Talk to Your Teen About Sex: If You Don’t Teach Them, Who Will?

Talk About SexTo talk about sex is daunting, embarrassing, and often scary… especially when you need to talk about sex with your teenager. But, if you do not talk about sex with your teen, then who will?

I think most adults would agree that their first sexual experience was memorable, whether for good or bad. And that first experience likely had an effect on future relationships. So why don’t we talk about sex with our kids; especially about the emotional effects of becoming sexually active? Maybe it feels too intimate. When parents actually do address the topic, they often emphasize health risks, pregnancy and moral values. I seldom hear language about the emotional consequences of sex. Maybe we are uncomfortable seeing our teenagers in this way. Yet, these conversations are as important as discussing the health risks of sexual activity.

We might find this topic difficult to address because of the long-held myth of a separation between sex and emotions. But let’s be honest and realistic; there is no such separation. Everything we do has an emotional aspect and sex is no exception. Trusting a person enough to engage in a sexual relationship can jump start a close emotional bond and create a vulnerability for both partners. This is precisely the message that teenagers should understand—it’s not just sex. You are taking an emotional risk.

Speaking about the emotional aspect of sexual relationships will give our teenagers an opportunity to consider this before they make a decision. Also, when they make the decision to have a relationship, our words can prepare them for their emotional reaction.

This conversation is especially important if your teenager has already suffered an emotional wound. Teenagers commonly repeat their mistakes and keep getting hurt because they do not understand their decisions. Bringing the emotional content of the sexual experience into the conversation can help them understand what they are doing and what they are really looking for when they make the decision to have a sexual relationship. It is important for our teenagers to realize that sex involves a lot of trust and taking your time to make a good decision can help develop a healthy relationship. Talk about sex with your teenager; it will be worth it!

~ Miguel Brown, February 26, 2014

Miami Teen Counseling can help you find the tools and resources you and your teenager need to move forward in strength and confidence. Request an appointment or contact Miami Teen Counseling (or Miguel Brown directly) at 786-383-0353. Our office hours are flexible (including afternoons and evenings) and all counseling services are offered in either English or Spanish. Contact us today!

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