Tuesday, October 2nd (DES MOINES, IA) – A new survey from Planned Parenthood and Family Circle magazine sheds light on how parents and teens are talking about sex and what they can do to communication more effectively.
The survey found that the vast majority of parents and teens have talked about sex, but teens are less comfortable than their parents. Just 18 percent of teens said they feel comfortable talking with their parents about sex, while half of all parents surveyed said they feel very comfortable talking to their teens. Still, the survey found that parents need to talk more about how their teens can prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
“It’s great that parents are taking the first step and talking to their kids about sex and sexuality,” said Planned Parenthood of the Heartland Health Education Manager Ejay Jack. “These are vital topics to healthy decision making, and we need to provide tools and resources to help parents and teens have more meaningful conversations.”
The survey underscores the importance of October’s Let’s Talk Month, an annual awareness effort to get parents and teens talking about sex.
“Setting clear expectations and providing teens with information to prevent pregnancy and STIs is crucial,” said Jack. “This survey shows that parents are overwhelmingly supportive of comprehensive sex education as a tool for keeping their teens safe and healthy.”
Key findings in the survey include:
• A majority of parents and teens are talking about sex.
90% percent of parents reported having talked with their teens about sexuality
84% percent of teens reported having talked with their parents about sexuality
• Both mothers and fathers are talking with teens.
93% of moms are talking with their kids
85% of dads are talking with their kids
• Parents are talking about these topics more frequently than teens.
Parents were more likely to say they have frequently talked with their teens about subjects like how to say no to sex and when sex should and shouldn’t take place.
• Parents and teens aren’t tackling the tough topics.
50% of parents have frequently discuss healthy relationships with their teens
29 % of parents have frequently talked to their teens about birth control
31% of parents have frequently discussed sexual orientation.
• Parents overwhelmingly support school-based sex education programs and believe that school-based programs should cover a range of topics, including birth control.
93% of parents believe birth control should be covered in high school sex-ed programs
78% of parents believe this information should be taught in middle school
95% of parents said STIs should be covered in both middle and high school programs.
The survey of more than 2,000 parents and teens is from Planned Parenthood and Family Circle magazine, with assistance from the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at NYU. The findings are detailed in “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about the Sex Talk (But Were Afraid to Ask),” a November issue Family Circle magazine story out Tuesday, October 2.
The Planned Parenthood/Family Circle/CLAFH Let’s Talk Month poll, conducted by Knowledge Networks, a Gfk company, utilized a panel recruited and maintained by Knowledge Networks that represents 97 percent of U.S households. A stratified, nationally representative sample of 2,092 parents and teens aged 15-18 living in the same households was selected from panel participants. The poll was conducted from June 12 to June 25, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent.