Talking to an Adult About Sex

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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 on the ultimate elephant in the room. 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:

  • Invite the parent/auntie/unlce/other adult of your choice 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, to relationship abuse via cell phone (aka textual harassment), a lot of news coverage about young people has something to do with sex. Talk about the way the news story is similar 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. 
  • Emailing them a link to a resource for adults like talkwithyourkids.org or noplacelikehome.org is a way to let them know you're ready. That way they can educate themselves – who knows, the reason they're not talking to you yet might be because they don't think they know enough! 
  • 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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