Dating Smarts for Parents – Is My Teen Ready for Sex? Part 1—The Emotional Stuff (Mostly)
Take a deep breath.
Most teens have sex for the first time at about seventeen. Your teen needs time to think about what they want for themselves. Talking early with them about these issues will help them form clear values and boundaries. They will be more confident about their body and bedroom skills, ready for the consequences, and more likely to protect themselves.
When You Lose Your Virginity You Make A Memory
A good place to start is to mention that every sexually active person has a story about how they lost their virginity – this is a memory that will stick with your teen throughout their life. Your teen can learn a lot by reading a blog called The Virginity Project which has stories about how people lost their virginity. Ask them, as they read through the stories, to pay attention to the parts that feel right and the parts that don’t. Your teen will have plenty of opportunities to have sex, but only one first time.
Readiness For Sex Checklist
Share this list with your teen. One important thing: once they become sexually active, it’s hard to say “no.”
- Do my partner and I love one another equally?
- Am I making a planned, mutual decision?
- Do I understand how to give my partner pleasure?
- Am I feeling pressure or doing this for the wrong reason (to keep my partner for instance)?
- Can my partner and I talk about anything (STIs, birth control, pregnancy, abortion, adoption, future plans)?
- Will I feel guilty or have regrets (going to the doctor and/or telling parents and partner about an STI or pregnancy, if someone gossips)?
- Does this decision align with my spiritual beliefs?
Having sex with someone can change the relationship, making it deeper or more distant. Is your teen ready for this change?
Discuss how pressure should not be part of the equation for your teen or their partner. How does it feel to be pressured into something they don’t want to do? The first time should be a decision based on love and respect for each other. Sex should always be a zero pressure situation.
Not Ready? Here’s Some Help.
Talk with your teen about strategies to wait until they’re ready for sex. The more time they spend alone with their boyfriend/girlfriend, the more likely they are to have sex. Instead your teen can:
- Be confident in their decision to wait. Having sex is never a requirement in a relationship.
- Make a list of snappy come-backs: “If you loved me, then you wouldn’t be pressuring me!”
- Go on double dates in public places.
- Find non-physical ways to show you care.
- Do an activity together or with their families (volunteering, being active, a movie, cooking).
- Talk about their hopes and dreams for the future.
Make sure your teen knows emotions play a big part in the decision to have sex. Thinking about this ahead of time will help them feel really great about their choices around sex.