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Study: Nearly half of all parents wait too long to talk about sex

A year-and-a-half ago, on this blog, we talked about the right age to start talking about sex. The general consensus was the earlier the better, with the general concepts being OK to introduce in elementary school and more specifics about the consequences of sex in the tween years.

Now comes news that you all are ahead of the curve: a study in the journal Pediatrics found that nearly half of all parents end up waiting too long to have "the talk." By the time the topic of birth control and sexually transmitted diseases is broached, 40 percent of kids have already become sexually active. The study asked teens what they'd discussed with their parents and how sexually active they were. The researchers then checked back in on the kids at 3, 6 and 12 months. Though the study was small, it's possible that the kids and parents sampled actually understates the problem: all participants had signed up for a program on talking about sex, suggesting that the parents in the study were motivated to make sure that they were doing the right thing.

I've been on the receiving end of a few sex questions that certainly made me uncomfortable, and I will be the first to admit that the slower my daughters grow up, the better. But this is one of those cases where the consequences of not acting are high, with pregnancy being just the most visible. Half of all adults will been infected with the virus that causes genital warts (and cervical cancer) at some point in their lives, and about one in five adolescents and adults has herpes.

I don't want to jump into the firestorm of how communities should talk about these issues -- that's a discussion for another day -- but there's no doubt that families have to address the issues, and address them early, for kids to stay safe. I've touched on the idea of birth control already with my eldest, and it's certainly an issue that will come up with more specificity in the years to come. When it comes the conversation about contraception and STDs, when did you (or when are you planning to) broach the subject with your kids?

By Brian Reid |  December 8, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Safety , Teens , Tweens
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Comments


"When it comes the conversation about contraception and STDs, when did you (or when are you planning to) broach the subject with your kids?"

There seems to be a word missing from this sentence.

I've taken my kids with me for my OB/GYN appointments since they were infants, so the topics arose organically.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 7:21 AM | Report abuse

I've taken my kids with me for my OB/GYN appointments since they were infants, so the topics arose organically.


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 7:21 AM

Jezebel, this is an interesting strategy (I'm serious, not snarking). Do you have sons, daughters, or both? Do you approach these topics differently with one or the other (if you have both genders)?

Posted by: northgs | December 8, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse

I'd say right about the time the questions stop and your tween "has it all figured out" is when they need to start hearing just how wrong everything can go.

Watching tv with tweens helps broach most topics and is a good opportunitiy for a discussion if you don't back down or chicken out like me.

Posted by: crayolasunset | December 8, 2009 7:44 AM | Report abuse

I've taken my kids with me for my OB/GYN appointments since they were infants, so the topics arose organically.


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 7:21 AM

Jezebel, this is an interesting strategy (I'm serious, not snarking). Do you have sons, daughters, or both? Do you approach these topics differently with one or the other (if you have both genders)?

Posted by: northgs | December 8, 2009 7:41 AM | Report abuse


I have both genders and I didn't approach the topics differently with one or the other. The kids themselves asked why I was going to the doctor...

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 7:46 AM | Report abuse

"Though the study was small, it's possible that the kids and parents sampled actually understates the problem: all participants had signed up for a program on talking about sex, suggesting that the parents in the study were motivated to make sure that they were doing the right thing."

Alternatively, it could overstate the problem. Maybe it suggests that the parents in the study signed up in the first place because they had just found out their kids were having sex already (or were about to, or had the first serious boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.).

In general, though, I agree. We have dealt with the basic little-kid questions pretty factually. Now DD is circling back and trying to figure out more details, the emotional aspect, etc., and the plan is to address that the same way. But I've been WAY lucky -- so far, she has decided that my mom is the "safe" person to ask all the really uncomfortable questions to. :-)

Posted by: laura33 | December 8, 2009 8:19 AM | Report abuse

We've covered the mechanics (ages 7 and 9). They do know that women do different things to keep from having babies, but all this in the context of a marriage. We are just starting to address the idea that people have sex outside of marriage. We try to talk about it and answer questions about it just as we would any other topic - honestly but with information appropriate to their age. I would think we will get to the heavier stuff when they start middle school. I'm actually struggling more with the issue of sexual violence and how and when we explain to them that this act of love can also be an act of extreme violence. That's a whole other can of worms.

