Are you worried that talking to your teenager about sex is giving them permission to have sex?

Talking to teengers about sex is essential to give them the tools they need to have a healthy and safe experience. Avoiding the conversations about sex will not prohibit them from having sex. In fact it means they begin exploring sex from an uninformed and unsafe position. We are setting them up to fail.

Education around the topic of sex needs to be more than disease prevention, contraception and consent. These are essential topics.

Honouring and respecting their own bodies, knowing how to have uncomfortable conversations about sex, knowing when their body is a yes or no towards a person or experience, and the emotional effects of a sexual relationship are some of the conversations that will make a difference to their explorations and their future wellbeing in relationships.

Conversations about sex will encourage them to think and reflect more deeply about the choices they are making and will create educated, confident and self-aware teenagers about to embark on their sexual journey.

When a teenager understands more of the emotional impact and deeper responsibilities involved in a sexual relationship, they will be equipped to make more appropriate choices.

One of the things I see missing is conversations about the healthy aspects of a sexual relationship, conversations about what a loving and respectful intimate relationship looks and feels like.

For our teenagers it’s essential for them to know that something more is possible than what they see via the internet, TV shows, books and movies, or what they are seeing in the relationships around them.

Keeping the focus on fear, limitation and protection, builds hypervigilance, contraction and disconnection in the body. And fails to educate and empower teenagers with the capacity to make choices. Being able to choose is being empowered.

We can begin building  pathways so that teenagers can see what is possible in a healthy loving and intimate relationship.

A teenager who sees her parents in a healthy relationship, where there is love, respect and healthy sexual intimacy, will have healthy role-models for her future relationships. Her body will carry the knowledge of what it is like when two people meet in a place of truly seeing, feeling and loving each other. This will support her to create this type of relationship.

A teenager who witnesses her parents in an unhealthy relationship, where there are put-downs, disrespect, disregard of each others feelings, and resentment around sex, will carry that particular experience of relationship forward.

This teenager may struggle to form a relationship, she may struggle to be herself when around boys or she may play out the unexpressed and unresolved feelings from her family by creating her own challenging relationships.

I see a lot of disrespect, disconnection and resentment in relationships. The full potential of sexuality for growth, healing and transformation is not well understood or embodied in our society.

I feel myself, just now at 48, truly embodying the potential of a loving relationship where I feel safe, able to express myself, and enjoying a deep and fulfilling sexual union, that nourishes and supports me in all areas of life.

Let’s create more discussions about healthy sexuality and healthy relationships so that all of us - adults and teenagers - can know what is possible!!

If you would like your teenage daughter to learn more about this, our upcoming event: Exploring Sexuality for Teen Girls is a great opportunity.

If you would like your teenage son to learn more about this, email: connections@martinahughes.com to let us know.