I’m years away from having a teen, but talking to kids about sex kind of creeps up on you. I mean, I was about 5 or 6 when I asked where babies came from, and my mom, as she always did, answered honestly. She kept up the frank talk throughout the years, and I always appreciated that. I hope that I’ll be as straightforward as my mom when it comes to matters like that; I want my kids to know they can ask me anything and tell me anything.
So when LifeStyles condoms sent these tips for talking to teens about sex, I knew I had to share. In case there are parents out there who didn’t have straight-talking parents as examples set for them, these tips will have you prepared for when The Talk comes.
Teens, Birds and Bees
Sex is a natural part of life, but it’s not always a comfortable subject to approach with your teens. So, how do you approach the “big talk” without embarrassment? What do you say? Should you wait? Or just hope for the best? Actually, the best piece of advice we can give you is to make sex an ongoing conversation with your teens. This is one “mystery” you don’t want them solving themselves. You play a big role in how your teen views sex. That’s why it’s important you be there with plenty of understanding and information. Here are a few tips to make this confusing — and pivotal — time in your teen’s life easier on both of you.
6 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex
1. Talk, but listen. Keep the channels of communication open.
2. Encourage conversation. Many teens will never ask about sex, so it’s important you approach them before a crisis arises. Think through your own values about sexuality: What messages do you want to give your children about love, gender roles, pregnancy, etc?
3. Be aware of outside influences. What are they teaching your child at school, church or youth groups about sexual education? It may provide a springboard for your conversations, and make things go a lot easier.
4. Share your feelings. In addition to giving facts, share your feelings, values and beliefs about sex.
5. Be sure to tell your child why you feel that way. Telling children the “why” behind values teaches them to think. And when they share their feelings, listen closely.
6. Balance the positives with the negatives. While it’s important your child knows the negative information about sex (i.e., sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS and unwanted pregnancy), you should balance your approach with positive information. Tell them sexuality is natural and healthy, and in loving relationships, intimacy can be a wonderful part of adult life.
Okay, so now you know how to talk to your teen. But will he or she go out and have more sex because of it? And what do you say about protection? With all the “false” information out there, you need to have the facts — and nothing but the facts.
According to the World Health Organization, there is no evidence that sex education encourages sexual experimentation or increased activity. On the contrary, if any effects of sex education were observed, almost without exception, it is the postponement of sexual intercourse and/or effective use of contraceptives.
When used consistently and correctly, a latex condom is the most effective barrier contraceptive available today. However, condom failure is often due to improper use. To help solve this problem, LifeStyles condoms has introduced Discs with unique packaging that ensures proper use, since every condom is packed right side up for an easy-on, correct fit. The fact is, sex education provides teens with correct information so they can make informed decisions. And, while abstinence is a sure way to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy, LifeStyles condoms are a great option if they do decide to have sex.
A big thanks to LifeStyles for the great tips. And yay for making condoms as easy to use as possible!
Do you feel prepared to talk to your kids about sex? —Erin