Posted by: moxiemom1 | December 8, 2009 8:42 AM | Report abuse

We went over the basics with the kids as they asked; probably initially at ages 6 through 8 or 9. They also got a lot of the mechanics in school health classes and in CCD classes from about second grade on. We tried to make sure to put it in context. When oldest DD told us that there were seventh-grade kids performing oral sex on one another on the school bus, we knew that we had to cover the bases at a young age.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

When oldest DD told us that there were seventh-grade kids performing oral sex on one another on the school bus, we knew that we had to cover the bases at a young age.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 9:02 AM | Report abuse

Seventh-grade kids go down on each other on the school bus? Who knew?


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 9:08 AM | Report abuse

Interesting comment "the slower my DAUGHTERS grow up, the better." I am presuming this means the author has no sons. The word "children" perhaps would have been a better choice. It stands to reason that if sons are growing up faster some of the daughters will, as well. While females physically (potentially) can show the results of sexual activity (i.e., get pregnant), the psychological impact of becoming active too early can affect either sex.

Posted by: VirginiaReader1 | December 8, 2009 9:23 AM | Report abuse

"Seventh-grade kids go down on each other on the school bus? Who knew?"

All the kids, apparently.

(When oldest DD was in 9th grade, there was an incident in her high school where a 9th grade girl was caught in the boys' bathroom with three older boys. She cried "rape" & the boys were arrested; it was in all the newspapers and on all the TV stations. DD and her friends were furious because they said that there was no way it was rape; that girl was one of the ones "servicing" boys on the bus since 7th grade and she'd apparently never been known to say "no." This girl was causing the school huge amounts of bad publicity, and the other students were pretty ticked off about it. It ultimately did come out that it was consensual; when they were caught the girl panicked because her boyfriend would find out and dump her so she cried "rape.")

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

At 4, my stepdaughter has asked questions about the differences between myself and her mother but we haven't gone beyond that.

At 7, my stepson seems little interested in sexuality except for his fixation on butts and bodily functions. Other than telling him that calling his sister yucky(ie her private body parts) or talking about poop at the dinner table is inappropriate I haven't had too much interaction with him in this manner. I would have thought he would be out of this phase by now. I have no idea what his parents have said or done with respect to sexuality.

Posted by: Billie_R | December 8, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Re "THE" talk, I think the point is waiting for a single, "appropriate" moment for a single, definitive talk appears a bad idea. Like many issues, numerous discussions that change (become more detailed) over time would seem to be a wiser approach. From children's books that teach the technically correct names for body parts, to the parent bringing the child of the appropriate sex to their doctor (GP or urologist for men, ObGyn for women), up to the most detailed discussion about contraception and the emotional aspects of sexual relationships, the parent who speaks to his/her child all along and asks the right questions (to determine where the child is along the developmental continuum) probably is the one who gets ahead of that 40% curve.

Posted by: VirginiaReader1 | December 8, 2009 9:37 AM | Report abuse


If you directly confront the embarrassment factor, there is no reason to have an "age limit" when talking about sex. There is no reason to talk in code language when young children ask "where did I come from".

That said, frank discussion human sexuality is a necessary step because the schools do a poor job of preparing girls for the psychology of sex and the curriculum police want to prescribe a rubber barrier as the solution to all problems associated with sexual activity.

Posted by: edbyronadams | December 8, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

I'm actually struggling more with the issue of sexual violence and how and when we explain to them that this act of love can also be an act of extreme violence. That's a whole other can of worms.

