The subject of sex and sexuality often strikes fear into the hearts of parents as this is traditionally one subject which parents find it very difficult to talk about with their teenagers. However, as teens mature they will become increasingly interested in the subject of sex and their own sexuality.
In this context it is important to note that when we talk about sexuality we are referring to the feelings and activities which your teen connects with his or her sexual desires. Nowadays, the term sexuality is frequently taken to mean that a person is either ‘straight’ or ‘gay’ and, while this is certainly one small part of the sexuality equation, this is far too restrictive a definition.
Why You Shouldn’t Avoid Talking About Sexuality To Your Teenagers
Sex is a normal and important part of life for most people and exploring your sexuality, especially once you reach puberty, is simply part of the process of growing up. It can also however be a dangerous area these days and one which can easily harm a child both emotionally and in terms of their physical health. Teenage pregnancy and the possibility of contracting a range of sexually transmitted diseases or aids are very real risks which any parent will be anxious that their child avoids.
Many parents try to ignore the subject of sex and contend that this is something which should be handled in school under the heading of health or sex education and that this, combined with a child discussing the subject with his or her peers, should be sufficient. This is of course not the case and, like every other aspect of your child’s education, the school certainly has a role to play but that does not exempt you from your own overreaching parenting responsibility. In short, you need to discuss sex with your children in exactly the same way as you discuss the one hundred and one other issues which are vital to their development.
The world of sex is exciting to teenagers and they are eager to explore it, but it is important that they receive information, advice and guidance on the subject from someone they trust and there should be nobody they trust more than a parent. In addition, sex has traditionally been something of a taboo subject and still carries with it many of the Victorian attitudes of being something which is sinful and dirty. If you do not talk about sex openly within the family and set in into its proper context for your child then you are simply reinforcing the view that sex is bad.
Puberty is a time when teens will naturally start to explore their own bodies and to be curious about other people’s bodies. It is a time when they will start hiding ‘dirty’ magazines under the bed and masturbating in the bathroom when they think everybody is asleep. In short, it is a time when they will feel that this is somehow wrong and something which they should be ashamed of.
It is vitally important therefore that as a parent you step in at this point and provide the answers for the string of questions that will be popping into your teen’s head. This is the time when you need to talk openly about sex and the role of sex in the context of a relationship.
In this particular section of our website we will look at many of the issues surrounding teen sexuality and provide the resources in terms of information and advice needed to help to guide you when talking to your teenagers about this often difficult area. Through a series of articles we will cover a range of topics from dating and relationships to birth control and sexual health and much more.