Talking with Teens about Sex: Resources for Caregivers

Other
Parent, Family, and Caregiver Engagement Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program
Last Reviewed
Source
RHNTC

It’s common for parents and other caregivers to feel uncertain about how to talk with their teens about sex and other sensitive topics. But research shows that having these conversations can actually make a big difference. Most teens name their parents as the biggest influence in their decisions about sex. In addition, teens who have frequent conversations with their parents about sex and related topics are more likely to delay sex until they’re older, and they’re more likely to use birth control when they do become sexually active.1

The resources listed below are designed to prepare caregivers to have conversations with their teens about sex and other sensitive topics. Caregivers vary widely in their attitudes about these topics, so it is important for TPP programs to vet each resource before sharing it with caregivers to ensure it will be well-received. Because the resources include hyperlinks, it’s recommended to share them virtually, such as in an email. However, TPP programs can also print out resources and share hard copies with caregivers.

What should I teach my high school-aged teen about personal safety?

This webpage features tips on talking with teens about bullying, staying safe online, sexting, drugs, and alcohol. (This webpage is included in this resource list because of its educational content; its inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of services.)

 

Having the Talks: Bullying

This 2-minute video offers talking points that parents and caregivers can use to talk with their teens about bullying, and introduces the “Being Safe on the Internet” resource described below.

 

Being Safe on the Internet

This webpage includes information about online safety, as well as conversation starters that parents and caregivers can use to talk with their teens about this topic.

Masturbation: Totally Normal

This webpage includes information for parents and caregivers about masturbation, as well as ideas for how caregivers can normalize masturbation with their teens.

How to Talk to Teenagers About Porn

This article describes how to bring up porn in a conversation with teens, what is important for teens to know if they watch porn, and how to prevent younger children from seeing porn. (This webpage is included in this resource list because of its educational content; its inclusion on this list is not intended to encourage donation to this organization.)

 

Having the Talks: Porn

This 2-minute video explains the importance of talking with teens about porn and introduces “The #Askable Parent Guide to Porn” resource described below.

 

The #Askable Parent Guide to Porn

This webpage explains the importance of talking with teens about porn, and features videos and other resources to help parents and caregivers navigate these conversations without awkwardness.

 

Porn Is Not Sex Ed

This webpage describes key messages about porn that parents and caregivers can share with their teens in order to minimize shame and put porn into context.

What should I teach my high school-aged teen about their body?

This webpage includes tips for talking with teens about their body, going to the doctor, and their body image. (This webpage is included in this resource list because of its educational content; its inclusion on this list is not an endorsement of services.)

 

Puberty and Transgender Youth

This webpage gives parents and caregivers an overview of the relationship between puberty and gender identity, and offers guidance for talking with teens about gender identity and expression.

 

Having the Talks: Boys and Puberty

This 2-minute video explains the importance of talking about puberty with teens assigned male at birth, and introduces the “Does Penis Size Really Matter?” resource described below.

 

Does Penis Size Really Matter?

This webpage provides background information on puberty among teens assigned male at birth, and offers parents and caregivers tips on how to talk about puberty with teens before and while they are going through it.

 

Having the Talks: Girls and Puberty

This 2-minute video explains the importance of talking about puberty with teens assigned female at birth, and introduces the “Does Breast Size Really Matter?” resource described below.

 

Does Breast Size Really Matter?

This webpage provides background information on puberty among teens assigned female at birth, and offers parents and caregivers tips on how to talk about puberty with teens before and while they are going through it.

Having the Talks: Relationships

This 2-minute video explains the importance of talking with teens about healthy relationships, and introduces the “What Makes a Relationship Healthy?” resource described below.

 

What Makes A Relationship Healthy?

This webpage gives parents and caregivers key messages and conversation starters they can use to talk with their teens about the qualities of a healthy relationship.

 

Talking About Consent & Healthy Relationships at Every Age

This 1-pager includes age-appropriate messages about consent and healthy relationships that parents and caregivers can share with their children to help prevent unhealthy relationships and sexual assault.

Talking with Your Teens about Sex: Going Beyond “the Talk”

This webpage provides parents and caregivers with an overview of the importance of discussing sex with their teens, tips on how to talk to teens about sex, and additional resources and programs with more information.

 

Let's Talk: Tips for Talking With Your Teen About Sexuality

This 2-pager features tips that parents and caregivers can use to talk with their teens about sex.

 

The Talk Show: Using TV to Talk With Your Children About Sex

This tip sheet gives parents and caregivers guidance on how to use the TV shows their teens watch as a way to discuss sex and other sensitive topics.

 

Tips for Safer Sex and Pregnancy Prevention

This webpage provides parents and caregivers with an overview of various birth control methods and describes the importance of talking with teens about preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

 

Talk with Your Teen About Preventing STDs

This webpage provides an overview of the basics related to STD prevention and how parents and caregivers can approach talking with teens about preventing STDs.

 

What Are STDs? #FactCheck

This webpage includes a brief video about STDs and offers key messages that parents and caregivers can use to talk with their teens about STD transmission, prevention, testing, and treatment.

Gender-Diverse & Transgender Children

This webpage defines helpful terms related to sexual orientation and gender identity, describes research on the experiences of children and parents/caregivers when a child is gender-diverse, includes tips for caregivers, and provides an overview of medical support available for gender-diverse children.

 

What should I teach my high school-aged teen about identity?

This webpage features information and tips that parents and caregivers can use to talk with their teens about sexual orientation and gender identity. It includes guidance about what to do if a teen comes out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or queer/questioning (LGBQ) or as transgender or gender nonconforming.

 

Sexual Orientation: A Spectrum Of Attraction

This webpage describes sexual attraction and sexual orientation during puberty, and discusses how parents and caregivers can approach talking with their teens about sexuality and sexual orientation in a supportive way.

  1. Planned Parenthood. (2021). What should I teach my high school-aged teen about sex and sexuality? https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/parents/high-school/what-should-i-teach-my-high-school-aged-teen-about-sex-and-sexua