Teens who don’t have sex on their brains have it thrust at them in advertisements, movies, TV shows, and the Internet. Here’s what to say to your teenager about sex:
The talk about sex is not “one and done,” but should be an ongoing conversation. At least every six months initiate a conversation, but more often if you see any warning signs. As your teen gets older, it is more likely she will want to become more sexually active, whatever that means among her peers. One of the things you can do is try to keep her involved with friends who are likely to have opinions similar to your own. Peer pressure can work in your favor if her peers want her to be a “good girl.”
As far as sexual feelings, there is a wide range of possibilities. Some have intense desires, and some have hardly any until they get older. Your child may have inherited your tendencies, but not necessarily. This is exactly the kind of situation to ask questions. “What do you think of sex?” It may help start the conversation if you share some of your own experience when you were her age. “Do you feel any desire?” “What do your friends say?” Especially for boys, but for girls, too, you should offer some guidelines about masturbation – I just ask you not to set an unattainable standard, but it is ultimately a matter of your personal morals and religious faith.
There will no doubt be some confusion between sex and love. I strongly recommend you make clear the difference. You can love someone without having sex, and you can have sex without being in love. The confusion usually happens when one person loves the other, and the other person just wants sex, so he says he loves her. One clear statement you can make is that if someone loves you, he will never pressure you to do something you don’t want to do. Your child is not accustomed to the intensity of these emotions and may truly believe she is in love (and she may well be), but if she believes love lasts forever (as most romantics do), she can wait until she is older to experience the sexual part of love. After all, if love lasts forever, she and her beau will still be in love when they become adults, won’t they? So, they will have plenty of time then.
At some point during her teen years, you will probably need to have the protection talk about condoms and why they are so important. Review the potential negative consequences of sexual contact like pregnancy, STDs, and broken hearts. As she gets older, move your approach away from childlike fear to a more rational fear, so that the precautions she takes are a rational decision – just remember she may not be so rational when in a hot state.
You can get more details and advice on say to your teenager about sex and difficult conversations about drugs and other sensitive issues, including what to say at each age, by clicking here to see your options.