Talking with your teen about sex
Here are 6 basic tips for talking with your teen about sex, to make it more comfortable for yourself and your teen.
- Be prepared
- Avoid ‘The Talk’
- Use teachable moments
- Remember your humour
- Knowledge is power
- Access resources
Be prepared to talk about sexual health
Update your sexual health IQ by accessing current and reliable information about:
- birth control methods
- sexually transmitted infections
- healthy relationships
It is essential to keep up to date on sexual health information as it changes all the time. Being prepared also means checking in with your own values and beliefs about sexuality.
Avoid “The Talk”
Try to avoid one intense conversation in which you frantically cover everything from abstinence to relationship skills like your own parents may have!
Instead, try to create space and time for ongoing chats and check-ins with your teen. This removes the pressure on your to teach everything at one time, and it helps your teen absorb the info better and relate to the information being shared in small chunks.
Driving in the car to lacrosse practice or piano lessons can be a good time for a little chat about sexuality, as your teens are a captive audience!
Use teachable moments
Popular culture—especially TV, music videos, movies and magazines geared to teens—offer lots of conversation starters to help you explore and understand their values, attitudes and messages around sex and sexuality.
The connection to media can help to keep the conversation more closely linked to their reality.
See our blog for current sexual health ideas from our community educator.
Remember your humour
Try to remember your sense of humour when you discuss sexual health. It will help you survive the awkward moments and role-model comfort with the topic.
It can also help to ease some of the pressure and embarrassment one or both of you may be feeling at the time.
Knowledge is power
Educating your teens about sexual health is not harmful. Awkward maybe but definitely not harmful.
Learning more about sex and sexuality is not going to encourage teens to experiment on their own. Learning more about sex and sexuality from their parents helps teens to make better and safer decisions that will protect their bodies, minds and spirits.
Knowing what local resources are available to you and your teen on sex and sexuality is important. Local libraries and bookstores have both print and video materials that can be helpful and fun teaching aides. Your local sexual health clinics should also have resources available for you.
Leaving them out after sharing them is a great way for teens to get more information for themselves in private.