Posted by: moxiemom1

Maybe start with talking about Rhianna and Chris Brown and how it's good that she broke up with him etc...if your kids are old enough to be aware of these singers.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 9:42 AM | Report abuse

There aren't after school specials anymore, right? I remember my Mom watching some of those and explaining things to me when I was middle school aged. I got the birds and the bees talk when I came home from a friend's house who showed me her Mom's lingerie drawer and drew me pictures of what she thought sex was. I came home and asked my Mom about it and she said, "I have been waiting for you to ask." And she pulled out two kids books about sex and told me to go to my room to read them and ask her any questions. I will probably be more hands on than that someday but I suppose she got the job done. When my brother was a teenager, my father passed away and my Mom asked me to explain things to him. Luckily he said my Dad had already had "the talk" with him but I emphasized that even if a girl says she is on BC you have to use extra measures of protection, etc.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Geez, I've been talking with my kids about sex, money, politics, music, etc. since they were three days old and strapped into their rear-facing car seats. Mostly so I could accustom myself to speaking about these things with them, even if (okay, particularly when) they didn't understand a WORD that I was saying at the time. Later, it really helped when they asked some rather startling questions. I occasionally asked for some time (no more than a day) to gather my thoughts and get back to them. But I always did reply to their question within a day.

But then again, I'm the parent who would also take them to the doctor and tell them that the shot WOULD hurt, for a little bit; then prod on the spot with my fingernail to deaden the area before they got swabbed and injected. Kisses, band-aids, hugs and tell them that mumps would be worse. A lot worse.

My daughter has completed 2/3 of the HPV vaccination series. I do hope that when my son is older it's covered by my insurance. Otherwise, I'm paying for it out-of-pocket and he will receive it anyway.

Posted by: Skowronek | December 8, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

"DD and her friends were furious because they said that there was no way it was rape; that girl was one of the ones "servicing" boys on the bus since 7th grade and she'd apparently never been known to say "no."

Did DD and her friends report the oral sex when it first occurred?


"This girl was causing the school huge amounts of bad publicity, and the other students were pretty ticked off about it."

So what did the students do? Ninth graders can't figure out how to solve problems? Something is bogus about your story.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 10:01 AM | Report abuse

I am torn with how to teach my kids (someday) to delay having sex as long as possible with the fact that we are Catholics and I should be teaching them to wait until marriage, which I dont personally believe in. But if we send them to Catholic school (way too early to decide but we are considering) then how do I reconcile these beliefs? And also I am very much against abortion but how would if I had a teenager daughter and she told me she was pregnant?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I am torn with how to teach my kids (someday) to delay having sex as long as possible with the fact that we are Catholics and I should be teaching them to wait until marriage, which I dont personally believe in. But if we send them to Catholic school (way too early to decide but we are considering) then how do I reconcile these beliefs? And also I am very much against abortion but how would if I had a teenager daughter and she told me she was pregnant?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:07 AM | Report abuse


LOL! Isn't this the stuff you are DH are supposed to figure out BEFORE you get knocked up? YOU sound like a pregnant teenager.....

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Isn't this the stuff you are DH are supposed to figure out BEFORE you get knocked up? YOU sound like a pregnant teenager.....

Posted by: jezebel3

Sounds like most of you have kids and don't have everything figured out yet. I think it's good that I am already thinking through these issues.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:15 AM | Report abuse

"LOL! Isn't this the stuff you are DH are supposed to figure out BEFORE you get knocked up? YOU sound like a pregnant teenager....."

Now why would you expect sunflower to have thought about what to do with a pregnant teenaged daughter before she herself became pregnant with said daughter? Oh, intellectually it's easy to say "if this ever happens I'll do this" but that's pretty meaningless, don't you think? There are so many unknowns when thinking 15 or more years ahead that it's not much more than the type of philosophical discussion you have during an all-night drinking session with your college buddies.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

sunflower- For what it's worth, I was brought up in a very religious household and it was more stressed to wait until you are emotionally ready for any consequences that could occur then the whole waiting for marriage idea. You never talk about sex without the possible consequences, so thus they are equated together. Sex can make babies, sex can spread diseases. Nothing is 100% foolproof. Respect yourself and don't do anything you are not completely ready for. If you have doubts, you aren't ready.

