Nobody really wants to talk to their teenager about sex—and what teen wants to talk about sex with Mum or Dad? But nonetheless, it’s a conversation that needs to happen. Here are some pointers that will make it a lot easier!
- Acknowledge that sex is fun
Well-meaning parents and educators often focus their “talk on the facts of life” on the fact that sex can lead to disease and unwanted pregnancy. That’s a very important message to get across, but it can be hard to get it to resonate with adolescents, who are typically very attracted to the idea of getting physical and just want to have sex. It makes more sense to start the conversation by acknowledging that the desire to have sex is normal and natural, and then introduce topics that address the trickier issues that you want to get across.
- Clarify issues of consent
Teenagers are often given the impression that consent is something that a girl gives or doesn’t give and that consent is something that the boy should fight to get. Teenagers over the age of consent (which is 16 in the UK) need to understand that yes means yes and no means no. Nobody (of either sex) should be nagged, cajoled, or bullied into having sex. When they are ready, they can freely give consent to someone they care for on their own behalf.
- Give them the information they need to stay safe
Adolescents often seem much better informed than they really are. Make sure that they actually understand issues such as pregnancy, contraception, and the possibility of contracting a disease and that they don’t believe in one or other of the widespread myths that exist among adolescents on these topics. An informed teenager is much less likely to suffer any unintended consequences of becoming sexually active, and much more likely to become sexually active on their own terms and when they are ready and not before.
- Don’t embarrass everyone by trying to use slang or colloquial terms related to sex
When you talk to your teenager about sex, make sure that you use a vocabulary that they understand—and remember that this probably means avoiding slang terms that you used when you were young. Colloquialisms change over the years and using out of date slang terminology will make you look silly and might confuse your teenager, who actually needs to know what you are really trying to say.
- Talk to your teenager about porn
Porn is part of modern society. Unfortunately, most young people nowadays access porn long before they are old enough to understand what they are looking at, so the odds are high that your teen has already seen plenty. While is perfectly natural to be sexually curious, the problem is that porn rarely depicts realistic sexual encounters and can give teens very misinformed and often inappropriate views on what their and others’ bodies “should” look like and how they should treat others when they are having sex. Above all, teenagers need to know that the scenes of violence and humiliation that are often part of modern pornography are not really what the vast majority of people want (and that they can be immensely damaging).
WHO CAN I SPEAK TO FURTHER ABOUT THE ISSUES IN THIS ARTICLE?
For help with the issues discussed in this article speak to one of our therapists here at Private Therapy Clinic for a free initial chat or to make an appointment.
You may also wish to consider reading about child therapy, where we offer therapy for children and adolescents who are going through a difficult time or struggling with certain issues.