Talk To Your Teen About Sex Month

26 Mar

As a recap, March was “Talk To Your Teen About Sex Month” . If you missed the memo because those teens can keep you busy, take a moment to review this blog and formulate strategies to talk to your child about sex.

Okay let’s face it, you are going to have to have the ‘Birds and the Bees’ talk at some point. Sex can be a touchy subject, so how do talk about it without completely embarrassing yourself or your growing teen? Consider re-framing your thought process. As a parent, it is your job to value education and relay those values to your child/children. How do you want your child to learn this information? If not by you, who? Well, by the internet, that’s who. And while there can be some great information online (we’re looking at you Scarleteen), a large swath of the internet contains questionable or just flat out wrong sex ed info. So talk to your teen about sex. Your message can convey one of importance and care rather than awkwardness or embarrassment if you maintain open communication about sex and reinforce the importance of sex education that goes beyond abstinence.

Are you unsure of what kind of questions to ask? Here are a few examples: When do I start talking to my teen, at what age? What do I tell my teen about oral sex? How do I talk to my teen about sex and pregnancy? STI’s are a concern, but there is so much information. Help! Feel free to bring your questions to us. We are here to help.

Sincerely,

SP Staff

Top 5 Things Your Teen NEEDS to Know About Sex:

1. Condoms: School sex ed is not commonly offered and this topic is commonly overlooked. Condoms will help your teen to protect themselves from STIs and unwanted pregnancy, IF they are used correctly each and every time. “The pill”, a revolutionary step in pregnancy prevention, will NOT protect against STIs. Also, it may not be an option that your teen wants to explore. Teach your child to put a condom on correctly and stress that they should use one each and every time they engage in intercourse. Don’t relish the idea of using a dildo for this demonstration? A banana or cucumber can be a delightful substitute.

2. You CAN transmit STIs through oral sex and anal sex: Any time you exchange fluids (semen, vaginal secretions, anal secretions, blood) with a partner, you could pass on a STI – this includes oral sex. Remind your teen to protect themselves by use a condom or a dental dam.

Regarding anal sex, some believe that if the vagina is not involved, they are safe because they cannot become pregnant. It is possible for semen to drift from the anus to the vagina. Although this does not happen often, there is a slight risk of pregnancy if this occurs. Unprotected anal sex has a HIGH risk of transmitting STIs if one partner is infected. The tissues that make up the anus are thinner and tear easily, thus allowing for bacteria and infection to transmit easily from one person to another.

3. Sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape are against the law: If you sexually harass, sexually assault, or rape someone you will get in trouble with the law. As common as this knowledge may seem, these instances occur on a daily basis. If you walk through the average high school (yes, your teen’s school), you will hear at least a dozen incidents of sexual harassment.  Whether the principal has called your home or not, there is a chance that your teen is contributing to or is a victim of this environment of sexual harassment.  It’s important they know that lude comments, explicit language, touching, twisting, pulling down/up clothing, and slurs about one’s sexual orientation are unacceptable.

4. Anatomy 101: It’s not a “pee-pee” it’s a penis, and it’s not a “hoo haa” it’s a vulva and vagina.  Teaching your child the correct terms for their body parts and for others’ body parts can start well before teenage years. Once your child is a pre-teen, they’ll need to understand puberty and what changes their body will experience. Plus, knowing the correct terms for their body parts can lead to greater self-efficacy when talking about their health – especially with doctors. Talking about erections, breasts, and masturbation may seem awkward, but these are the building blocks for future sexual health (www.plannedparenthood.org/)

5. Masturbation is healthy: People are not introduced to the idea or topic of masturbation for many reasons. Often, people discover it and may experience confusion, or were told never ever to talk about it and feel shame associated with the thoughts/act. This is a negative way to think of masturbation.  Masturbation is a natural and healthy behavior. Self-pleasure is a safe way for your teen to explore fantasy, hormones, sexual desire, etc. Masturbation is also a wonderful way to explore the body so that they can notice changes should they occur and can articulate those to a health care professional if there is cause for concern. It is ok to let your child know that masturbation is normal and healthy. It is something that they can experience in private, much like any exploring child.

Resources to Help You Have the Sex Talk with Your Teen

Planned Parenthood www.plannedparenthood.org/
In “Health Info and Services” Planned Parenthood has short, simple, and accurate articles on everything from birth control and sex to healthy relationships. If you and your teen are considering birth control options, or need STI testing, click “Find a Health Center” on the website for a location near you.

Scarleteen http://www.scarleteen.com/
Think Dear Abby, but for today’s youth.  Scarleteen is an online sex education center designed with the needs of teens in mind. Teens can submit questions directly to them online, by text, or through social media to have their questions answered. Parents, this site will give you an idea of some questions your child may have about sex.

Parents Sex Ed Center by Advocates for Youth http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/parents-sex-ed-center-home
Tips, cartoons, experts–the Parent Sex Ed Center has everything you could ever want to know about talking to your child about sex. In “Growth and Development” they even break it down by age groups–explaining the developmental stages of kids from 0-18.

“Talking to Your Teen about Sex, Love, and Relationships” by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/parents/talking-to-teens/default.aspx
The National Campaign has collected videos from nine teens talking directly to parents regarding when to have “the sex talk”, how to start it, and helpful information regarding what to say.

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