If we listen to the stereotypes of popular culture, it seems like parents and kids alike would rather do just about anything than talk about sex. We’ve all seen it play out onscreen at some point – a teen and parent sit uncomfortably side by side, the former staring straight ahead as the latter chokes out something along the lines of, “Just, you know, be safe – okay?” Eye roll, awkward pat on the back, end scene.
The good news? It turns out this isn’t a case of art imitating life. According to a poll released today by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health, 82 percent of parents say they’ve talked to their kids about sex and issues related to sexuality, including relationships (92 percent) and “their own values about when sex should or should not take place” (87 percent).
The bad news? For many parents, the talking stops there. The survey showed lower numbers of parents willing to go into the details of tougher subjects, such as birth control (only 60 percent say they’ve discussed it) and how to say no (only 74 percent). Over half of parents reported feeling “uncomfortable” or “somewhat comfortable” with any conversation on sex.
The poll, “Let’s Talk: Are Parents Tackling Crucial Conversations About Sex?”, emphasizes the importance of Let’s Talk Month, a Planned Parenthood initiative to get the conversation flowing. Kids whose parents have had open discussions about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer sexual partners, and are more likely to use contraception than those whose birds and bees talk – or lack thereof – more closely matches that stereotypical scene.
Over 90 percent of parents are confident in their ability to influence their kids’ sexual decisions – but if we want reality to match that number, it’s time to start talking. To learn more about how to communicate with your child or parent about sex and sexuality, click here.
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