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It might feel awkward at first, but talking to your parents about sex can be a really good thing. They probably know more than you think and can answer your questions.

Do I really need to talk with my parents about sex?

Lots of teens talk with their parents about sex. If you feel safe talking with your parents about sex, do it. Sure, it can be a little embarrassing, but it's definitely worth starting the conversation. Your parents (or other adults you trust) can offer great information and advice.

One way to avoid awkwardness is to ask your parents what their values are when it comes to sex. This takes the pressure off of you to do all the talking and shows them that you respect their opinions.

You could start by saying something like, "Some of my friends are having sex. What do you think about that?" Or, "How did you first learn about sex?"

Asking them questions about what it was like when they were your age is a great way to learn, get their trust, and even hear some stories from their past. You can also try using something from a TV show or a movie to start the conversation. Your parents will probably really appreciate you being open with them. They may even be relieved that you brought it up!

If you’re not comfortable talking to your parents about sex, there are other people who you can open up to. Some people look to an older brother or sister, a cousin, a counselor, or a mentor. In other words, talk to someone older who you trust.

Do my parents need to be involved when I make decisions about sex?

Decisions about sex are very personal and private, but there are some good reasons to involve your parents. Your parents or another adult in your family you trust:

  • Might have good advice on whether you should start or continue a sexual relationship, based on a ton of life experience.

  • Could suggest ways to help prevent pregnancy and STDs. They could even go with you to get tested, get birth control, or the HPV vaccine. Their health insurance might cover the cost of your doctor’s visit.

  • Can support you during difficult situations like dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, STD, or sexual assault.

Your parents care about you and want to be involved in your life. They were your age once, and they know what it’s like to be a teenager. They’ll probably be proud of you for being responsible about your health. Get more tips on talking with your parents about sex and your body.

If you decide you can’t involve your parents in your decisions about sex, you can still take care of your health. Most states have laws that let teens get STD testing and birth control without their parents. You can also check with your local Planned Parenthood health center to see if they can give you free or low cost health care, without using your parents’ insurance. Some states have special programs that help teens get their own private health insurance plan for sexual health services. Learn more about going to the doctor.

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