Talking to Youth about Sex

Talking about sex with young people can feel overwhelming! Below are some tips as well as a list of great resources to help you feel more comfortable discussing sexuality with the young people in your life.

1. BE AVAILABLE 

Create a safe space for teens in which their comments, questions, or concerns about sex and sexuality won’t be judged. Make them feel like they can come to you to just talk; they don’t want to feel like they might be lectured or get into trouble.

2. SELF-REFLECT, DON’T PROJECT

First and foremost, check in with yourself about how you feel about sex and what kind of message you want to convey. Your feelings and concerns are important, but how you convey them can determine if your teen feels safe and comfortable talking to you.

3.  CHOOSE YOUR WORDS CAREFULLY

There are so many choices we can make about the language used to talk about the human body and sexual activity. Try to use words that teens will relate to while still using medically accurate and anatomically correct terminology.  For instance, when a young person says “hooking up,” ask them what that means. It’s important for everyone to be on the same page.

4. MAKE IT A CONTINUOUS CONVERSATION

Having “The Talk” only once can make it awkward for everyone involved.  Talking about sex over many small conversations lets teens feel safer and more likely to come to you with questions. The day your child gets a smartphone is a great day to raise issues of media sense and pornography as well.

5. LOOK OUTSIDE THE BOX

Talking about sex does not have to happen at a designated time. Don’t ignore examples from movies, books, or songs. Use them as a prompt for thoughtful discussion.

MORE RESOURCES

Sex Positive Families
Facebook Live conversation about porn with Melissa Pintor Carnagey
Drawn to Sex: The Basics
S.E.X: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide
https://amaze.org
It’s Time We Talked

For parents who are survivors of sexual trauma:
Consent Parenting
About Consent Podcast

Media Literacy & Safety
Common Sense Media
Cyberwise