Ask A Sex Therapist: How To Talk About Sex With Teenagers As A Parent

by Cay L. Crow

picture of woman grabbing her head and hair with frustration and anxiety

Dear Cay,

Yesterday I was at the computer in my study when I heard a burst of laughter through the wall from my grand daughters in the adjoining bedroom. My ears perked up at the joyful sound of youth but quickly began to burn when I heard the 15 year-old ask the 18 year-old a series of questions about the female body and sex.

There was more giggling and laughter but my comfort level made me move away from my PC. As I write this I am pondering--do I mention this to their mother (my daughter)? Do I talk with the girls myself or do I give them your e-mail address and wimp out?

Stunned Grandpa

Should Parents Be The First Sex Educator Of Their Children?

Dear Stunned Grandpa:

I think it is important for the girls’ mother to know that they have questions. A parent is usually the best source of information. Research also shows that kids and teens prefer that their parent be the primary source of sex education in their lives. Plus, most parents want to infuse their child’s life with values and being involved in a child’s sex education is a wonderful context for this to happen.

Best Sex Education Sources For Teenagers

If, for some reason, your daughter can’t or won’t step up and make sure her daughters have the information that they need, then get your daughter’s permission to talk with them. The girls may find the prospect of talking to grandpa too embarrassing so be prepared for a rebuff. At least give them solid, evidence-based websites to visit for sexual information. Otherwise, they will be learning from porn which is what will come up as they search for sexual topics. Here are my favorite online sites for sex education:

Scarleteen.com – The most comprehensive sex education website for teenagers and young adults.

Amaze.org - This website features animation that captures the attention of kids and tweens while it informs them about puberty, reproduction, and sexuality.

Heartwomenandgirls.org – Culturally sensitive health and sex education for Muslim women and girls.

Itspronouncedmetrosexual.com – This reader funded and informed website addresses a wide array of sexual topics through the lens of social justice. It also has free and uncopyrighted resources that you can download.

SIECUS.org – Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. Not as engaging as the other websites but full of great information.

You are welcome to give the girls my email but should you choose this option, I will require parental permission to answer any questions from a minor. I like my job and don’t want to get sued!

Kudos to you, Grandpa, for taking action on behalf of your grandkids!

CAY L. CROW, LPC, AASECT-CERTIFIED SEX THERAPIST

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