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Planned Parenthood encourages teens to talk to their parents about sex, or to another trusted adult. You may think that parents would be last on your list of people that you would talk to about sex, but remember they were teenagers once, too, and possibly faced a lot of similar issues to the ones you are facing now. In fact, many of your values are based on your parents attitudes and beliefs. You may find that talking to them helps you understand your own beliefs, values, and feelings.

Seven Tips for Talking With Parents about Sex:

  1. Ask questions. Some adults may be too nervous to bring up the topic. If you initiate the conversation they are more likely to give you the information you need.
  2. Start talking early, and talk often, about anything. The more engaged your parents are in what is going on in your life the more likely they will be to trust and respect you.
  3. Take advantage of teachable moments. Use topics like a friend's pregnancy or a TV show to begin a conversation.
  4. Make sure the adults in your life understand the realities of being a teen today. Yes they were teens once, too, but their life may have been different from yours. At the same time, they may be able to relate and even share some of their own experiences.
  5. Take your discussion beyond "the Birds and the Bees." Ask your parents about their feelings about all sexuality-related topics: sexual orientation, dating, rape, media images, sexually transmitted infections, safer sex, etc.
  6. Respect your parents right to their own opinions and share yours with them and explain where you are coming from. You may have an opinion that they had never considered.
  7. Have patience; they're nervous too. Talking about sex to teens seems to be one of a parent's biggest fears. Teens whose parents talk to them about sex are more likely to not have sex before they are ready.

The easiest way to communicate with your parents about sex is to let them know a little about what's going on in your life in general. Keep them up-to-date on your life and they're less likely assume you're doing things you aren't.

One possible door-opener to starting a conversation about sex is the topic of peer pressure. You might mention your observations about whether or not there's pressure on teens to have sex. Then you might ask your parent(s) about their feelings about sex before marriage. Parents know that growing up isn't easy. If given the chance, they may very well be very helpful and supportive.

The important thing to remember is to talk about your feelings with an adult or friend you feel comfortable with someone you can trust. They can provide a perspective that friends may not be able to offer, including insight into personal values and experiences.