The birds and bees

Sexual identity and sexuality are some of the greatest mysteries for a teenager. A crush on a classmate can make the teen to dream her days away. Even an actor in her favourite television series can completely take over her thoughts. The changing body and how it reacts to stimulation and sexual awakening can result in new situations and cause confusion. It can feel embarrassing and exciting at the same time and raise questions, like: Is it normal to feel this way? Is it normal to act this way? Therefore, you should discuss sexuality with your teen and give her balanced and positive information about sexuality, sex, partnership, and intimacy.

Start the conversation by asking your teen what she already knows about sex and sexuality and how she feels about the issue. You should ask what she has learned at school and what the teachers or the school nurse and her friends have told her about sex. This is a good way to map out what your child already knows about the subject and what beliefs she may have. You should time the conversation, for example, after a news story or a movie that has covered the subject. You can also directly ask if the teen has any questions about the issue. Talk about your own teenage crushes, happy moments and disappointments, but do not open about your sex life more than is required.

The partnership of the parents and how the parents show their affection towards each other will create the foundation for how the teen will view partnership and interaction between two adults. Kissing, affectionate touching and a loving feeling between parents will create a positive and valued image of partnership. The teen sees that love and partnership is a natural part of life. It is important to tell your teen that sexuality is a positive thing that should be respected and nurtured. Tell her that she should give time for her sexuality to mature and not start to explore it too early or let anyone pressure her into doing so.

Your job as a parent is to let your child know that sex is something that only adults should practice and there is no hurry to start having a sex life. It is important to emphasise that sex should never be coerced but both parties must consent to it and must want it to happen. Sex is more intimate and pleasurable if you have it with someone important, someone whom you love and appreciate.

Birth control is another topic you should discuss when talking about sexuality with your teen. You should openly and honestly explain that having intercourse without any protection can lead to unpleasant diseases or an unwanted pregnancy. You should talk about different birth control methods but remember to emphasise that the condom is the only protection against both diseases and pregnancy. Condoms are easily available everywhere and you don’t need a prescription for them.

You should also discuss inappropriate sexual behaviour. You need to make clear that the private parts of your child are off limits for both friends and strangers alike. You should explain what type of behaviour counts as sexual harassment and remind your child that it is not acceptable to send or receive any revealing photos via websites or applications.