5 Tips For Talking To Your Teens About Sex & Sexuality For A Positive And Healthy Sexual Journey

1. Check in with your current opinions & knowledge about sex and sexuality.

Before your conversations with your teen, ask yourself…

  • “Does my approach to sex and sexuality give a positive,  non judgemental, accurate, up to date version of information and opinions. Is my version one, that will be helpful for my teen, in this hypersexualised and complex society?

  • “Am I an askable askable parent”. You need to be the most reliable source of information for them.

If your default version of anything to do with sex and sexuality is based on fear, danger and misinformation, you’ll miss the opportunity to provide the essential info your teen requires in order to navigate  the messages society is feeding them and to empower them with knowledge for a safe, fulfilling, pleasurable and respectful adult sexual jouney.

Remove your negative adult layers of ‘stuff’ in your mind that might interfere and cause you to approach conversations with fear, danger, apprehension, confusion.  It’s ok to be nervous or uncertain but do choose the positive approach rather than the negative.

2. Do some research and then practice, practice, practice!  Ditch Netflix for a night and do an hour or so of internet surfing. Read up on  current contemporary sexuality and sexual health advice for the needs of young people. Start here and then go here and see where it leads you. You might even learn a thing or two that you never learned about human sexuality  :) Practice saying out loud the words you might need to use during these conversations: intimacy, vulva, lubrication, erection, enthusiastic consent, anal sex, pornography, diversity, respect….

 
Mother hugging teenager.

Mother hugging teenager.

 

3. Be Brave teens need lots of information-more than you (and they) might realise or be willing to discuss. Rest assured the evidence tells us time and time again that young people who are given adequate, accurate information at home and school have better outcomes later on in life such as less teen pregnancies and less STI’s. Many delay sexual intercourse to a later age.

4. Be honest:

  • “Just bare with me - no one ever spoke to me about these things, I never learned about them properly,  I don’t want that to be the case for you, I’m trying my best to find a way to explain it…”

  • “I understand why you might be curious, but I’d prefer not to answer in detail that personal question about my history, however I  will tell you enough info that is useful for you to learn. My personal past is private, which is actually one of the special aspects of great partnerships and respectful relationships - partner’s shared intimate privacy…”

  • “I know you don’t want to talk to me,  but I just need 5 mins of your time to tell you something that is very important for you to know from our perspective…” (Talk in the car)

  • “I’d like to revisit how I answered that question the other day, I reacted negatively  because I didn't know how to answer it and you deserve and accurate answer so I looked into it…”

  • “Our family’s beliefs are...other families might believe… We need to respect other people’s values and opinions”

5. Use Teachable moments such as advertisements, reality TV shows, music videos, commercial radio segments to Talk Talk Talk Talk about:

  • Respectful relationships

  • Consent must be enthusiastic and ongoing

  • Mainstream porn is not a true representation of healthy partnerships

  • Raise the bar of their expectations for sexual intimacy; experiences should never be regretful or painful.

  • Mutual exploration of a  mutually pleasurable activity to do with a partner is the best sexual experience you will ever have.  

  • Being seen as ‘sexy’ is not a measure of your value or worth

  • Humans are diverse and that includes sexuality there are many versions of individual sexuality

Thankyou to Vanessa Hamilton for being our first new expert to share her knowledge with our Bliss Community. We are so grateful for the wonderful people that support Bliss.

Vanessa Hamilton is a Sexuality Educator and Mum to three.  She is the founder of Talking The Talk Sex and Health Education, working as a highly respected and sought after speaker, writer and educator. Vanessa has spoken to literally tens of thousands of people about sex and sexuality during her 24 years experience as a Sexual Health Nurse and has also spent 16 years educating children and adults.  She has immersed herself in helping parents, teachers and health professionals understand human sexuality and how it relates to children. By providing simple explanations, tools and tips she reduces the fear that many people have and facilitates conversations that support children as they grow up in this hypersexualised society.  Her tagline is “Let's get started it’s easier than you think”.