Let’s Talk (about sex) Month: Planned Parenthood encourages going beyond ‘where babies come from’


Original image by crdotx

Among other things, October is “Let’s Talk Month,” 31 days of sexual health organizations encouraging families to talk about sexuality and relationships.

And this year, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England wants parents to go beyond the basics of where babies come from, and talk about making healthy decisions. The organization also wants families to realize that these types of conversations shouldn’t be a one-time thing.

“Parents need to be direct and specific when discussing topics of sexuality with their children, and they need to start before they become sexually active,” Nicole Clegg, vice president of public policy said in a statement. “These conversations should be ongoing and reflect their child’s age. Pop culture, like television shows you both watch, can be a way to continually introduce these topics of sexuality into family discussions.”

According to a press release from Planned Parenthood, the New York University Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health surveyed parents and their 9-21-year-old children about how they communicate about sex. The so-called “Let’s Talk About Sex” survey showed that while many parents were talking about sexuality with their children, they weren’t talking often enough or using enough detail.

Some statistics from the study:

More than 20 percent of parents never talked with their teen about saying “no” or what types of birth control are available

The majority of parents (61 percent) reported wanting young people to wait to have sex until they are ready to handle the responsibilities that come from having a sexual relationship — far more than supported waiting until marriage (45 percent)

Among teens and young adults ages 15-21 who reported having vaginal sex, 91 percent of their parents knew, however only 40 percent knew their children were engaging in oral sex

Ultimately, researchers said it’s important for parents to ask clear, direct questions so they don’t have to guess at what they’re children are or aren’t doing. In doing so, families are better able to have discussions about what healthy relationships look like, what responsibilities come along with decided to be sexually active and where to find accurate sexual health information.

The “Tools for Parents” tab of the Planned Parenthood website offers several resources for parents looking to talk about specific issues, and offers guidance for talking about sex with children of all ages. The organization also offers interactive features for middle schoolers to talk about waiting to have sex, and for older teens, options for finding the right birth control, and preventing sexually transmitted diseases.

When did you have “the talk?” Is it an ongoing discussion in your house or was one time enough?



Natalie Feulner

About Natalie Feulner

Natalie Feulner is a journalist and “semi-crunchy” cloth diapering momma to a rambunctious toddler named after a county in California. She drinks too much tea and loves to climb rocks but not at the same time.