Additional Resources

Asking for What You Need

How do you ask your parents for menstrual products, condoms, doctor's appointments or other items related to sexual health? The best advice for making these requests is to be open and to-the-point. Dropping hints may work some of the time, but in order to get what you really want it's always better to just come out and say it. Of course, you don't have to reveal all the details of your request to your parents, it's just important that your request is understandable.

If your parents don't keep menstrual products, condoms or other items that are easily purchased at a local store around the house for you to use, request them. Being prepared before you get your period or begin having sex makes everything a lot easier. Also if you have already become sexually active but have a hard time buying or affording condoms, remember that the risks of not using one (for example, STIs and unwanted pregnancies) are significantly more dangerous than one awkward conversation with your parent. Next time you are alone with a parent (or both), be direct and ask them for what you want. Make sure you are specific about your needs. Do you want pads or tampons? Do you want a specific type of condoms? Explaining why you need them (for example, if your friends have started using tampons and you want to feel prepared or your relationship with your girlfriend has gotten more serious) will help your parents feel more informed and probably let them worry less. If you don't feel like sharing detailed information, "I just want to be prepared" is a good explanation. If you want to do the shopping yourself, ask your parent if next time they go to the store you can come and pick out what you want. Mentioning it beforehand ensures that you don't have to answer questions about your menstrual status or your new girlfriend while standing in a crowded grocery store. When at the store, it's probably best to separate from your parent and let them know that you are going to go pick our your own purchases. Find what you need and then add it to your parent's purchases. Having your father hovering over your shoulder as you try and decide between the ribbed and lubricated condoms is awkward to say the least, and may cause you to rush through the purchase. Also remember that in an emergency, school nurses, doctors, health clinics and hospitals very often have free menstrual products and condoms.

Requesting something that takes more planning, like hormonal birth control or a doctor's appointment, can be done through mostly the same process as above. In this case, it will probably be helpful if you do some research beforehand. If you need your parent to make you a gynecologist appointment or drive you to get an STI test, try to find the clinic closest to your house or a doctor that your friends recommend. If you need medication or hormonal birth control, make sure you know the facts about the method and can explain why you want it. Do research on the process of getting it, how it works and what the side effects are. Again, the best method is to simply be upfront when asking your parents. Explain your research to them and why you are making the request. "I just want to be prepared" is still a good explanation if you don't feel comfortable sharing details with your parents. In the case of hormonal birth control though, there are health risks that come with taking artificial hormones, so it is important to explain your reasons and discuss your medical history in order to stay informed and safe.