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October 01, 2021

Sex Ed Helps Teens Delay First Intercourse

The title of this post doesn't pull any punches. And that's deliberate. I want those search engines to pick up on "teens," "sex," and "intercourse" so as many parents (and teens) as possible will hear this important message:

Sex education greatly boosts the likelihood that teens will delay having intercourse. That's the word from a study of 2,019 teenagers, ages 15 to 19 years, by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teenage boys who received sex education in school were 71 percent less likely — and similarly educated teen girls were 59 percent less likely — to have sexual intercourse before age 15.

The boys were more than twice as likely to use birth control the first time they had intercourse if they had been in sex-education classes in school.

“Sex education seems to be working,” says study lead author Trisha Mueller, an epidemiologiMountain Dew Baja Blast - Pepsi-Cola bought th...st with the CDC. “It seems to be especially effective for populations that are usually at high risk.”

Sex education remains important because kids still harbor “mythology” about sex, says Claire Brindis, interim director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California at San Francisco. “Some still believe you can’t get pregnant if you’re standing up or doing it for the first time or if your boyfriend is drinking a lot of Mountain Dew."

“A lot of sex education is about the plumbing — teaching them about anatomy and physiology, what a condom looks like,” Brindis says. “What they really need help on is: ‘I’m in the back seat or I’m at a party, and there aren’t adults around and there’s pressure to do more than make out.’ They need help with ‘What do I do in that setting?’”

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I completely agree. I was very open about sex, body changes, and hormonal desires with my son from a young age, and I began providing condoms for him when he was 13. I told him I wasn't encouraging him to run out and have sex; he should think of condoms like an umbrella--nice to have in case it starts raining. When he turned 15, I suggested he practice putting one on to make sure he could do it properly when the time came. He told me he had already practiced and it took him three tries to do it without breaking it. His first sexual intercourse was with a girlfriend he had for a year; they were both virgins and he used a condom--he was 17. He's now almost 20 and he's still a "safety" guy. In my opinion, open communication is key, and responsible parents raise responsible kids. Ignorance is not bliss--ask Gov. Palin.

I'm not going to out my 'no longer a virgin' date but I will say that we didn't have early sex ed - we learned from teen 80's movies. And it wasn't pretty. This is a great post and I love Annette's comment.

I like the point about giving kids the skills to negotiate the back seats. Very wise idea!

kristen @ www.thefamilythatreadstogether.blogspot.com

Annette, Julie and Kristen, thanks for the thoughtful comments. This is a challenging situation, and it sure isn't easy to talk with our kids about this stuff, especially when it comes down to how to handle specific situations. But we have to be willing to get out of our comfort zone and keep that communication flowing. Thanks again.

Kathy, it's not easy, but it is imperative--especially with the risk of incurable and deadly STDs and teen pregnancy. Many parents seems to think like their parents instead of remembering what it was like when they were that age. One of the things I did with my son is also talk to him about the emotions associated with having sex and how it's an intimate act for a girl to "invite" a boy inside of her body.

I also talked to him about how a girl may think she has to have sex for him to like her and that he should never exploit that insecurity; he should respect every girl and her emotions, and always be completely forthright with his feelings about the relationship.

And, I'm very proud to say that my son is very discriminate about the girls he dates and will often date them for several months before deciding whether he wants to be in an intimate relationship with them or not. Which, funny as it may seem, certainly has baffled a few girls who didn't make the cut. He'll be 20 in December and has had three "serious" girlfriends in the last four years since he became sexually active.

Basically, I'm making sure I raise the kind of guy I would have wanted to date at that age. And I think it will make him a great catch of a man! =)

I agree, Annette. It's so important to teach respect. And it goes both ways, for boys AND girls.

I'm all for being as open as possible about sex when it comes to kids.

Not having children myself I thought I'd never have to deal with this. But I'm now pretty convinced that we're going to be the aunt and uncle that kids turn to when they can't talk to their parents. And I'm willing to take that seriously. I'm also hoping that I can remember how all of my surreptitious reading in libraries informed me of all the thins my mother wasn't comfortable talking about. And having an uncle die of AIDS when I was 15 certainly had an effect on me and caused me to better navigate and understand the risks of those hormone-riddled moments. And thanks to Veronica for pointing this post out to me.

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