Home > Teens > Puberty and Sex > Talking About Sex > What to Tell Your Teen About Sex

What to Tell Your Teen About Sex

Info Flash

53 percent of high school students say they've had sex. This means that your teen may have sex, regardless of the values you've conveyed. It is vital to talk to your teen about safe sex.

If you're dead-set against sexual activity before marriage (or during the teen years), you can say, “I am opposed to sex for teenagers because I think that a sexual relationship should be saved for when you're older. However, I'm not an idiot, and I know you may disagree with me. If you should get to this point, please take precautions to prevent pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections.” (You will, of course, have explained STDs and talked about “precautions” before this.)

How do you feel about sex and your teenager? Perhaps you hold a very strong religious or moral opinion on the issue. If so, then this is what you'll convey to your teen.

Or maybe you feel that expecting you teenager to wait until after marriage to have sex isn't realistic. Yet you want guidelines and suggestions on how to make your teen wait as long as possible and to take good care of himself or herself (physically and emotionally) in the process.

Or perhaps you don't really know. You may simply feel confused, or you may have issues in your own life (a bad experience in your past or a troubled relationship, for example) that hamper your ability to be clear on this issue with your teen. Don't blame yourself; it isn't an easy issue for anybody.

Okay, let's add to your confusion (before giving your some answers). Consider the following questions:

  • Do you believe it's okay for him to have pre-marital sex by the time he's in college?
  • Well, if having sex at age 18 is okay, what's wrong with 16?
  • How do you feel if he's had sex without protection?
  • And if he becomes sexually active in middle adolescence, are you at all concerned with how many sexual partners he may have over the years?

And what if all the above pronouns were replaced with “she.” Do you feel differently?

Even if you don't know exactly how you feel about your teen and sex, you surely have strong opinions about relationships. Talking to your teen about what constitutes a positive marriage or long-term liaison is a very important piece that needs to be conveyed to your teenager.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Parenting a Teenager © 1996 by Kate Kelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

st. patrick’s day

Celebrate the
luck of the Irish
with recipes
and activities.



10 Best Creative Apps for Kids
Looking for apps that foster creativity? Check out these top-rated art and music apps for kids.

Kindergarten Readiness App Wins Gold
Our Kindergarten Readiness app won the Gold Award of Excellence in the educational category at the 2014 Communicator Awards. This valuable checklist comes with games and activities to help your child practice the essential skills she needs for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

A New Intergalactic Reading Adventure!
Get your reluctant reader hooked on an irresistible new story, Galactic Hot Dogs! Join the Book 1 reading marathon, and get behind-the-scenes tidbits on the official Galactic Hot Dogs blog. Also, print this cool Galactic Hot Dogs reading log to keep your bookworm excited about reading!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Twitter icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks