Seven Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Sex

Guidelines for talking to your teen about sex and the approach to take when discussing sex with your teen.

excerpt from: Teenagers! What Every Parent Has to Know

  1. Forget the "big talk".
    A better way is "little by little". It could be a discussion sparked by something that's happened to a friend, a piece of television news or even the soaps! One of the most effective pieces of education on sex I have ever seen occurred during a showing of 'Friends'. Rachel tells Ross she is pregnant; he is utterly shocked. In fact, he is so shocked he says nothing for almost thirty seconds. Then he blurts out, "But we used a condom!" Rachel explains that condoms don't always work. Ross looks even more shocked and screams out, "They should say that on the box!"
  2. Try to talk about sex without embarrassment.
    You want your teenagers to have a positive view of sex and, if possible, a healthy future sex life. Sensing that their parents are embarrassed to talk about it makes sex seem tacky.
  3. Remember we are aiming for a conversation, not a diatribe.
    Sometimes, especially if we are angry or worried - perhaps when they are going out on a date - we feel the need to blurt it all out in one go. We're practically yelling advice at them as they walk hand in hand away from the house!
  4. Don't worry if they seem to not be listening;
    This is an important subject to them and you'll almost certainly have more of their attention than it seems.
  5. Don't be afraid to talk about what you believe.
    The former chief editor of one of the teenage magazines put it like this: "You really want to say 'these are my values; these are our family's values. This is what I hope you will do.' This is a very powerful message. Teens don't want to disappoint you."
  6. Be careful about the way you talk about people who have different values to you.
    If you use derogatory language about celebrities or even friends of your teenager who have chosen a sexual lifestyle you don't agree with, she will remember. Perhaps one day she'll make a decision she knows you wouldn't approve of. The last thing you want her to feel is, "I couldn't tell my mother - she'd call me a slag."
  7. Be sensitive to your teenager if they don't have a boy or girlfriend.
    It's easy to feel left on the shelf at thirteen, and the pressure to find somebody (anybody!) can be intense.

The above excerpt is taken from Rob Parsons' book Teenagers! What Every Parent Has to Know, published by Hodder and Stoughton.

APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 6). Seven Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Sex, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 21 from

Last Updated: August 19, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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