Monday, February 13, 2006

If You Talk to Kids About Sex, Will It Make Them Want to Have Sex?

I stumbled on this really interesting article today that discusses that topic all parents hate to address with their teens - or heck, even pre-teens now.  But it has to be done.  Just because you don't talk about it, doesn't mean it isn't happening!

It's logical for parents to think that if they bring up to the topic of sex with their kids, their kids will think, "Oh, I guess it's time for us to do it!"

How do we explain intercourse, unwanted pregnancies and the risk of sexually transmitted disease to kids? The old conversation about birds and bees just doesn't cut it today.

There used to be so much ignorance about sex. Back in the 1800s even experts said eating spicy foods would lead kids to have sex.

Justin Richardson, author of "Everything You NEVER Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid They'd Ask)," said that was the impetus behind old advertisements that said foods like graham crackers would make kids "wholesome as the great outdoors."

"Mr. Graham and Dr. Kellogg argued that bland foods would prevent kids from thinking about sex and trying it out," Richardson said.

Today we know more, and kids see so much more. Parents are now told talk to your kids more — Don't wait for them to ask, you bring it up. 20/20 talked with some parents who did.

Alan Davidson decided to talk to his 16-year-old daughter. He told her he was just as embarrassed about what he was going to say as he thought she would be hearing it.

He told her men are "full of it." He warned her, "A man will tell you anything when he has an erection. … You'll hear things like — 'but I love you' or 'we don't need to use protection.' "

Davidson said he thought his daughter "looked relieved" after their talk.

She was. Kids 20/20 talked with said they were grateful their parents brought it up.

But couldn't bringing up the subject backfire? If you tell 12-year-old kids about sex, won't they want to go have sex?

"That's the myth and it's a really common fear," Richardson said. "But the research says the answer is no."

Richardson and others say there is no evidence that early talk leads to early sex, and 28 studies of school sex education programs — regardless of whether they teach abstinence or condoms — found no suggestion that early discussions about sex lead to earlier experimentation. Nine studies showed it made the kids wait longer to have sex.

Parents may be uncomfortable taking about it, but kids are going to hear about it anyway, Richardson said. "You may not be going there as a parent, but believe me, their friends are going there and the media is going there. They're hearing about sex. What you want to do is lend your voice to the chorus of the talk about sex."


So what are your thoughts, any advice for the parents who are inching their way to the topic?  How do you handle the topic in blended households where views from both homes may differ quite a bit?

In our household we do approach the topic and do offer our points of view - I believe it's important for parents to offer their kids as much information as they can and hope they've instilled enough moral fiber in their kids to result in a very informed and well thought out decision.

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