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

Encourage Openness

In the last section, we talked about trying not to "preach" to your teens when talking to them about sex. But without using scare tactics, how should you broach the topic while preventing an actual conversation? Well, you can't, and it's a good thing, because a back-and-forth conversation is exactly what you want.

Try to encourage openness when discussing sex with your teen. Instead of dictating or speechifying, try asking questions:

  • Does anyone else talk to you about sex?
  • What do people at school say or think about sex?
  • Do you feel pressure to have sex, or to act as if you have when you're with friends?

Just get the ball rolling, and the conversation may find its own momentum. You don't have to ask about your teen's sexual history directly or reveal your own -- though you could, if you'd like to mortify them for eternity. You can simply ask questions about the topic of talking about sex.

  • Have your friends had "the conversation" with their parents yet?
  • What did your friends say about it?
  • What do you and your friends think about the sex-ed classes at school?

This starts the conversation out on the periphery of the topic, which is safe enough to establish trust and banter.

So when should you schedule "the talk?" Keep reading for some pointers.