Nowadays, children are exposed to the idea of sex at a very young age, sometimes when they are even 9 or 10 years old. They may not understand what it is at first, but chances are they have already asked you or someone about it in some way or another. The media and society are usually the first contributors when it comes to children learning about sex. Whether they see a movie that has mature content or if they hear about sex from their peers at school, they will learn about it somewhere, somehow.
The only thing that we can do as parents is to teach our teens the facts they need to know to keep themselves safe and healthy. Here are some of the basics that every teenager should know, regardless if they show interest in sex and relationships or not.
Sex is Not…
- A way to show how mature or grown up you are.
- An abusive act.
- Something you must do by a certain age to be cool.
- A way to prove your love to someone or to make somebody love you.
- A way to show you are committed to someone.
- An act of manipulation. I.e. “If you love me, you will have sex with me.”
- A smart way to assert your independence to your parents or get back them.
- An act of revenge against another person.
- Always a pleasurable act as it can be painful, messy, embarrassing, and even noisy.
- Best when shared between two people that love and care for each other.
- Between two consenting individuals. I.e. No means NO!
- Healthier when shared between two people that respect each other and each other’s bodies.
- Extremely risky. You can catch an STD (sexually transmitted disease), get pregnant or feel extremely disappointed and let down when it is over. You may feel shame and guilt, even heartbroken if the other person has used you only for sex.
- Both an emotional and physical act.
- Not an act to treat lightly. It is a very serious act between two people.
What Your Teen Needs to Know
The thought of talking to your teenager about sex might be the last thing you want to do, but to help them protect themselves from making a rush decision or a big mistake, it is worth it to sit down and speak to them.
Birth Control and Disease Prevention
It is important that tweens and teenagers learn about safe sex. They need to know the basics such as disease prevention and birth control. If your child expresses sexual interest, ask them if they are thinking about having sex. This could lead to getting birth control pills for your daughter or buying condoms for your daughter or son. It sounds terrifying, but in the long run, they will stay safe. Remind them that both teens and adults can get STD’s and that oral sex is still considered sex.
Make sure that their school is also offering sexual education classes where they can learn where to go for help and information, how to put on a condom correctly, and what to do if they think the condom broke or if they birth control pills were missed.
Teenagers need to know that they should never feel pressured to have sex and that sex is not something to be treated lightly. The more information you can offer your teen, the more they will be able to protect themselves.
Have you talked to your teenager about sex? How did it go? We would love to hear!