Plan Ahead and Research
It's always useful to plan ahead if you want to start talking about sexuality with your parents or if you have something specific to ask them. Exploring your own personal ideas and values about sex is an important part of this. The more you understand your own viewpoint, the easier it will be to convey it to your parents.
Start your planning by thinking about your own sexual knowledge. Make lists (you can even write them down) of things you think you are educated about and things you wish you had more information about. Think about your parents' views, what might influence their ideas about sex or the specific issue you want to discuss (religion, community, personal experiences, etc.). Think about your wording. Think about what reactions they may have, both positive and negative, and how you might respond. Collect statistics about sexual health and teenage sexual activity. Planning ahead will help you feel more confident and make the conversation go more smoothly.
Doing your own research about sexuality and sexual health is extremely important, not only to keep yourself educated and healthy, but especially if you are talking about sex with your parents. Doing research about issues surrounding sex will make you more responsible, especially in the eyes of your parents. It will also make any conversations easier if you know the facts about the issue you want to discuss. You can even share this research with your parents and help them educate themselves. Remember that many things have changed since they first learned about sex, so sharing recent statistics on STIs or new methods of contraception may be helpful for them.
Do some general research on sexuality and sexual health. Take books out of the library, visit reputable sexual education websites and talk to your doctor or teachers. Internet sites like those for the Center for Disease Control ( www.cdc.gov ) and the World Health Organization ( www.who.int ) are great resources for finding up-to-date statistics on sexual health. Use anatomically correct words instead of slang words and if you don't know them, look them up. Your parents may also have a different idea about the meaning of some terms. For example, to some "hooking up" means sexual intercourse and to others it means just kissing. If you are asking your parent for condoms, a doctor's appointment or something specific, do research on that topic and present it to your parents when you make your request.