Q: What do I do if my child is already sexually active?
- First of all, don’t panic.
- Talk openly about the situation…and keep your cool. Your child needs to feel safe with you, not threatened.
- Make an appointment to get tested for STIs and offer to go them. More than likely they are very scared and knowing that you are with them may bring comfort instead of added stress.
- Encourage them to start over. We at FutureImpact call this a “Do-Over”. Some call it Secondary Virginity. Whatever the verbiage, encourage them that even though their virginity is gone they can start over with an abstinent lifestyle, if that’s their choice. Realize this may be difficult since they’ve already experienced sex. Help them reset their goals and review with them why they chose abstinence until marriage in the first place.
- Show unconditional love. Here’s the difference:
- Conditional love is based on performance and is often associated with training techniques that offer gifts, rewards, and privileges to children who behave or perform in desired ways.
- Unconditional love is a full love that accepts and affirms a child for who they are, not for what they do.
Q: How widespread are teenage sex and teen pregnancy?
1 Research indicates that over half of teens today are choosing abstinence. This means 54% have NEVER had sex. That’s good news! Teen pregnancy is decreasing over the last 10 years. However, STIs are still on the rise. This is because teens may be exercising risky behavior such as oral or anal sex in order to avoid vaginal sex.
Q: What are STIs?
STIs stands for Sexually Transmitted Infections. There are over 25 of these, some being life-threatening. Some are viral, where no medical cure exists, while other are bacterial and parasitic which are treatable but may cause irreversible damage that is not curable. SEE STI PAGE.
Q: What sexual behavior is common amongst teens?
Since teens realize the vaginal intercourse can lead to pregnancy, many are avoiding this activity and practicing oral or anal sex instead. Girls have admitted to doing oral sex in avoidance of vaginal intercourse. Whatever the reason, both oral and anal sex is considered risky behavior for STIs.
A study from Medical Institute showed the following percentages for common behavior amongst ‘undergraduates’:
- Penile-vaginal 45-48%
- Oral 68-77%
- Anal 20-26%
Q: What is ‘hooking-up’ and should I be concerned?
There are new terms out there in the teen world that may have different meaning for us, as parents, are accustomed to. Here is a brief explanation on a few:
- Hook-up – anything between kissing and having sex and it takes place outside the context of commitment. Sexual encounters between members of the opposite sex who typically do not know one another well. There is no commitment. It can happen between the same two people on one occasion or several.
- Booty Call – a person with whom you have agreed that when you’re looking for sex, you can just call on a moment’s notice. Both parties agree that there is no relational commitment
- Friend with benefits – When you call a person a friend, but still have little hook-ups with them (activity can range from holding hands to sex)
- Sleeping Partner – people who have no commitment, but decide to sleep with one another every once in awhile.
- Hanging out – This term is most often recognized as synonymous with dating. Hanging out can mean many things. Women can hang out with several different guys, going out with them or spending time with them among groups of friends.
- Boyfriend-Girlfriend – relationships that progress much more slowly. Each person agrees they will not see other people. The couple sees each other throughout the week, but are not together 24/7
Q: What are ‘ruphies’ and ‘ecstasy’?
These are drugs used for the purpose of attaining sex. Some are used as a date rape drug and others are used to enhance the sexual experience. Both are dangerous. Ruphies, for example, can be slipped in one’s drink. Because it dissolves quickly and is colorless, odorless and tasteless, the victim will have no knowledge that a ruphy was slipped into their drink.
Q: What is an appropriate age to begin talking about sex with my child?
Because children are experiencing puberty earlier and, thanks to our media culture, they are more than likely exposed to sexual imagery and vocabulary, it is not uncommon to begin the “sex talk” at an earlier age such as 9 or 10 years old. However, may I just caution you not to give too much information at a young age. You know your child best. Use your best judgment. Just make sure not to get lost in the details if your child asks a general question. General rule of thumb is when your child asks you a sexual question in nature, always pause and ask, “Why do you ask?” This will give you time to think and prepare along with knowing exactly why your child is asking.