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Talking to Your Parents About Sex

This seems pretty cringe worthy right? Bringing up the conversation about sex with your parents? It’s definitely an uncomfortable situation to be in, but it’s very important that you do. “83% of kids your age are afraid to ask their parents about sex. Yet 51% of teens actually do. Why? Teens who talk with their parents about sex are less likely to become pregnant because they’re more likely to use contraception or protection when they become sexually active.”

Knowledge is power and the more you know the better to keep yourself safer from many of the unwanted implications that may arise from having misinformation prior to having sex. Trust us, your parents will probably feel just as uncomfortable as you, but it’s very important to have a comfortable space to ask questions and share thoughts to learn about sex. 

The following tips provided by I Wanna Know are very useful:

Set the Stage


  • Try to pick a time when neither of you is in a hurry or a bad mood. "Not now" is not the answer you're shooting for.
  • Choose a place that's comfortable and private. Your bedroom, the car or a park are all good options. The idea is to minimize distractions and interruptions.

Set the Tone


  • The best way to ensure that your side of the discussion will be respected is to show respect to theirs. It's natural for you to have differing opinions; acknowledge it and respond tactfully: "I want to think more about what you've said. Can I ask you a different question?"
  • Be polite. Good manners help keep the conversation on a high level of respect and can even elevate it to a higher level, especially if one of you says or does something "wrong."
  • Be truthful. What's the point in asking questions if you don't want real answers? Besides, you know what happens when you're not honest. Somehow, sometime it comes back to haunt you. So just say what you mean.
  • Be direct. If you want to know about any sensitive issue, ask. The only way to get a clear answer is to ask a question clearly.
  • Listen. You might be surprised by how much they know and how good their advice is.

Choose an Approach


  • "I heard someone say..." (Fill in the blank with your question.) Then follow with: "Is that true?"
  • "Some of the kids at school are doing... (Fill in the blank again.) I want to know what you think."
  • "I saw this... (movie/TV show/article/ad) about... (Yup, fill in the blank again). What does it mean?"
  • "What was dating like when you were my age?"
  • "Did your friends try to pressure you into having sex or doing something you didn't like?"
  • "Our sex-ed teacher told us about... (You know what to do here.) and I have questions I'd rather ask you."
  • "I'm worried about my friend (Don't fill in the blank.) and want to help him/her. What do you think I should I do?"
  • "I'm wondering what the right age is to have sex. Can we talk about it?"

Stop on a Good Note

Talking about sex with a parent or another caring adult shouldn't be a one-time, big talk. Instead, turn it into an ongoing dialogue by leaving the door open for further discussion. Thank your mother, father, or whoever you talk to for taking the time to help.

If you Can’t Talk to Your Parents

There are some instances when parents are not available to talk about sex, or perhaps you or your parents still feel uncomfortable to talk about sex. If this is the case for you, think about another adult that you trust and have a relationship with that you can have an open conversation with about sex. Perhaps you have a school nurse that you can book some time with or even a family friend. Another great option would be your family doctor, this provides you with a safe place to ask all of the questions you need. When it comes your sexual, physical, and mental health it’s incredibly important that you make the informed decisions to keep you safe as possible. 

Additional Resources

“The Sexual and Reproductive Health Resources for Parents are online resources aimed specifically at parents of adolescents and young adults.  Health care providers and youth serving professionals can offer these additional resources or print the PDF one-page reference sheet to parents looking for additional information, including online resources, support groups, peer networks, helplines, treatment locators, and advocacy opportunities.”


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