Sex Education For Teenagers – Everything You Need To Know

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If you think your child has reached the phase where they are curious or should have a better understanding of the need fr sex education, you have come to the right place. In this post, we will be discussing about sex education for teens. As parents, many of us find it awkward and difficult to begin with the topic, and thus, this post is helpful. When your teen hits puberty, a lot of changes can be figured out evidently, especially regarding their body or facial hair. These changes can be challenging to accept, and hence they go through a lot of mood swings. Moreover, asking them not to do certain things that you may feel are forbidden increases their urge to explore them further. Therefore, give this post a read, and get the guidance you need to have a mature conversation with your teen.

Sex Education For Teens

Sex education is the responsibility of every parent and teacher. It is better for teens to get the right information from their parents rather than being misinformed from other sources like magazines, friends, and websites.

What Is Comprehensive Sex Education?

A comprehensive sex education includes various topics referring to sexuality and sexual health

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A comprehensive sex education includes a broad range of topics referring to sexuality and sexual health. It contains information about body image, abstinence, contraception, gender, human reproduction, human anatomy, pregnancy, and safe sex. It involves sharing knowledge about birth control methods, sexual attitudes, sexual health and behavior, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure and sexually transmitted diseases.

Why Is Teenagers Sex Education Necessary?

Sexuality is a significant part of one’s identity. Teens gain knowledge about sexuality from several other sources, which have a more negative impact than positive. It is you, along with the school and other community-based organizations, who can provide accurate sex education to your growing teen. This will enable them to make safer and more informed decisions.

What Are The Characteristics of Effective Sex Education?

Sex education requires teachers who strongly believe in the program

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Experts have identified some critical characteristics of effective health education. These include:

  • The most important characteristic of an effective sex education is that it involves teachers who believe strongly in the program.
  • A useful and comprehensive sex education offers age-appropriate sexual health information for the participants. It uses teaching methods and resources that are culturally competent.
  • A comprehensive sex education takes place over a sufficient period and covers all the necessary topics. In also includes activities that address cultural and peer pressure.
  • A comprehensive sex education program assists the young people to develop skills in communication, refusal, and negotiation.
  • The program provides medically accurate information about abstinence and contraception, including the usage of condom.

What Is Abstinence-Only Program?

The Abstinence-only program promotes abstinence from sexual behavior. It excludes the discussion of relevant sex education topics concerned with safe sex, birth control, sexual orientation. Abstinence-only programs provide accurate information on the effectiveness of contraception, condom, and safe sex.

Goal Of Sex Education

  • A comprehensive sex education aims to help youth obtain a positive view of sexuality.
  • Its goal is to teach the teens all the skills and knowledge they require to make healthy decisions about their sex life.
  • It aims to reduce the risk of negative outcomes from sexual behavior like unwanted and unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.
  • It also aims to give a positive experience of sex and sexuality to young people.

Benefits Of Sex Education

Sex education and HIV prevention programs can influence sexual behavior and can achieve positive health impacts. The benefits of sex education are as follows:

1. Teaches Teens Communication And Negotiation Skills:

Comprehensive sex education can benefit the young adults considerably. These courses will assist the teens to deal with peer pressure. It will also teach them the art of negotiation and communication.

2. Helps Teens Understand The Repercussions Of Teenage Pregnancy:

Teen pregnancies affect adolescents emotionally

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A proper guidance will make the teens better equipped to understand the repercussion of teenage pregnancy. Teen pregnancies affect the adolescent, emotionally, mentally and physically. Adolescents are mentally unprepared to handle pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood.

3. It Prevents Sexual Diseases:

A comprehensive sex education can go a long way in controlling AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases like pelvic inflammatory disease, syphilis, gonorrhea, and non-gonococcal urethritis.

Parents Role In Sex Education

Your teen’s school may impart sex education, but she may not understand everything taught there. That’s where you have to step in. As awkward as it may sound, sex education is more of a parent’s responsibility than the teacher’s. By supplementing what your teen learns in school, you can set the stage for a lifetime. Here’s how you can get started with sex education.

How To Prepare Yourself For Talking About Sex?

Prepare yourself to tackle your teen’s view, which can be different from yours

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Before broaching the topic of sex with your teen, you need to prepare yourself. Here are some simple ways to prepare yourself before imparting sex education to your teen:

First, you must talk about it with your partner. Then decide what messages and values you want to communicate. Keep yourself well versed about current sexual issues. You have to prepare yourself to tackle your teen’s view, which can be very different from yours. Find a sexual development appropriate book to read with your teen.

Tips To Break The Ice

Sex is a staple subject of news and entertainment these days, and it is hard to avoid this ever-present topic. But it is not easy when it comes to talking to your teens about it. If you wait for the perfect moment, you might miss the best of opportunities. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Seize The Moment:

Use everyday moments as opportunities to talk about sex. News articles, television shows, and radio can be excellent starting points. Try asking your teen what she thinks about it. Daily chores, like helping with the dishes and riding a car can give you the best opportunities to talk about this topic.

2. Be Direct:

State your feelings about particular sex-related issues directly. You must present the risks of sex objectively, including unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and emotional pain.

3. Consider Your Teen’s Point Of View:

Do not lecture your teen or discourage his sexual activity. Instead, listen carefully. Understand his pressures, concerns, and challenges. If they feel heard and understood, they will be likelier to continue open dialogues and maintain that line of communication with you.

