Cindy Gullo, LCPC - Therapist & Counselor
The Blog

How to Talk to Teens About Sex

Mother discussing sex with teen daughter

It is essential that parents talk about sex with their teenage children. Yes, it may be uncomfortable, but it will be more valuable coming from you than one of their adolescent friends. In fact, the CDC has found that parents have more influence over their kids’ sexual behavior than anyone else. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when addressing sex with your child.

Be Direct

Although sex can be an awkward topic, it needs to be addressed directly. There is a lot to talk about when it comes to sex and you need to be open and specific to make sure your teen gets the message. In addition, direct conversations show your child that sex is a topic that does not need to be avoided.


It is important you educate your teen about sex. In order to do that, you have to be sure you know what you are talking about. The Teaching Sexual Health website possesses valuable information and resources for discussing sex with your child.

Share Your Values

Besides providing facts, you should also share your personal values regarding sex. Every family has a different perspective on sex, and it is important that your teenager understands yours. This may require you (and your partner) to think about what you want to say before you talk with your child.

Don’t Try to Control Them

It is tempting to try to restrict your teenager’s behavior so it is difficult for them to engage in sex. That would be a mistake. The more restrictive you become, the more likely they will act out and ignore your advice. The best a parent can hope to do is communicate openly, set limits, and provide information. Remember, you are a guide, not a dictator. If you are having difficulty with parenting your teen, seeing a counselor may help.

Communicate Without Judgment

It is very important that you reserve your judgment when you talk with your teenager. Listening to what they have to say shows them that you take them seriously. They are more likely to be transparent and share personal information with you if they feel respected.

Teachable Moments

You don’t always have to sit your kids down for a big talk to communicate with them about sex. Some of the most important conversations you can have with your teen come up naturally. For example, maybe you are watching a TV show that depicts a sexual situation. That could be a great moment to ask your child about their views and tell them what you think.

Learn More About Talking to Teens About Sex

Talking about sex with your teenager is a delicate but necessary right of passage. If you feel unsure about having “the talk”, or have other issues with your teen, counseling can help. Communicating with your teen is an acquired skill. Please contact me if you need further assistance.