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Sexual Health

Tips for Teens… Talking With Your Parents About Sexuality

Do you cringe at the thought of your parent or guardian sitting you down on the couch - armed with condoms, birth control pills, and pamphlets - to give you the famous "talk" about sex? In American Pie, Jim’s dad didn’t do a fabulous job teaching his son about sex. Sometimes, in real life, our parents can’t deal with it either.

But it’s important to let them know if you want to talk about sex. You can even approach them before they approach you. The key to "the talk" is staying calm and open minded. (And if you really can’t talk with a parent, talk with an adult you can trust.)

If you get pregnant, you’ll have tons of heavy things weighing on your mind and heart. You should seriously think about talking to your parents. You’ll probably be happy you did. Way too often, we think our parents are going to freak, disown us or be so ashamed they won’t be able to look us in the eye. But, most of the time, they love us - no matter what.

Even if they say things like, "I’d kill you if you came home pregnant." Think about it. Do you think they’d really kill you? Probably not. Will they be upset? Disappointed? Most likely. But they’ll deal with it and, ultimately, help you make a better decision.

"Growing up in a semi-conservative Nigerian home, I was never really taught about sex. I learned everything through TV and other media. I wish I’d been told not to trust the media. I fell victim to everything I heard and saw. I don’t think I lost anything by not having ‘the talk,’ but it would’ve been nice to talk with my parents about the pitfalls of sex and the need to protect myself." ~Kehindi, 18~

"When my mom thought I was having sex, she took me out to breakfast to tell me it was OK, because my boyfriend and I had been together for a long time and I was smart enough to use a condom. I was more uncomfortable talking to her about sex than she was talking to me! It was really comforting to know my mom was there if something went wrong and I needed help." ~Loryni, 18~

If you really believe your parents would hurt you or throw you out of the house, then try to find someone else you can turn to. A relative, a counsellor, a teacher, an advisor, an older cousin, even a friend’s older sibling. ~Anonymous~

"I never got the stereotypical birds-and-bees talk. My parents always kept up with the questions I brought back from school or my friends. When I asked them what oral sex was, they pulled out one of the many sex ed books they kept handy and read from it. Then they asked me how I felt about it and if I had any questions. My parents gave me a very comprehensive sex education, full of facts and clear of biases."

"I never had just one talk with my parents about sex. Since I was a child, they’ve been open with me about sexual issues and dealing with my body in a healthy way. Now that I’m in high school, my parents are still willing and open to talk to me about sex, although they don’t force it upon me. They’re able to share their own experiences with me, so I don’t feel like they don’t understand. They continue to give me advice on sexual issues and encourage me to make the best use of my body." ~Andrea, 16~

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