Talking to your Parents about Sex

Believe it or not, your parents may be able to give you excellent advice and information about sex and sexual health, and can offer you support for the decisions you make.

It’s normal to feel nervous about talking with your parents about sex — many people feel awkward talking about sex. Keep in mind that a lot of parents say they are relieved when their teens start this conversation.

  • Is it a good idea to talk with my parents about sex?

    When it comes to discussing sex, parents can react in many different ways. Some can be misleading, angry, defensive, and clueless.  Some can be supportive, compassionate, and informed.  And some are too embarrassed to say anything at all. Often, they want to get the whole thing over with in One Big Talk — or they don’t want to talk about it at all.

    But in fact, research shows that ongoing dialogue fosters closeness between parents and kids, and decreases the risk of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

    Most often, ongoing communication feels good — and is good for you, too.

  • How can I start a conversation with my parents about sex?

    Some teens find it intimidating or embarrassing to talk with their parents about sex. When you’re ready to bring it up, you could try using a magazine article or TV show as a jumping-off point to start the conversation. It may take more than one conversation about this issue before you feel comfortable disclosing information about your personal feelings and intentions.

    Think about giving your parents a heads-up by scheduling your talk in advance. Just say something like, “Can we have a private talk tonight?” If you’re nervous, it’s okay to say so. Break the ice with something like, “This feels weird for me to talk about, and it may be for you, too, but I want to ask about …”

  • Should I involve my parents when making decisions about sex?

    Often parents want to feel needed and involved in their children’s lives. Make sure to tell them what role you want them to play in your decision making.

  • What if I really can’t talk with my parents about sex?

    Unfortunately, some parents can’t get over their discomfort about sex. Worse, some threaten or punish kids for raising the topic. If you feel that asking questions will endanger you, don’t.

    If you’re very concerned that your parents would get upset, you might choose to put off this conversation until you feel you and your parents are more ready. Meanwhile, you could turn to another trusted adult. This could give you the opportunity to rehearse what you want to say to your parents.

    There are other resources for safe, confidential information, including

    • BRAVEheart staff! We would be happy to help you and give you the advice you need.
    • Trusted adults, such as teachers, relatives, clergy, and family friends may be willing to talk with you.