Talk with your Parents About Sex
talk about sex
Why we should be thinking of sexual intimacy in terms of pizza
Let's talk about
Studies show that kids who get their questions answered by adults in their life have less chance of getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant as teens.
Ask these questions or others you have on your mind to get your conversation started. Which approach best describes your style.
The "To-The-Point" approach
"Can we talk? I have a question about something we learned in sex ed class."
"I think I am not developing as fast as my friends. Is something wrong with me?"
The "Round-About" approach
"Did you see that billboard about being a virgin? Should that stuff be in public where little kids can see it?"
"This talk show had some teens on who had babies and the girls were only 13 years old. Do you think teens can be good parents?"
The "Wonder If" approach
"I wonder if you think it is a good idea to learn about sex in school. Do you?"
"I wonder if kids will like me better if I do things they do even if I am not ready."
The "I've Heard That" approach
"I heard that lots of kids have had sex by high school. Is that just a rumor?"
"I've heard if you say no to sex, the person you like will break up with you. How do you say no to someone and not hurt their feelings?"
Still think talking to your parents will be too tough? Try these tips from kids your age!
Your parents may have things to say to you about sex, values and morals and may not know how to start the subject.
Someone has to make
the first move. Why not you?
That would mean men think about sex 514 times every hour. At their jobs, at the grocery store, on the toilet, etc. Even though that statement alone seems flat out ridiculous, there's also research to debunk this myth. A study found people thought more about food, sleep, personal hygiene, social contact and even coffee more than sex. Plus, everyone is different so you can't say that all peopleespecially gender-specificthink the same way.
Myth 2: Foot size correlates with penis size
Anna (from Frozen) was rightfoot size does not determine whether or not guys have big junk. Neither does having large hands, big ears, etc. However, if you really want to get scientific, there's a study that suggests the shorter a man's index finger is in relation to his ring finger, the longer his penis is...Hmmm.
Myth 3: The bigger the penis, the more sexual satisfaction
Guys really have no reason to be self-conscious about what's going on down there. In fact, guys with bigger penises actually might have a disadvantage and here's why: the G-spot is located two inches inside the vagina and is stimulated with the head, and a big penis often misses the spot completely.
Obviously, everyone has different pleasure preferences, but guys can rest assured knowing they need not be self-conscious of penis size.
Myth 4: It's impossible to conceive another baby while pregnant
OK, this is extremely rare (like, one in a few million pregnancies) but not impossibleit's called superfetation and has been documented a few times.
"Here's how it happens egg and sperm, implant. Of course, that's your first pregnancy, says NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman. "But if you ovulate more than one time a month, and women do, and a sperm happens to meet that egg and they, too, implant, guess what, you get a second fetus. You just have to hope it happens within that early window."
Sooo maybe still use protection just to be safe.
Myth 5: Pulling out is always ineffective at preventing pregnancy
First of all, STDs and STIs are the first concern when your partner goes in without protection. Depending on your partner's self-knowledge and control through (and how much you trust them) pulling out can be "as effective as condoms at preventing pregnancy," according to a 2014 study. Another study says that if practiced at rockstar level, only 4 percent of couples who do this will get pregnant in a year.
Myth 6: The hymen breaks and bleeds the first time you have sex, and it's painful AF
If you've watched any teen movie, you've heard dudes dish about "popping a girl's cherry." First of all, EW, and secondly, NOPE. Not how it works.
The hymen (or the cherry, to continue the gross metaphor), don't always rip and bleed upon first penetration. While this may happen to some women, others hymens break over time through athletic activities, using tampons, etc. Furthermore, this article says that when women experience pain during sex it has less to do with hymens and more to do with nerves and tight muscles.
Myth 7: All women orgasm from penetration
Ahhhhh, that's almost laughable. According to Planned Parenthood, 80 percent of women have difficulty climaxing from vaginal intercourse alone. 80 percent! So no, there's nothing wrong with you if you feel like you're never able to climax from G-spot stimulation during sexy time. Don't worry, there are other ways to get that big O, which brings me to...
Myth 8: The clitoris is just a teeny tiny sex organ
NOPE. The part we can visibly see is about a centimeter or two long, but it actually extends inside, and that's where pleasure city happens. Most of the organ is located inside the body and is about the size of a medium zucchini. And I will leave you with that visual.
Myth 9: Only men have wet dreams
While statistically, men have more wet dreams than women, a study found that 37 percent of women reported having a "nocturnal orgasm." In fact, these sleep-gasms are pretty common, they're just not as easy to track as men's for obvious reasons.
They happen during the REM stage of sleep when blood rushes to the genital area. Whether you're fantasizing about Ryan Gosling or the donuts you had for breakfast, these dreams don't always have to be sexual, much like with men.
