Parents Talk To Kids About Sex, But Not Birth Control

Illustration for article titled Parents Talk To Kids About Sex, But Not Birth Control

A new poll shows parents may be talking to their kids about sex in general — but when it comes to the details, they're falling short.

According to the poll, commissioned by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino and Adolescent Family Health, 92% of parents talk to their kids about relationships, and 87% share "their own values about when sex should or should not take place." However, just 74% talk to their kids about how to say no if sex should not in fact take place. And while 94% think they're influential in their children's birth control decisions, only 60% actually talk to their kids about birth control. Unless they're leaving a pack of condoms within easy reach (and more power to them if they are!), their non-verbal influence may not have much effect. Says Leslie Kantor of Planned Parenthood,

Contrary to common stereotypes, most mothers and fathers are talking to their kids about sexuality and sexual health. However, the survey shows that some parents are still uncomfortable talking about harder topics, such as birth control and how to say no, and can use help having these conversations.


These findings shouldn't be shocking to anyone who has kids — or who had parents. It's a lot easier to blurt out "don't have sex, okay?" and have done with it than to actually discuss what kids should do to prevent pregnancy and STDs. It's not all parents' fault — it's gross when Mom and Dad try to talk to you about sex-things, and it's grosser the more specific they get. One solution is for parents to just suck it up and have The Talk, with details. But schools can also help. As every teenager knows, sex ed is when you crack up because your teacher said "testes." But it's also when you learn things, things that might be easier to hear from someone who didn't give birth to you. Parents know this, which is why 90% of them, according to the poll, think high-schoolers should get comprehensive sex ed that teaches about both abstinence and birth control. Unfortunately, only 10 states and DC currently teach kids about preventing pregnancy as part of sex ed. It's time for the rest of the states to step up.

New Poll: Parents Are Talking With Their Kids About Sex But Often Not Tackling Harder Issues [Planned Parenthood]

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I guess that I got the best of both worlds. My mother is a nurse and my dad was the pastor of our church. My mom told me all about my body and sex from the moment I learned to read. I remember she used to put me on a stool in the kitchen while she cooked dinner and made me read all kinds of books, especially on anatomy. She would answer any questions that I had. I was a rather nosy child so one day while my folks were out, I found their condom stash and tried to chew one because I thought that it was gum. They found the empty wrapper in the trash and thought it time to explain to me the birds the bees and the rubbers.

My dad didn't really go in depth until I was sixteen. I had never had a boyfriend and so he decided to say to me in the middle of Jeopardy "It's ok if you are gay, I will always love you." Nice ice breaker huh? I'm not gay but it was good to know. I had chosen to save myself for marriage (I lasted until I was twenty two) and wanted to know what his feelings were and what the bible said. He of course told me that it was a good idea but not to be naive enough to think that I was strong enough at all times to not protect myself just in case. He then showed me what the bible said. I think that after out little talk he went into his bedroom and had an aneurysm.

I look back on this stuff and am so proud of my parents, my father in particular. He was very shy about talking about sex but he was very frank with me and I love him for it.