Reproductive Health: HPV, Teens and Sex

Discussing “the birds and the bees” with your teenager can be an uncomfortable idea, but creating an open dialogue is the best way to reinforce safety and responsibility when it comes to sexual behavior. The adolescent specialists at Cone Health Center for Children recommend parents address the subject of sexual behavior and health many times throughout their sons’ and/or daughters’ adolescence, rather than just having one talk. The more teens know about sexuality, the more likely they are to make healthy choices.

Start discussing your values with your child early on and have clear conversations about what you expect of them. Research has shown that teens are more likely to postpone sex and practice safe sex when they have an open dialogue with their parents or guardians. When discussing sexuality with them, teach them body parts early on, using anatomically appropriate language. Help your teen understand what consent is and what a healthy relationship looks like, and teach your kids about safety and birth control options when engaging in sexual behavior. Your teen will most likely see examples of sexual behavior on TV, and you can use these opportunities to discuss what is realistic and to reinforce healthy behaviors. If you feel uncomfortable, try having these discussions in the car. It’ll be private and you don’t have to maintain eye contact.

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