How to Have Conversations about Sexuality with Young Teens

Jun 20, 2023

Shelby Cook, LISW-S

How to Have Conversations about Sexuality with Young Teens?

Sex education.
Kids studying in a classroom

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Having conversations about sexuality with teens can be a daunting task and a challenging topic for many parents or guardians, but it is essential to educate them and help them make informed decisions. Here are some tips to help you navigate the conversations about sexuality with teens.

Ways To Have Conversations About Sexuality With Teens

Start Early

Don’t wait for the kid to reach the age when you were told about sexuality and given sex education. Kids these days are more connected to the internet, and chances of finding out about sex are way more than they were back in the day. It’s essential to start discussing sexuality early on so it becomes a comfortable and natural topic of conversation. You can begin by discussing body parts, boundaries, and relationships when your child is young.

Be Straightforward

Being honest and straightforward with your teen about the subject of sexuality is the best way to start conversations. Avoid explaining with euphemisms or analogies, which will confuse the teen and make them way more uncomfortable. Use accurate language and explain things in a clear and concise manner.

Listen And Be Open-Minded

Actively listen to your teen’s questions and concerns. Being open-minded about how they think and feel is the key to strengthening the bond between you and your child. Try to avoid judging or criticizing their opinions and make them feel safe to talk to you about sensitive topics.

Provide Accurate Information

Teenagers must know accurate information about sexual health; this includes contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and birth control. No more talks about fairies bringing babies. It’s important to provide your teen with reliable information so that they can make informed decisions.

Discuss Boundaries And Consent

The importance of consent between two people is the most important point that needs to be ingrained into young minds. Discuss the importance of boundaries and consent in sexual relationships. Help your teen understand what consent means and the importance of respecting their partner’s wishes.

Use Every Resource

There are many resources available to help you have conversations about sexuality with your teen, such as books, websites, and videos. You can also seek advice from a trusted healthcare provider or a counselor if you struggle to discuss the topic with your teen.

Remember that having conversations about sexuality with your teen is an ongoing process and not a one-time event. Continue to communicate with your teen and be a source of support and guidance for them as they navigate this complex subject.

Sex education.
A mother trying to talk to her kid.

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Benefits of Sex Education

Sex education has numerous benefits for individuals, communities, and society as a whole. Here are some of the key benefits of sex education:

Improved Sexual Health

One of the primary benefits of sex education is that it provides individuals with accurate and comprehensive information about sexual health. This information includes contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and pregnancy prevention. It can help individuals make informed decisions about their sexual health and reduce the risk of unintended pregnancies, STIs, and other health problems.

Increased Knowledge And Awareness

Sex education provides individuals with a comprehensive understanding of human sexuality, including anatomy, sexual orientation, and gender identity.

Improved Relationships

Sex education can help individuals develop healthy and positive relationships by teaching them effective communication skills, including how to establish boundaries, negotiate consent, and resolve conflicts in relationships.

Reduced Risky Behaviors

Sex education can help reduce risky sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex, early sexual initiation, and multiple sexual partners, which can lead to unwanted pregnancies and STIs.

Increased Empowerment

Sex education empowers individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual health and relationships. It can help reduce shame and stigma around sexuality and give individuals the tools they need to assert their sexual rights.


Rogers, Adam & Ha, Thao & Stormshak, Elizabeth & Dishion, Thomas. Quality of parent–adolescent conversations about sex and adolescent sexual behavior: An observational study. Journal of Adolescent Health. 2015, 57. 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2015.04.010.

Alex Mellanby, Fran Phelps, John Tripp, Sex education: more is not enough, Journal of Adolescence, Volume 15, Issue 4, 1992, Pages 449-466, ISSN 0140-1971,

Ashcraft AM, Murray PJ. Talking to Parents About Adolescent Sexuality. Pediatr Clin North Am. 2017 Apr;64(2):305-320. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2016.11.002. PMID: 28292447; PMCID: PMC5517036