I think my family just concerned themselves with getting me through high school, figuring that once I was out of there and over 18- at the very least, if something unexpected happened I'd have a high school diploma.

Posted by: kallieh | December 8, 2009 10:34 AM | Report abuse

"So what did the students do? Ninth graders can't figure out how to solve problems? Something is bogus about your story."

Nothing bogus about it at all. I was going to link to the four or five WaPo stories, but they're not available on the site any more. You'd have to pay to see them. But I'll give you some hints. It happened in 2004. And part of the controversy was because the girl was white; none of the three boys was white. With that much information I'm sure Google will let you find all of the gory details, if you want.

As far as "solving" the problem, the system did it for them. Even consensual sex on campus during the school day is prohibited; the four participants were scattered to other schools or tutored at home.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Now why would you expect sunflower to have thought about what to do with a pregnant teenaged daughter before she herself became pregnant with said daughter?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Aren't people supposed to be on the SAME PAGE about child rearing (and other stuff) BEFORE they get married?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 10:39 AM | Report abuse

sunflower: if your kids are in Catholic schools, or even in CCD, they're going to get the whole "family life" series of classes, which covers both the mechanics and the "respect yourself and your body" sides of it. You can supplement that education with your own personal views; e.g., "while the church teaches this, this is what your father and I believe and why we believe it."

Re: the pregnant teenaged daughter issue. The best advice is "if it happens, be prepared to sit down and consider all the options, and decide what is appropriate for your daughter given the particular circumstances." Having the baby and keeping it or you raising it might be an option if she's in her late teens. Adoption's an option. Be prepared to discuss abortion Yes, your religious views are part of that and will help guide your/her choice.

Also be aware that if you don't have a particularly good relationship with your daughter you may never know. A number of states - including Maryland - permit a teenaged girl to get an abortion without her parents ever knowing. Abortion and birth control are (I think) the only two medical procedures that can be performed on your underaged children without your knowledge or consent.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:44 AM | Report abuse

"Aren't people supposed to be on the SAME PAGE about child rearing (and other stuff) BEFORE they get married?"

Yeah, but there's a limit to that. Before we were married, DW and I never discussed what colleges our children would attend, or whether we wanted them to join the military, or what we would do if they became permanently incapacitated in a car accident at 18, or where they would be buried if they died before having their own family, or what kind of support we'd provide to our grandchild's college fund, or an infinite number of other things. You cover what's important and relevant to you then, and deal with the rest when it arises.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Aren't people supposed to be on the SAME PAGE about child rearing (and other stuff) BEFORE they get married?

Posted by: jezebel3

We are on the SAME PAGE but that doesn't mean we have discussed every single hypothetical situation that could ever happen and have decided what outcome we would want.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

As far as "solving" the problem, the system did it for them. Even consensual sex on campus during the school day is prohibited; the four participants were scattered to other schools or tutored at home.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

But your DD had been witnessing oral sex on the school bus since the 7th grade. Did she say anthing about it to an adult?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

sunflower- For what it's worth, I was brought up in a very religious household and it was more stressed to wait until you are emotionally ready for any consequences that could occur then the whole waiting for marriage idea. You never talk about sex without the possible consequences, so thus they are equated together. Sex can make babies, sex can spread diseases. Nothing is 100% foolproof. Respect yourself and don't do anything you are not completely ready for. If you have doubts, you aren't ready.

I think my family just concerned themselves with getting me through high school, figuring that once I was out of there and over 18- at the very least, if something unexpected happened I'd have a high school diploma.

Posted by: kallieh

Thank you.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

We are on the SAME PAGE but that doesn't mean we have discussed every single hypothetical situation that could ever happen and have decided what outcome we would want.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Religion and kids and sex education for kids haven't been discussed? How do you know you are on the same page?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

And also I am very much against abortion but how would if I had a teenager daughter and she told me she was pregnant?

