Additional Resources

Overview

As a teenager, talking to your parents about sex may seem like the most embarrassing thing you can imagine. On the other hand, maybe they've already busted out the sex education pamphlets and anatomical diagrams. Either way, parents can be an incredible resource for information and support as you grow and mature sexually. This resource contains advice about making sex and sexual health a casual topic of discussion in your family, allowing you and your parents to both share your ideas about and knowledge of sexuality. It also includes advice on how to deal with specific events or problems for which you need or want support, even if sex isn't a common topic in your home. Of course not all parents are knowledgeable about sexual health or comfortable discussing sex, and that's okay. You can help them too! You will not only benefit from their knowledge, but they can benefit from yours as well. Not everything is easy though and sometimes your parents' and your values surrounding sexuality just won't be in agreement. Even so, you can work towards understanding each other and maybe even find a way to compromise. This resource is also applicable to other adults in your life who you may want or need to talk about sex with. Whatever your situation is, bringing issues of sexuality into the open and talking about them is hugely beneficial, helping to make individuals more confident, healthy and educated about sexuality and sexual health.

Be Honest
This is one of the most important things to remember when discussing sex with anyone. It might feel uncomfortable and awkward, but being honest and open will benefit both you and your parents immensely. You can have mutually respectful, casual and educational discussions about sex. Resist the urge to ignore the topic of sex or get upset if your parents ask about your sexual activities. Acknowledge the nervousness and awkwardness you both may feel. Let your parents know you are willing to be honest and respectful with them and that you expect the same. Your actions and words will be an example and will hopefully show your parents that you are mature and open enough to have open discussions about sex. Being honest may even allow you and your parents to trust each other more.

Also remember that it's always okay to just stop. If your talks don't go as planned or turn into emotional arguments, feel free to just stop. Before you do though, be honest and tell your parents why you feel the conversation is not helpful. Don't just walk away; instead say "Dad, it seems like you're not listening to my opinion. I want to stop talking about this until I feel like you are willing to do that." This will not only hopefully help your parents realize why you are frustrated, but also lead to better discussions in the future.

Listen
Never have a one-sided conversation about sex! Ask your parents about their opinions about and experiences with the topics you are discussing. This can give you an idea of where your parents are coming from and explain some of their beliefs and behaviors. Even if you disagree with what they are saying, listen first. Allow them to finish their thoughts, and then respond. This will avoid misunderstandings and allow you to more effectively discuss what you do and don't agree with about their views. By listening you will probably also learn quite a few things yourself about your parents, their views and their experiences.

Talk Often
Making sexuality a common and casual topic of conversation can make those discussions immensely less awkward and more useful. Many small, casual discussions about sex over the years are the most healthy and helpful way to talk about sex with your parents. This allows lines of communication to open and stay open between you and your parents. A good way of opening up communication is to ask your parents their opinions of stories in the news about issues of sexuality or sexual health.