Thank God for James Dobson’s Focus on the Family. Without it, I wouldn’t know have discovered this informative article about how to talk to my teen about sex:
First, put a paper bag over your head. Then, speak slowly and clearly.
So far, I’m not impressed with the advice. Should I cut out eyeholes or not?
Ah, don’t you wish talking to your teens about sex was an easy task? It’s not, and there’s no use pretending it is. However, it’s critical that you do it. Don’t believe the fallacies.
The phalluses? Huh?
If you don’t talk to your kids, the only information they get will be from their uneducated friends, or the distorted media.
Yeah. I hate it when Brian Williams opens the evening news with one of his heart-to-heart sermons about the birds and the bees.
So it’s up to you to put on that smile and go for it.
Nothing will weird a teen out more than a smiling parent talking to them about sex. But where should we have this conversation?
Not at a restaurant. You’ll already feel a bit self-conscious talking to your teen without having any other potential eavesdroppers.
Right. "See, son. Let’s say this hot dog is you . . . and this onion ring is your girlfriend . . ." Doesn’t work.
Most teens seem to be more receptive to talking about difficult things at night. Take advantage of this by "tucking" them into bed. Sit on the edge of the bed and begin. The dark room helps you as well.
No, this is way too icky. A parent, tucking in their teenager? And then sitting at the bedside, talking about sex? In the dark?
Er, hello? Social services?
Curl up on the sofa, pop a bowl of popcorn, fix their favorite beverage and go for it.
Hopefully, your incredibly long arms will be able to reach the microwave and the refrigerator from your curled-up position on the sofa.
Break out the pool cues, the puzzle, the Scrabble game, the Ping-Pong table, the foosball … whatever gets you talking.
Scrabble! Now that’s an idea. Try to spell dirty words. "’Cunt’ — that’s 11 points. You do know what that is, don’t you, honey?"
Be sure that nothing is planned for early the next day, that the phones are turned off and that there’s little chance for interruption.
Because presumably, your teen will be traumatized for life at that point…
Well, that takes care of the "where". Now please tell me "when" I should have this conversation.
When they start to ask questions. This can be at any age. When a child asks a specific question, answer the specific question. Don’t evade it.
When my 4-year-old son asked, "What is a virgin?" (spawned by "round yon virgin" in the carol "Silent Night"), his father said, "I don’t know." I told him, "Someone who hasn’t had sex." He said, "Okay," and left the room without asking what sex was. Later he told me I was his primary source of sexual information because he knew I would always be straightforward with him.
"Years later, he called me from his cell phone. He was about to perform oral sex on his girlfriend, and wasn’t sure what to do. Being his ‘primary source of sexual information’, I was able to talk him through it, step by step. We laugh about it now."
When they are 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. If your teen hasn’t asked you any questions by the time he or she is 14, set a time to talk.
Just be sure it is in the dark, and it is in his or her bedroom, after they are tucked in. And be sure to smile.
Always. Talk about sex freely, openly and honestly in your home. Be the place where your teen comes for information first, or to check out information they’ve heard from their friends. Experts say that discussing sexuality on an ongoing basis helps teens have a healthier view of sexuality and postpone sex until marriage.
And when they ask you whether you waited until marriage to have sex, lie. The rest of the time, be honest.
Well, that’s all good advice, but some of you may still not sure how to go about it.
Often parents use available material as a way to begin. Some will use a news event, a movie or television show as a discussion starting point.
Terri Schiavo works. She works for any topic these days.
Others might take a book like Just Like Ice Cream to discuss the choices someone else made.
Right. Be sure to enroll your teen in the Christian tradition of discussing other people and looking down at the wrong choices they made.
Ask your teen to give you written-out questions ahead of time. This will give you an opportunity to prepare.
Answer the questions honestly and forthrightly. However, do not answer personal questions about you and your spouse unless the questions involve concepts rather than specifics.
They may, for example, wonder why they appear (as a small baby) in your wedding pictures. Tell them to shut up, and ask questions involving concepts rather than specifics.
Now, what should you actually say?
In my research with high school girls, I discovered that sex ed classes taught many girls the functionality of sex but not the responsibility, and vice-versa. Either way, the results were often disastrous. Girls who had healthy affection from their fathers, as well as a balanced education of sexual function and responsibility were far less likely to become sexually involved.
Ask your teens to share with you the new terminology and the definitions. Get their input on how they feel about the new wave of oral sex, "hooking up" and "friends with privileges."
- What about sleeping (without sex) with someone of the opposite sex?
- What about being nude or partially nude with no intention of being sexual? Do they know of anyone practicing these?
- Do they see any repercussions?
Take copious notes. You may actually learn something from your teen.