By Kathryn Tiffany, MS LAC

Great question!  Many teens want to know the answer to this too.

Here are some tips to start the conversations about sex with you parents: (starting the conversation is typically the hardest part)

  • Think of questions you want to ask and write them down first. You can ask them: how to know when you’re in love, how to know when to have sex, how to protect yourself from pregnancy and STDs, what does consent look like, if I’m in love do I have to have sex, etc..
  • You may feel more comfortable communicating through email, text, or IM’ing. It doesn’t matter how you talk — just talk.
  • It’s a good idea to tell your parents that you want to talk to them. Say something like, “Can we have a private talk tonight?” That way you can be sure to have their full attention, and they know to take it seriously.
  • Start with something like, “This feels weird for me, and it may be for you, too, but I want to ask about …” Acknowledging the awkwardness can help make it go away.
  • Tell them why you’re asking. Is it to try to understand what they expect from you? Is it to get some information? Is it to help you make a decision, or help a friend make a decision? Telling them why you are asking, can help make the conversation go more smoothly.

What if I really can’t talk with my parents about sex?

Unfortunately, there are some parents who are just too uncomfortable talking about sex. Worse, some threaten or punish their kids for bringing it up. If you feel that asking questions about sex will put you in danger, don’t do it.

If you’re very concerned about your parents’ reaction, you might want to put off the conversation until you feel you and your parents are more ready. Or maybe your parents aren’t around. In these cases, you could turn to another adult you trust, such as a family friend, relative, or counselor. It is important to get your information from a trusted adult, rather than a friend or random internet sources.   Click for a link to help guide this conversation.  Good luck!