Posted by: sunflower571

But isn't it great that we live in a country where you have the option to make the decision based on what's right for you. We aren't forced to one option only. That's the definition of pro-choice. Having the choice.

Posted by: r6345 | December 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

I'm not a parent. I'm a 48 year old woman who tutors 12 year old girls. These girls are talking about their boyfriends, asking and wondering about what it's like to be kissed, and trying to figure out sex. Since I tutor in Technology, these are not questions I can or should be answering.

On the opposite side, I remember the talk with my mother. I was eight; there was a long drive and she began just telling me all this stuff. My dad was driving and all I remember was trying to figure out if I could survive opening the car door and jumping out because I was that embarrassed.

Please make certain that if your child isn't ready, they can walk away. Give them the option about talking to one parent instead of both.

Posted by: Fabrisse | December 8, 2009 11:19 AM | Report abuse

One thing I hate about statistics.
"Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital HSV infection. Over the past decade, the percent of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has decreased."

Nationwide. But it doesn't mean that if I have sex with somebody, there's a 20% chance of getting infected. Certain areas, certain socio-economic groups have a higher rate while others have lower rates. It's a scare tactic and I hate it.

Posted by: r6345 | December 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse

you don't have to tell them anything..just let them read the safe school czar's books....just reading on another newspaper about fistgate....can't find that news here....

Posted by: lucygirl1 | December 8, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

One thing I hate about statistics.
"Nationwide, at least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or one out of five adolescents and adults, have had genital HSV infection. Over the past decade, the percent of Americans with genital herpes infection in the U.S. has decreased."

Nationwide. But it doesn't mean that if I have sex with somebody, there's a 20% chance of getting infected. Certain areas, certain socio-economic groups have a higher rate while others have lower rates. It's a scare tactic and I hate it.

Posted by: r6345 | December 8, 2009 11:23 AM | Report abuse


What's the rate for Tiger Woods?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse


What's the rate for Tiger Woods?

Posted by: jezebel3

Thinking kind of high

Posted by: r6345 | December 8, 2009 11:32 AM | Report abuse

"Religion and kids and sex education for kids haven't been discussed? How do you know you are on the same page?"

Religion? yes.
Kids? yes.
Sex education for kids? No. Before we were married that was in the "way out there; we'll worry about it later" pile. I mean, who even knew about the "Benziger Family Life series" versus the "Howard County Public Schools sex education curriculum" 12 years before it was remotely relevant?

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 11:35 AM | Report abuse

"But your DD had been witnessing oral sex on the school bus since the 7th grade. Did she say anthing about it to an adult?"

No. The bus driver was aware of it (or so the kids said, later) and did nothing. DD saw no reason to tell the principal or other adult at school - it was consensual; it didn't impact her; and she didn't particularly care about the 12 year olds involved. That was her judgment as a 12 year old, and I find it hard to argue with.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 11:38 AM | Report abuse

teach the kids before the perverts teach them...
do it before they turn your kids...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 8, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

"Nearly half of all parents wait too long to talk about sex…"

What a bunch of crap! Who's messed up judgement is this anyway. Oh yeah, some so-called expert.

The title may as well read, "Nearly half of all kids experiment with sex before they understand the emotional, spiritual, social and physiological ramifications…" And guess what? They will never know until they experiment. Sure, teaching teenagers that sex leads to pregnancy and possible transfer of STDs before they are capable of procreating is prudent, but the theory that the parental "talks" will prevent the teenager from the unwanted consequences of sex is bogus. The fact is that anybody involved in a pregnancy, or contracted a STD, knew that it was possible at the time of consent.

In other words, it's not ignorance of the subject that's causing the majority of unwanted pregnancies and spread of STDs. It's the risk taking behaviour, namely practiced by college aged students who are the very people that know better.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 8, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse


DwightCollins wrote: teach the kids before the perverts teach them...
do it before they turn your kids...
++++++++++++++++++++++
Again, you prove you are an ignorant pig. It is people like you that I worry about my children interacting with in any capacity, you narrow minded, bigoted twit.

