How can I ask my parents about sex – or tell them I’m ready to have sex – without them having a heart attack?

27. October 2009


Here are some suggestions:

  • Look for talkable moments and take advantage of them. Discuss movies, TV shows, or song lyrics that have sexual themes with your parents. Sometimes it’s a lot easier to talk about sexual issues in general than it is to talk about your own personal sexuality. In this way, you can discover your parents’ values and feelings about sex. This may help you predict their reaction to a more personal conversation.
  • Try the direct approach – simply ask. But be ready for a strong response if your question is about you and your behavior. Let your parents express their feelings first before continuing the conversation. Try to put yourself in their shoes. Your parents want the very best for you, and when they consider the possibility that you may be having sex, they imagine the worst (someone hurting you, an unintended pregnancy interfering with your future, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS).
  • If you’re nervous about your topic, you may want to initiate a conversation in the car (when it’s just you and your parent). That way, your parent has to listen, and you don’t have to make eye contact.
  • Before you approach your parent, decide what you want to say and how you’ll say it. You may want to write ever\ything down and practice in front of a mirror or close friend. Pick a good time and place for your discussion. Telling your parents that you just started to have sex right after they’ve had an argument is not a good idea. Make sure that your parents have time to talk, are relaxed, and are feeling good about you. Your setting should be private and free from interruptions.
  • Treat your parents the way you would like to be treated. If you want to be listened to with respect and without interruption, be sure to show the same courtesy to them.
  • When they’re talking, use active listening skills such as giving them your full attention, maintaining eye contact, asking for clarification, reflecting their feelings, and summing up their basic ideas before responding to what they’ve said. Try not to interrupt.
  • Avoid behaviors that tend to block communication including threats, name-calling, judgments, labels, ridicule, and sarcasm.
  • If you really fear baring your soul, try the “my friend has this problem” approach or write your parent a letter.

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