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Talking to an Adult About Sex

So you want to talk to your parents about sex (or your soccer coach, or your auntie or uncle, or some other adult you trust – you get the idea), but you’re not sure how to get started? That’s okay. Just realizing it’s a good idea to talk to them is an important first step. Talking lets them know you’re growing up, but you still care about what they think. If you’ve never brought it up with an adult before – and a lot of teens are in that same boat – don’t worry!

Here are some tips:

  • Ask them to text the word EMPOWER to 97779. They’ll receive weekly text messages from Healthy Native Youth covering sexual health, pregnancy, STDs, and consent! That way they can educate themselves and get prepared for the convo.
  • Invite your parent, auntie, uncle, or another adult to watch an episode of a show like 16 and Pregnant or Secret Life of the American Teenager.
  • Use the news to get started. From stats on teen birth control use, to condoms in schools, a lot of news coverage about young people has something to do with sex. Talk about the way the news story is similar to or different from what goes on with you or your friends. And that way, you can get at whatever personal questions or concerns you really want to talk about with them about.
  • You could also impress them with statistics on the positive effect of parents and other adults talking to kids about sex. For example, in one study, teens who said they were able to talk about sex with their parents were more likely to use condoms and less likely to become pregnant (or get someone pregnant) than teens who couldn’t talk to their parents. There’s more information like that here.

Still not convinced? Just give it a try. You probably aren’t risking much but a little awkwardness, and you have a lot to gain. Get creative,if you need to. An older sibling, a friend’s older sibling, or a guidance counselor could all be good resources, depending on what questions you want to ask. 

Acknowledgements: This fact sheet was adapted from TeenSource.org, a website that provides education about reproductive and sexual health. 

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