Posted by: overed | December 8, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

In other words, it's not ignorance of the subject that's causing the majority of unwanted pregnancies and spread of STDs. It's the risk taking behaviour, namely practiced by college aged students who are the very people that know better.


Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 8, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse


Like your DD in college?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

teach the kids before the perverts teach them...
do it before they turn your kids...

Posted by: DwightCollins | December 8, 2009 11:40 AM | Report abuse

sounds like obamas safe school czar might be one of those..he wrights now in one of his books they have located...all about fisting.....what in the hell is this person being a safe school czar...whats coming of this country....big news on some news outlets...but not from the washington post....pathetic

Posted by: lucygirl1 | December 8, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

WhackyWeasel wrote: ....In other words, it's not ignorance of the subject that's causing the majority of unwanted pregnancies and spread of STDs. It's the risk taking behaviour, namely practiced by college aged students who are the very people that know better.
***********************
Did you not actually read the story? We're talking 7th graders - what 12-13 year olds? Do you think that they "know better" or recognize the potential consequences? I certainly don't nor would a lot of parents I know.

Posted by: overed | December 8, 2009 12:25 PM | Report abuse

So, how's the Puritan approach working out for you, America?

Oh, it's gotten you among the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world?

I wonder how the oh-so liberal Netherlands is doing. Well, surprise, surprise: the Netherlands has among the lowest teen pregnancy rate -- five times lower than the USA's. And they talk about sex all the time. How can that be?

Posted by: DupontJay | December 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse

So, how's the Puritan approach working out for you, America?

Oh, it's gotten you among the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the developed world?

I wonder how the oh-so liberal Netherlands is doing. Well, surprise, surprise: the Netherlands has among the lowest teen pregnancy rate -- five times lower than the USA's. And they talk about sex all the time. How can that be?

Posted by: DupontJay | December 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse


U must have an anger problem with USA dupontjay...read earlier you said our prison system was worse than Russia...after reading that I don't pay much attention to what you say...you were stupid earlier and a little worse now.

Posted by: lucygirl1 | December 8, 2009 12:39 PM | Report abuse

Well, there was the moment at my sister's house for T-day when younger son (12) and his favorite cousin, 16-y-o niece, were putting together a family in the Sims computer game. Don't remember the exact conversation, but my sister commented from the kitchen to her daughter that the Sims characters needed to use condoms. Younger son got mildly embarrassed by the word condom. So, we (sis and I) started talking really loudly about what condoms are for - and younger son got more embarrassed, until I simply repeated the word several times, and he asked me to stop saying it.

He and his older brother are a lot more comfortable having these kind of conversations with their dad, rather than with me, or their favorite aunt. It was kind of interesting, though, that simulating sexual behavior in a computer game wasn't too uncomfortable with a girl cousin.

Posted by: SueMc | December 8, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

I wonder how the oh-so liberal Netherlands is doing. Well, surprise, surprise: the Netherlands has among the lowest teen pregnancy rate -- five times lower than the USA's. And they talk about sex all the time. How can that be?

Posted by: DupontJay | December 8, 2009 12:26 PM | Report abuse


Fugly girls? More gays per capita?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

I'm actually less concerned about my daughter than I am about my son when it comes to teenage sex. Because women have a choice on whether or not to continue a pregnancy - at least there is some level of control. But if a girlfriend becomes pregnant, the boy has no say whatsoever. So I like to hammer it into my son's head that he needs to be responsible - and if he's too embarrassed to buy condoms at the store then maybe that's a sign that he's not ready for sex.

The poor kid is only 14 - but I've been nagging him about this since about the age of 11 or 12.

