Teenagers and Sexuality

“I was young once you know…” Have you used this with your teenager yet? If not, be prepared, it will slip out at some point!

Most of us do remember what it was like when puberty started setting in. You still felt like a kid, rode your bike on the weekend, and begrudgingly did your homework after school, loved fast food and chocolate. But your body started to change, dark hair growing in new places, like mum or dad. Attention from and towards the opposite sex that just didn’t happen before.

For many of us, we had to rely on the little info that was provided at School, either through science or physical education class… or perhaps you were lucky enough to have the traveling “Things are changing” seminar come to your school? Many of our parents received little or no education about human sexuality let alone how to navigate sexual situations and relationships. They did their best to be there for us, but were Ill equipped to handle questions, they just did not have the tools or knowledge.

So most of us looked at magazines, and gossiped amongst ourselves. We eventually worked it all out… for the most part anyway.

The teens of today have an incredible amount of information available to them, through Google and social media. The average age a child will first view a pornographic image now is 9 years of age. The average age to loose ones virginity in Australia is falling year after year. I know many kids who were sexually active by 14 years of age. If you are still a virgin at 18, it is seen as a little unusual.

Would your young teen be able to put porn images and movies into perspective? Would they understand that it is just fictional Adult entertainment…? And NOT an educational doco on how sex usually looks and sounds?

It is imperative we talk to our children and teens about sex, keep the answers short and honest, admit when you don’t have the answers and try not to preach. Adults often make the mistake of assuming their teen is ‘not there yet’ and try to put off talking to them. Please believe me when I say they are very good at disguising things and deflecting questions when necessary. They can play dumb and innocent in front of you, but that is not how they are in front of their friends.

Sexuality Education has to be more than abstinence or wear a condom. We need to help them understand we are all unique. We all process information differently. We are all entitled to enjoy our own sexuality and how and when we will share that with someone else.

The schools battle to address this subject due to fear of offending some, so the majority miss out. Ignoring it does not make it go away. It may make you a grandparent sooner than expected or inflict a sexually transmitted infection that could hang around for life. What would you prefer to be discussing with your son or daughter?

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