It's NOT about talking dirty!
By Shari Levine
A mother went into her teen daughter's bedroom and said "Honey, now that you are a teenager, it's time for us to talk about sex." To this the girl responded, "Okay, Mom, what do you want to know?"
If only it were this easy to talk to your parents about sex. Some girls' parents have spoken to them openly about sex from the time they were born. But for many of us, talking about sex with parents is one of the weirdest conversations we'll ever have.
Much of the advice for how to talk to your parents about sex is simplistic and unrealistic. One article tells teens: "Relax: Do not worry about talking to your parents about sex, they know what you are going through!" Clearly the writer has never met my parents!
Even if they don't bring it up first, it's still a good idea to try and talk to your parents about sex. They are a good resource - after all, most of our parents had to do it to get us into this world, so they understand how things work. If you are adopted, trust me, your parents have still done it. And if they're gay, they probably know twice as much about sex as your friends' parents. So, ask away! Here's how...
The First Step: What's The Point?
Before you talk to your parents, figure out exactly what you want to get out of the conversation. What specific information do you need? What do you want to tell them, and what do you want them to tell you? How many details do you want to reveal about yourself and how much do you want to know about them?
It's impossible to know how your parents will respond. Some will be terrific, and some will not. Don't freak if your parents seem uncomfortable, remember this is normal! They may think that you are talking about sex because you are having sex, and this is hard for them to deal with. Some parents think that talking about sex will make you want to have sex. Explain that you took a big step by initiating this discussion, and that they need to trust that you are collecting information that will help you take better care of yourself.
Remember that your primary goals are to ask questions, get information, and communicate with your parents. If they seem angry, begin to yell, start to lecture you, or just don't seem to understand, end the conversation. It probably won't be productive anyway.
Communicating with your parents about sex is a lot like having sex. Here 's how.
- Foreplay - Set the mood
- Intercourse - Doing it
- Pillow Talk - Talk about what works and what doesn't
Setting the Mood
Setting the mood means creating a safe and comfortable environment to have the discussion. This will depend on the way you best relate to your parents. Some families are formal and need to schedule an appointment time to "meet" while others can initiate a casual conversation while hanging out in front of the TV. Either way, the best time to have any serious discussion is when you are all relaxed and not distracted by other responsibilities.
Breaking the ice can be a challenge. Think of ways that you can open up a discussion about sex without freaking yourself (or them) out. Some experts recommend beginning the conversation with a general question or comment such as "Do you think that teenagers should wait until they're married to have sex?"
Use a television show, book or magazine article as a launching pad to launch the discussion. You won't have to look far to find something on a TV talk show, soap opera or prime time series that involves teens and sex. Or, you could begin the conversation in a more clinical way by talking about the spread of HIV/AIDS and how that affects your generation.
Talk about what works and what doesn't
Pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are real consequences of sex, and no girl is immune to these things. Abstinence and contraception are the only ways to keep your body safe and healthy. Parents can provide you with much needed information about contraceptives, as well as actual devices. You can find contraceptives such as condoms, which are the most effective method of birth control and STI prevention, at the pharmacy or supermarket. Other methods like the birth control pill or diaphragm are prescribed by a doctor, and in some situations you need to have a parent's approval before you can get them.
What if you just can't talk to your parents about sex?
You may want to rely on your friends for the scoop on sex, and they may be helpful in a lot of ways. However, most adults will have useful information and advice that only comes with age and experience. Consider talking about sex with another adult in your life with whom you have a connection. It could be a coach, teacher, preacher, or friend's parent.