Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Tips for Talking to Teens About Sex -- Without Embarrassing Them

        Health | Teenage Health

Let Them Know They're Sexually Normal

When adolescence strikes, thoughts suddenly turn from playgrounds and imaginary friends to sex and imaginary sex. Your teen's waking (and sleeping) hours are largely consumed with thoughts of sex, being sexually appealing and hoping you don't try to initiate a conversation about sex.

Your household mirrors are likely being French kissed, pornographic contraband is being smuggled into your house (or out of your room), and your sofas, showerheads and most everything else are being used for entirely new purposes. And the whole time, your teen is wondering if he or she has lost some marbles along the way. The short answer is "Yes."

However, all of this is normal in every household with a teen. Without calling them out on the increased demands for tissue paper in your home, find ways of letting them know that adolescence -- under the most normal circumstances -- is a somewhat abnormal time.

Their increased interest and exploration of sex (and themselves) is going to carry with it shame, guilt and regret, and this is a heavy load to carry around. Don't treat their questions or accidentally discovered behaviors as shocking or immoral -- they can't help themselves. It's a crazy, confusing time for teens, and you can tell them so.

Should you stare at the ceiling while you discuss sex? We'll talk about that next.