4. Move Beyond The Facts:

Your teen needs accurate medical information about sex. But at the same time, you must also talk about the attitudes, feelings and values. Examine the questions of responsibility and ethics in the context of your family and social beliefs.

5. Invite More Discussion:

Encourage your teen to talk about sex whenever she has questions or concerns. Welcome the question, by saying that you are glad she came to you.

6. Use Correct Names For The Body Parts:

The simple way to talk about sex with your teen is by using the correct name for the body parts.

Guidelines For Sex Education For Teenagers

Here are a few important instructions that you must follow to become more comfortable while dealing with sex education for teens.

The best age to discuss the topic of sex is when your teen shows signs of active sexual behavior. Do not feel hesitant while talking to your teenager. Indulging in talk related to drugs and sex will help your teen make a wise decision. If you are feeling embarrassed talking to your teen about sex education, then take the help of a medical practitioner. Your teen will look up to you to get the right information about everything. So it will help her tremendously if you get the facts right before talking to her.

Be Prepared To Answer Questions

Be prepared to answer questions

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Here are some typical questions that your teen may ask after your sex education session with her. We have provided you the answers as well. Take a look!

1. When Will I Know I Am Ready For Sex?

Various factors like curiosity, peer pressure, and loneliness lead the teenagers into early sexual activity. But you have to remind your teen that it is okay to wait. There are many other ways to express affection like taking long walks, listening to music, dancing, kissing, hugging, and intimate talks.

2. What If My Boyfriend Or Girlfriend Insists On Having Sex?

Explain to your child that he should never think of having sex out of a sense of fear or obligation. Forced sex is rape, whether the offender is a stranger or someone your teen has been dating. Tell your teen that no always means no. Teach her that alcohol and drugs use will reduce his inhibition and impair his judgment, giving rise to a situation where rape is likely to occur.

3. What If I Am Gay?

Most of the teens wonder if they are gay or bisexual. So it is your responsibility to make her understand that she is just beginning to explore his sexual attraction and orientation. These feelings may change as the time goes.

Above all, tell your child that you love her unconditionally. And appreciate his courage for bringing the topic to you.

Violence In Dating

Teens who are in a violent relationship are more likely to indulge in sex. They also have a poor academic performance and can even attempt suicide. The emotional impact of unhealthy relationship may be lasting, increasing the likelihood of unhappy and violent relationships. Talk to your teen if you notice distinct changes in his lifestyle and behavior. The lessons that your teen learns today about healthy relationships will help her life-long. So it is imperative to talk with your teen about dos and don’ts of a healthy relationship.

Responding To Your Teens Sexual Behavior

If you notice that your teen has become sexually active, then state your feelings openly and honestly.

Stress on how crucial safe sex is and make sure she understands how to use contraception. Also, enforce reasonable rules about visits from friends of the opposite sex.

Get a routine checkup of your teen to address his sexual behavior in a supportive and confidential atmosphere. The doctor will also stress the importance of the routine human papillomavirus vaccination (1). The vaccine will help prevent genital warts and cancer of the anus, cervix, throat, mouth, and penis.

Busting The Myths

Some of the common myths of teen sex education are as follows:

Myth 1: Sex education will liberate the young mind and will allow teens to indulge in sexual intercourse more frequently.

Truth: There is no evidence that sex education will make the teens more promiscuous. On the contrary, sex education helps teens take sound decisions about their sex life.

Myth 2: Comprehensive sex education programs for teens increase the frequency of sexual intercourse.

Truth: Again, there is no proof of this. On the other hand, sex education increased prevention behavior among the sexually active teens and decreased the frequency of sexual intercourse. It also reduced the frequency of changing partners.

Myth 3: Comprehensive sexuality education is not useful, abstinence-only is.

Truth: The fact is that abstinence-only sex education courses are relatively less effective than comprehensive sex education.

Myth 4: Sex education will increase the incidence of teenage pregnancies.

Truth: Teens who are not much aware of sex are less likely to use protection while having sexual intercourse. Sex education increases the chances of using protection and avoiding teen pregnancy.

Medically correct information about sex education is no less than an investment in the teen’s future. In return, you will get a generation of well-informed and responsible young people.

Comprehensive sex education for teens helps give them the right information about the reproductive system, sexual health, and sexuality. Parents or teachers can provide them with the correct information to avoid misinformation from peers, the internet, or other sources. Sex education helps the teen to have a positive opinion on sexuality and make healthy decisions about sexual life. This also reduces reckless actions leading to unplanned or undesired pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. You may consider your teen’s points of view, have a discussion and explain to them the importance of sex education.

References:

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Mitha Shameer

Mitha is passionate about writing on topics related to women and children. She loves to present the brighter side of life to her readers in the form of her articles. She writes on games, stories, arts & craft, celebrations and more for MomJunction. When she isn't glued to online shopping websites, she loves reading books and watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Dr. Holly Schiff

(Psy.D.)
Dr. Holly Schiff did her Doctorate of Psychology in School and Community Psychology from Hofstra University and graduated from Fordham University. She also holds a Master of Arts in Psychology in Education degree from Columbia University, a Master of Science in School-Community Psychology, and an Advanced Certificate in School-Community Psychology from Hofstra University. Dr. Schiff was accepted as a member...
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