’m glad she didn’t but it was really awkward when she out-of-the-blue asked me one day “Have you had sex?” We had never talked about anything really personal like that before so when she just sprung the subject I instantly closed up and wouldn’t talk to her. There are a lot of kids and parents out there who think sex should not be discussed in front of the other. I do think that it should be a topic talked about but in a light sense. It is important that teens are being safe but if you want to get that point across you cant make sex seem like that big of a deal otherwise, teens will be embarrassed about it. You could even talk to your kid about an experience of yours (NOT USING TOO MUCH DETAIL) that might make them more comfortable.
~Renae is a 16-year-old from Lowell, MI. She is a creative individual who spends a lot of her time reading and learning Japanese because she would like to become a Journalist in Japan.
Depending on what gender you’re addressing, different approaches may be necessary. Chances are that sooner or later your children are going to get the sex talk in school either formally in a classroom or from one of their peers. My parents didn’t give me the “sex talk” and I’m a little glad that they didn’t, but I feel like it’s one of those things that everyone has to experience in their lifetime no matter how awkward the situation may be. Parents should determine when to talk to their teens about sex depending on their level of maturity and the situation. Parents don’t do anything “wrong” per say, rather their techniques need to be improved. For example, parents should not give the “sex talk” in front of siblings, other parents, other family members, etc. It should be a very low-key brief and private, one on one talk about your expectations as a parent, what is morally acceptable, and how to handle a situation if one were to ever arise. Make sure that they know that they can come to you or someone else that you trust (i.e. an older cousin) if they ever needed help, guidance, or advice. Don’t make it a flamboyant event, keep it simple and you’ll be safe.
~ Maria Elena is a 17-year-old from Wilmington, DE. She enjoys dancing and baking and her favorite subject is Math.