Myth 10: You can only lose your virginity through P to V penetration
Society has led us to believe a woman is a virgin until she's had a penis inserted into her vaginabut this is very misconstrued. Everyone has different definitions of virginity and what sex is in general, and NEWSFLASH, it's not always heteronormative.
The idea that sex is strictly penetrative contact excludes a large number of people who don't think of themselves as virgins...and their definitions will be unique to them.
Heres Why All Teens, LGBTQ And Not, Need To Learn About Anal Sex
Teen Vogues recent publication of A Guide to Anal Sex has brought out the usual crop of right-wing, anti-LGBTQ religious conservatives who are stirring a backlash against the magazine.
Radio host and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, one of the most outlandish anti-queer bigots on the airwaves, zeroed in on the issue this week, bringing onto his show Elizabeth Johnston, otherwise known as The Activist Mommy.
Johnston is an Ohio-based conservative vlogger and mother of ten children who has gained notoriety and a huge following for her campaigns against LGBTQ people, in particular attacking Targets gender neutral rest room policy last year. A video she posted to her Facebook page in 2016 was titled, LGBTQQIAAPP?? Asexual? Non-binary? Gobbledygook! Gender insanity! This is out of hand!.
Johnston has predictably led the charge against Teen Vogue, with a video in which she burns copies of the magazine. She told Starnes:
I was truly flabbergasted. They should not be teaching sodomy to our children...All of us are trying to do our best to protect our children from immorality and over-sexualization in our culture. And to see this disturbing article where sodomy is being normalized, not discouraged ? even the CDC says that sodomy is the riskiest sexual behavior for getting and transmitting HIV for men and women.
And therein lies the reason why its so vital to talk to all teenagers, straight and LGBTQ, about anal sex and how to engage in it safely. But just as importantly, they must be taught that it is normal, natural and healthy, yes, healthy, and that it is nothing about which to be ashamed nor to stigmatize others about. Telling young people, as Johnston does, that sodomy is disturbing and a part of the immorality in our culture, and should not be normalized, is encouraging bullying, violence and discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Anal sex is, after all, a predominant form of intimacy between men who have sex with men and among many transgender women and men, and the message Johnston sends is that queer people are immoral. There is absolutely no getting around this, though Johnston told Starnes in response to Teen Vogues editorial director Phillip Picardis remarks describing the backlash as a reflection of homophobia: We dont hate anyone. We love the children of this country.
If that is true, then Johnston should want to protect children, all of them , from stigmatization, as well as from STDs. Her claim about the risks of anal sex and HIV are precisely the reason why Teen Vogue should be teaching young people about safe sex of all kinds. Johnston and her ilk in fact use the risk of acquiring HIV as cover - something theyve been doing since the beginning of the epidemic - sending an implicit message that no one should engage in anal sex, ever, because of HIV.
But by that logic women should never engage in vaginal sex because of the risks of being infected with HPV, which is far more easily transmittable than HIV, including within monogamous relationships by married heterosexual couples - which can lead to cervical cancer.
So, no, Johnstons real fears are not about disease, otherwise shed be talking about STD prevention and engaging in sex safely. Condemning anal sex, she calls for abstinence about sexual activity that straight and queer teens are engaging in - and that just doesnt work. People will still engage in it, often without the proper eduction about how to do it safely. She puts all young people at risk, while stigmatizing queer people.
John Paul Brammer wrote a piece about this controversy on NBC Out that everyone should read, as it also delves into the lack of sex education in our nations schools and how, when there is sex education of any kind, it often excludes any discussion of LGBTQ sexuality, sometimes by state law.
Brammer spoke with Dr. Michael Newcomb of Northwestern Universitys Institute for Sexual and Gender Minority Health and Wellbeing, who discusses how young people, both hetero and LGBTQ, dont believe theyre receiving proper sex education in schools, as well as how anal sex is an activity that many heterosexual young people engage in and thus need to learn about:
We think of it as an LGBT issue, but research shows that, in part, anal sex is a power and credibility issue with heterosexual youth, where boys want to say theyve done it with girls. Education about anal sex isnt coming through schools, theyre not getting it.
Teen Vogue and all outlets, including Queer Voices, that have discussed anal sex - as well as LGBTQ sexuality - hopenly and honestly are providing a vital forum for young people to access information and open up a dialogue. Thats a far cry from what The Activist Mommy and her minions are doing, putting all young people at risk by promoting abstinence while encouraging bigotry against LGBTQ Americans.
