Talking to your teen boy about sex can be difficult. Often, parents warn girls about the dangers of sex too soon, but they give their boys a wink and a nudge, figuring that “boys will be boys.” It is important to discuss sex with your son from all angles–not just the physical details, but about being safe, protecting against pregnancy, understanding that “no means no” and all the emotional entanglements that go along with sex. Try to be open and maintain an ongoing discussion of sex.
Ask your son questions about sex. You could ask what he’s heard about sex or what he’s learned in school. You could also ask him about his feelings about sex. These questions may elicit some eye rolling, red cheeks and a cry of “Mom,” but you need to start somewhere.
Demonstrate the proper way to use a condom. It’s a cliche, but putting a condom on a banana is an effective way to show how it works. Realistically, your son is going to have sex at some point. It’s smart for him to know how to protect against sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy.
Define sex as part of a romantic progression. Sex isn’t something that you just suddenly do with someone. It usually starts with talking with a girl he likes, going out on dates, kissing, touching and then sex. Explain that there should be some sort of romantic attachment when he has sex with someone, because sex is an emotional act as well as a physical one.
Teach him to respect women and girls. This should be something ongoing. He should observe this through your actions and your husband’s actions. Have open discussions about what he sees in person and what he sees in the media. When your son respects women, he’s less likely to pressure a girl into having sex.
Teach him to respect himself. Along with respecting the girl he’s dating, he also needs to respect himself and know his own limits. He should be able to say “no” to sex if he’s not ready, even though he may be feeling pressured by his girlfriend or his buddies.
Use the media to discuss difficult situations. When you see a news story about date rape, discuss what he might have done in a similar situation. When you see kids having sex on a television show, ask if he thinks they were really ready.
Show your values, but respect his choices. You may feel that you should wait until marriage before having sex, but you shouldn’t shun him if he doesn’t make the same decisions.
- A portrait of a handsome teen boy outside. image by kuhar from Fotolia.com