Five Myths About “The Sex Talk” With Your Teen

5 Myths About Teen Sex Talk

Talking With Your Teen About Sex

“The sex talk” from parents usually gets a pretty negative wrap in mainstream media and television.  Scenes of the awkward mom or dad trying to approach the topic with their savvy teen are always good for a few cheap laughs. But whether or not this depiction is the norm, it almost certainly is not the way to create a healthy and Biblically based dialogue about sex with your child or teen.  Here are a few stereotypes/myths about “the talk” we’d like to challenge, in an effort to help you raise a teen with a healthy and Christ-centered view on sexuality.

Myth 1: At some point in your child’s life, you will sit down and have a long, serious talk about sex. Then you will have done your duty and the job is over.
The idea that at a certain age, it is your job as a parent to sit down and have a long talk about “the birds and the bees” with your child is just plain silly. There is no way you can share everything your child needs to know to have a healthy view on sexuality in an hour, nor would it be beneficial do so once and check it off your list. Instead, establish an ongoing dialogue about sex, even if it seems awkward at first. Whether it’s animals mating on the Discovery Channel, a vulgar movie scene they saw at a friend’s house, or a pregnant teen in your community, take these chances to ask your child what they already know about sex, what their views are, and then share your own views.
Myth 2: When talking about sex, use vague and general terms so as not to “corrupt” your child.
Have you seen the 2013 KIA Superbowl commercial? It’s cute, clever, and accomplishes its goal of promoting KIA cars, but it also depicts the common myth that parents should be vague or even lie to their kids about the details of sex. In the end, this will cause more confusion than good. Be explicit and use real anatomical terms. Obviously the level of detail should vary with your child’s age, but telling your child they should avoid “inappropriate behavior” isn’t going to help your teen when they are faced with a real sexual situation and have to make a decision.
Myth 3: Talk about abstinence as the only available method of birth control, mentioning others will just give them ideas.

Chances are pretty good by the time your child reaches their teen years, they will have heard of condoms, the pill, and more, and may even have friends using them. This is a tricky topic to approach, and absolutely should not be presented as an acceptable alternative to abstinence.  However, having an informed and honest conversation with your teen about methods that others are using shows them:

  1. That you are aware that this has become the cultural norm and you are asking them to be different
  2. Allows you to dispel false assumptions they may have heard from others. For example: “John told you there’s no way he can get his girlfriend pregnant because he used a condom? Did you know according to the CDC condoms have an average failure rate of 18%?” 
Myth 4:  Focus mostly on the negatives of having sex outside of marriage—you want your teen to associate sex with sin.
Many Christian parents make the mistake of hammering home the negative aspects of sex outside of marriage so hard that their children mistakenly associate all sex with sin. Don’t forget to remind them that God designed sex, but there are good reasons He designed it for marriage only. Have your teen read through Song of Songs and then ask you any questions they might have.
Myth 5: If your child is already well into their teen years, it’s too late to talk to them about sex, they’ve already heard it all!
Whether your child is 10 or 18 years old, it is never too late to begin a healthy dialogue about sex! Even if your teen has already made mistakes, remind them that our God is a God who loves grace, second chances, and fresh starts.

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