Follow Michelangelo Signorile on Twitter: www.twitter.com/msignorile
1. Explore your own attitudes
Studies show that kids who feel they can talk with their parents about sex -- because their moms and dads speak openly and listen carefully to them -- are less likely to engage in high-risk behavior as teens than kids who do not feel they can talk with their parents about the subject. So explore your feelings about sex. If you are very uncomfortable with the subject, read some books (see Readings for Parents) and discuss your feelings with a trusted friend, relative, physician, or clergy member. The more you examine the subject, the more confident you'll feel discussing it.
Even if you can't quite overcome your discomfort, don't worry about admitting it to your kids. It's okay to say something like, "You know, I'm uncomfortable talking about sex because my parents never talked with me about it. But I want us to be able to talk about anything -- including sex -- so please come to me if you have any questions. And if I don't know the answer, I'll find out."
2. Start early
Teaching your children about sex demands a gentle, continuous flow of information that should begin as early as possible -- for instance, when teaching your toddler where his nose and toes are, include "this is your penis" or "this is your vagina" in your talks. As your child grows, you can continue her education by adding more materials gradually until she understands the subject well.
3. Take the initiative
If your child hasn't started asking questions about sex, look for a good opportunity to bring it up. Say, for instance, the mother of an 8-year-old's best friend is pregnant. You can say, "Did you notice that David's mommy's tummy is getting bigger? That's because she's going to have a baby and she's carrying it inside her. Do you know how the baby got inside her?" then let the conversation move from there.
4. Talk about more than the "Birds and the Bees"
While our children need to know the biological facts about sex, they also need to understand that sexual relationships involve caring, concern and responsibility. By discussing the emotional aspect of a sexual relationship with your child, she will be better informed to make decisions later on and to resist peer pressure. If your child is a Preven, you need to include some message about the responsibilities and consequences of sexual activity. Conversations with 11 and 12-year-olds, for example, should include talks about unwanted pregnancy and how they can protect themselves.
One aspect that many parents overlook when discussing sex with their child is dating. As opposed to movies, where two people meet and later end up in bed together, in real life there is time to get to know each other -- time to hold hands, go bowling, see a movie, or just talk. Children need to know that this is an important part of a caring relationship.
5. Give accurate, age-appropriate information
Talk about sex in a way that fits the age and stage of your child. If your 8-year-old asks why boys and girls change so much physically as they grow, you can say something like, "The body has special chemicals called hormones that tell it whether to become a boy or a girl. A boy has a penis and testicles, and when he grows older his voice gets lower and he gets more hair on his body. A girl has a vulva and vagina, and when she gets older she grows breasts and her hips grow rounder."
6. Anticipate the next stage of development
Children can get frightened and confused by the sudden changes their bodies begin to go through as they reach puberty. To help stop any anxiety, talk with your kids not only about their current stage of development but about the next stage, too. An 8-year-old girl is old enough to learn about menstruation, just as a boy that age is ready to learn how his body will change.
7. Communicate your values
It's our responsibility to let our children know our values about sex. Although they may not adopt these values as they mature, at least they'll be aware of them as they struggle to figure out how they feel and want to behave.
8. Talk with your child of the opposite sex
Some parents feel uncomfortable talking with their child about topics like sex if the youngster is of the opposite gender. While that's certainly understandable, don't let it become an excuse to close off conversation. If you're a single mother of a son, for example, you can turn to books to help guide you or ask your doctor for some advice on how to bring up the topic with your child. You could also recruit an uncle or other close male friend or relative to discuss the subject with your child, provided there is already good, open communication between them. If there are two parents in the household, it might feel less awkward to have the dad talk with the boy and the mom with the girl. That's not a hard and fast rule, though. If you're comfortable talking with either sons or daughters, go right ahead. Just make sure that gender differences don't make subjects like sex taboo.
Don't worry about
knowing all the answers to your children's questions; what
you know is a lot less important than how you respond. If
you can convey the message that no subject, including sex,
is forbidden in your home, you'll be doing just fine.
Questions & Answers
What's safe sex?
If two people have sexual intercourse or oral sex and one of them has HIV or another sexually transmitted disease, they could give it to their partner(s). Doctors believe that if the man wears a latex condom whenever he has intercourse, it helps to protect him and his partner from giving each other HIV. That's why people call sexual intercourse or oral sex with a latex condom "safer sex."
Is it true that you can't get pregnant the first time that you have sex?
No. You can get
pregnant anytime you have sexual intercourse. Wearing a
latex condom, taking birth control pills, or using other
contraceptives are very effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, the only absolute way to not get pregnant is to not
have sex at all. You might also use this question as an
opportunity to point out that not having sexual intercourse
is a good idea for teens. Help them understand there are
other ways to show affection.