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By Hannah Le
Oct 30, 2012
Talk to your parents about sex. No, really. Do it. I’m being completely serious.
If your parents aren’t around and/or conversations with your parents never go well and you fear an extreme negative reaction, find a local clinic/Planned Parenthood and direct some of your questions there or do some research using the Internet or find a trusted adult who you can talk to. The education is worth it especially with all the risks that do come with sex.
But if the worst that can happen from talking about sex with your parents is just awkwardness, then it’s definitely worth the try. And it might not just be awkward for you, it’s probably this way for them too. But they care about you. And I’m sure you care about them, even if you’re not ready to admit that quite yet.
Studies show that the closer the relationship is between parents and children, the less likely it is that a teen pregnancy or an STI will occur.1 Open communication can only help. I know, I know. Easier said than done. So, how do we bring it up? Mom or Dad hands you your lunch or allowance or whatever and you just go, “Hey, can we talk about sex?” If that works for you, try that. I mean, yeah. Your parents will be caught off guard, but it’s better than never finding out what your parents know or if they’re willing to help you reach a better understanding of sex and all it entails.
You can also try pulling up some article from a magazine or off the Internet about sex education and/or prevention care and try discussing that with your parents, then casually ask questions about your own interest, but be sure to have those questions prepared.
Why would you want to ask your parents about sex? Why is it so important to have comprehensive education not only from school but from your parents as well?
It’s just important to gather all the information you can about sex. Let’s look at it this way. There are approximately one billion people ages 15-24 in the whole world, and there are about 42 million in the United States. 48% of high school students are currently sexually active, and 62% of those teens report using a condom the last time they had sex. Just 62%. That’s like a D minus. But get this, in 2006, only 5% of American high schools made condoms available to students.2
Maybe you’re thinking, “How hard can putting a condom on be?” It’s a good question. You probably know all the necessary steps, like checking the expiration date on the package, opening it with just your fingers and never your teeth, squeezing the tip of the condom, when exactly to put it on, leaving a half-inch space at the tip, which side to roll down, etc. And did you know that with typical use of a condom, 15 out of 100 people face an unintended pregnancy? When condoms are used consistently and correctly, less than 2 people experience an unintended pregnancy.3 Almost half of all new infections are happening with people under 25, but only less than a third of these people know how to protect themselves from STIs and HIV.4 So, think about those numbers again. Weigh the awkwardness and the importance of sex education together for a minute and decide what matters more to you.
For more facts, please click this link: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/press-room/get-the-facts
1) Journal of HIV/AIDS Prevention & Education for Adolescents & Children 5.3-4 (2003): 7-32.
4) http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/hiv-homeCategories: Abstinence-Only Programs, Condoms, Contraceptive Access, Emergency Contraception, Health Care, HIV, Living Positive, Other, Peer Education, Pregnancy and Parenting, Safer Sex, Sex Education, Sexual Health, Young People