At Sundance Canyon Academy, we speak to many parents worried about their teen son’s sexual behavior. Most parents want to make sure that he has all of the information he needs, but they aren’t sure how to go about it. We are writing about sex education tips today to help parents start an open conversation with their sons about sex and the issues that they struggle with.
Now that your son is reaching his teenage years, it’s time to have “the talk.” Really, your kid probably already knows a good bit about sex. Kids today rarely reach puberty without knowing something about sex. However, what they know may or may not be accurate.
As the parent of a teen boy, it’s critical to teach him about responsible sex rather than assuming he’s getting the right information from his friends. Chances are, he’s getting all kinds of mixed messages about sex. What he’s hearing from friends, music, movies, and YouTube videos certainly doesn’t cover everything he needs to know about having safe, responsible sex.
Even if you hope your son isn’t sexually active, you still need to make sure he has the right information. Having open discussions about sex with your teen son will help him know what to expect as he starts dating and entering relationships. If he doesn’t come directly to you with questions, you need to make the first move to open the conversation.
Sex education tips
Here are some sex education tips for parents of teen boys. Remember, it’s best to think of teen sex education as an ongoing subject rather than a one-and-done experience. As your kid grows up, he’s bound to encounter new situations and have questions. It’s best that he feels comfortable coming to you for information.
If you’re uncomfortable using the real words for human anatomy, practice beforehand. You want to feel as natural as possible when you start having sex education conversations with your teen. If there are certain topics that make you uncomfortable, try talking about them out loud by yourself first. That might also feel awkward, but it will make the real conversations feel less forced.
If you want to bring up certain topics but don’t feel you have all of the information you need, read up on it first. Make sure that you’re going into the conversations with the right information. If you’re unsure about what sexual topics are popular among teens these days, check that out first.
Start the conversation
If it’s not a common topic in your household, starting a conversation about sex with your kid might feel awkward. That’s OK. It’s better to have awkward sex education conversations than none at all. Your kid is going to get his information somehow, so it’s better that it comes from you.
Pick the right time
For your first sex ed conversation, choose a non-threatening time. Teen boys tend to struggle with uncomfortable conversations if they feel like they are being attacked or like something is being demanded of them. Look for a day when they aren’t already stressed out or worried about big upcoming events.
It also tends to be easier for teen boys to have tough conversations while they’re engaged in another task. They don’t have to make eye contact, and the whole vibe of the conversation feels less intimidating. Try a neutral time like a car ride or while making dinner together.
Focus on respect
Teen boys need to know that sexual activity should always be mutually respectful. He should respect his partner, and they should respect him. Though the idea of sexual respect is gaining popularity among Gen Z, it’s not always communicated in the media. As his parent, it’s important for him to see that respect, even when it comes to sex, it still expected as a member of your family.
Teens can feel pressured to act in sexual ways when they don’t really want to or aren’t ready yet. Along with respecting his partner, he should also respect himself by saying “no” if he doesn’t want to do something. It’s important for him to understand and honor his own boundaries as well as others’.
Talk about safety
Don’t assume that your son actually knows how to prevent STDs or unwanted pregnancies. Sometimes teens get the right information about safe sex, and sometimes they miss out. Make sure he understands both the importance of safe sex and how to actually practice safe sex.
Listen to them
Don’t assume what they do or do not know. Give them space to ask questions and talk about how they feel. Teens today see a lot of sexual images from the time they are young, and they have conversations about sex with their peers. You might be surprised at what they already know and how they feel about sex.
Between movies, TV, and videos, they see plenty of sexual scenarios. With so much content to reference, they don’t always know what’s fake and would only happen in a movie vs. what’s real and should be expected in life. They might have some questions for you about things that they’ve seen or heard. Try to listen non judgmentally without jumping ahead to what you think they mean. If they do ask you a question, try to answer as truthfully as possible.
Remember: if you do all the talking, it’s a lecture. If you give them space to talk and you listen to what they say, it’s a conversation.
The Bottom Line
Treat sex education for your teen son like any other parental duty. Be respectful and informative without invading their privacy. Be open and honest without lecturing or being judgmental.