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Teens and sex: Protecting your teen’s sexual health

Teens and sex: Protecting your teen’s sexual health

Teens and sex could be a risky combination. See how to speak to your teen about abstinence and contraception.

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Few parents desire to believe their teens are experiencing sex. But research implies that nearly 40% of teens are sexually active by senior high school. Help your child build the abilities to safeguard against unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) by discussing safe sex and contraceptive early and frequently.

Discuss safe sex and healthy relationships even though your child identifies as gender-fluid or LGBTQ. Teens of any gender identity or sexual orientation may still take part in sexual contact. So there’s still threat of unplanned pregnancy and STIs.

Strategies for talking to your child

The method that you speak to your teen and how often makes an impact in helping your child make healthy choices with regards to sex. Remember, your teen’s fascination with sex is really a natural and healthy section of development. It is possible to help your child build healthy skills because they grow up.

  • Talk early and frequently A one-time “birds and the bees” talk isn’t enough. Start speaking with your child about safe sex through the pre-teen years. Continue the talk through early adulthood. Change the speak to your teen’s age and growth.
  • Avoid judgement and lectures Studies discover that punishing language and attitudes can encourage rebellious, risk-taking behavior.
  • Concentrate on well-being The teen years are referred to as a period of risk-taking. But they’re also enough time when healthy self-care behaviors start. Besides discussing risks, model and express the worthiness of healthy relationships and choices.

Promoting abstinence

It’s never too late to speak about abstinence together with your teen. When sex happens early, the opportunity of pregnancy and repeated STIs is high.

Ask your child to take into account personal values and hopes for future years. And consider how sex might affect those plans. Tell your child that:

  • Teens and sex could be a risky combination
  • There are various nonsexual ways they are able to share romantic feelings with someone
  • The only real sure solution to prevent teen pregnancy and STIs, such as for example chlamydia, gonorrhea, human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes and HIV, would be to avoid sex oral, vaginal and anal

Promote abstinence. Nonetheless it should be section of a more substantial discussion on sexual health insurance and protection. Research has discovered that abstinence-only education doesn’t lower rates of teen pregnancy or STIs. When abstinence alone may be the focus, teens often turn to the media or friends for sex-related values and information.

Discussing contraceptive choices

Understanding contraceptive methods can be an important life skill for everybody. Whether your child decides to possess sex or even to wait, ensure that your teen knows preventing pregnancy and drive back STIs.

Condoms

Stress the significance of always using condoms during intercourse, even if your child runs on the second type of contraception.

  • Regular and correct usage of condoms may be the best approach for sexually active teens to safeguard themselves from STIs.
  • Condoms assist in preventing pregnancy.

Prescription contraceptive

Many types of prescription contraceptive might help prevent teen pregnancy. Long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs) will be the most reliable at preventing pregnancy as reported by the planet Health Organization, CDC and American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Included in these are intrauterine devices (IUDs) and contraceptive implants. LARCs are safe for teens and need little thought after placement.

Prescription contraceptive choices that assist in preventing teen pregnancy include:

  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs) (Mirena, Skyla, Paragard)
  • A contraceptive implant (Nexplanon)
  • Combination contraceptive pills
  • The contraceptive patch (Xulane)
  • The vaginal ring (NuvaRing)
  • The contraceptive injection (Depo-Provera)

Your child will have to visit a doctor to obtain a prescription for these kinds of contraceptives. Before scheduling the appointment, ask if your child would be convenient with a provider of a particular gender.

Tell your child that the provider may:

  • Review health background
  • Discuss the risks and great things about various kinds of contraceptive

A pelvic exam is essential if your child chooses an IUD.

Help your child recognize that prescription contraceptive isn’t a alternative to condoms. Prescription contraceptive aids in preventing pregnancy. Nonetheless it doesn’t drive back STIs.

Emergency contraceptive

Tell your child that it’s vital that you decide about contraceptive before sex. But emergency contraception like the morning-after pill levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, DO SOMETHING), ulipristal (ella) or IUDs might help prevent pregnancy if your child doesn’t plan ahead or contraceptive fails.

  • Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose and DO SOMETHING can be purchased over-the-counter with out a prescription.
  • Ella can only just be prescribed by your medical provider.
  • IUDs can be found with a prescription and should be placed by way of a doctor.

Emergency contraceptive should be started as quickly as possible after unprotected intercourse. The earlier pills are taken, the much more likely they’re to work. But both pills and IUD could be taken or placed around five days (120 hours) after unprotected intercourse.

Natural family planning

If you are concerned about the medial side ramifications of prescription contraceptive, or if using contraceptive goes against your loved ones values, speak to your teen about natural family planning. This implies devoid of sex throughout a woman’s most fertile days. But knowing signs of fertility is hard. Irregular menstrual cycles, breastfeeding and much more can make nowadays hard to predict.

Remember:

  • Natural family planning methods aren’t as effectual as prescription contraceptive and don’t drive back STIs.
  • Effective usage of natural family planning methods needs mindfulness and planning. Teen sex is frequently unplanned.
  • Teen girls’ menstrual cycles could be irregular. This helps it be hard to learn signs of fertility.
  • Natural family planning requires a supportive partner.

Avoid being afraid that speaking with your child about contraceptive will encourage sex. Your child is likely interested in sex and contraception, even though you don’t talk about the topic. When you are open and honest, it is possible to help your child make informed decisions and act more responsibly when sex happens be it now or years later on.

If you are having trouble speaking with your child about safe sex, ask a therapist, teacher or your teen’s doctor for help. You can find many resources on the best way to speak to your teen and accurately answer questions about sexual health insurance and contraceptive.

Encouraging responsible behavior

Teens may lack the maturity to utilize some forms of contraceptive effectively. If your child is considering using prescription contraceptive, tell your child the next to encourage the very best decision:

  • Frequency useful and convenience. For example, combination contraceptive pills should be taken simultaneously each day. NuvaRing, on the other hand, is worn for three weeks at the same time but still can be used in accordance with directions.
  • Tracking healthcare appointments and contraceptive use. Tell your child the significance of monitoring healthcare appointments. Discuss how taking contraceptive doses may become section of an everyday routine such as for example prior to going to bed or when brushing teeth.
  • Missed doses. Ensure that your teen understands how to proceed in case a dose is missed or if there is a potential for pregnancy.

If your child is considering becoming sexually active, give practical tips such as for example keeping condoms in a wallet or purse. Tell your child that usage of alcohol along with other drugs may affect judgment and raise the risk of obtaining a STI.

Underneath line

Discussing sex and contraception together with your teen isn’t easy. However your guidance can encourage informed choices to safeguard your teen’s sexual health.

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Aug. 30, 2022

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