Posted by: GroovisMaximus61 | December 8, 2009 12:51 PM | Report abuse

We started talking when they were in diapers, giving body parts the proper name. SIL was very upset about this, we think kids should respect themselves enough to not refer to their wee-wees and boobies. Conversations adjust as the kids get older. I'm very thankful for the doctor who has always presented age-appropriate information to my kids that matches what we've told them -- back up from "authority".
I worry about my now-invincible teen age DSD who has serious impulse-control issues. If it's not the gospel according to her mother, it's a lie and she doesn't have to listen. From what I've seen she's about to get some poor guy in a world of trouble for underage sexual contact, somehow she got a taste of the power her hormones can have. Unfortunately, her mother holds fast to the belief that she always confides in her and tells HER the truth and she'd NEVER do anything like that. So if you believe that about your 13 year old, talk to her now. I've tried, I got too close to the truth, she stopped listening.

Posted by: StrollerMomma | December 8, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

We are on the SAME PAGE but that doesn't mean we have discussed every single hypothetical situation that could ever happen and have decided what outcome we would want.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 10:51 AM | Report abuse

Religion and kids and sex education for kids haven't been discussed? How do you know you are on the same page?
Posted by: jezebel3

I know we have similar values-same work ethic,family oriented, Catholics, same political views.
We have always known we would raise our children as Catholics-we are both Catholics-but I don't think it is necessary when I am pregnant to know if we are sending our children to Catholic school (though I am already researching schools both Catholic and secular). Also, I dont think it is necessary to decide at this point when to educate our kids about sex. My point is I want to respect the views of the Church but I don't personally believe you should wait until marriage to have sex. However, you have to teach your child to take sex seriously and realize it has consquences and to respect himself or herself. Regarding abortion, I believe it is morally wrong and also with so many methods of birth control available there is really no need to put yourself in the situation where you would have to contemplate having an abortion.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

"I know we have similar values-same work ethic,family oriented, Catholics, same political views."

Sounds like a lot of laughs.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

"with so many methods of birth control available there is really no need to put yourself in the situation where you would have to contemplate having an abortion."

You do realize that no form of contraception is 100% effective. Even prescription antibiotics can interfere with hormonal birth control and lower its efficacy, for example. A condom can slip, or not be applied soon enough; an IUD can fail too; diaphragms need to be fitted, and re-fitted on occasion.

I want more information on the superglue vasectomy and its success rate (both preventing pregnancy and being successfully reversed, later, if desired).

You talk with your children. A lot. From an early age. The most you can do is try to transmit YOUR values. But short of chaining yourself to an individual, you can't prevent them from making any mistakes at all while growing up. Whether that's financial, or having mean friends, or flunking a test, or having sex. You do the best you can, you hope for the best.

That's not the same thing as saying you should, or could, be their "best friend". Parents are not kids "best friends", nor should they be.

Good luck.

Posted by: Skowronek | December 8, 2009 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, true story from DH's far distant past. No agenda from me, other than something you might find interesting to think about.

1975, heart of the sexual revolution. A year after Roe v Wade was decided.

DH was 18, and his first *serious* girlfriend, also 18, got pregnant. He's pretty scared, having been an emacipated minor for about a year, and having no job skills. But he wants to do the right thing, so together they go to her parents and talk about getting married, having the baby, his getting a job (of some sort) and supporting his new family.

Her parents are appalled! He's a juvenile delinquent (raised in various state institutions and foster homes since he was 10) for goodness sakes, not good enough for their daughter.

The whole family is devout Catholics, so abortion was out of the question, or at least DH thought so. Then the girl's parents forced her to abort against her wishes. DH was completely horrified by the hypocracy. Girlfriend was traumatized but blamed DH not her parents. Ended the relationship.

Sometimes, DH still wonders about the child that was never born. S/he would be 33 or 34 now, and how would it all have turned out?

Posted by: SueMc | December 8, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

jezebel, at what point did you stop bringing your son(s) to the OB/GYN with you? I mentioned that to Mrs. AB and the thought of having her 16 year old son in the exam room watching the doctor do an internal exam was kind of uncomfortable for her.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Then the girl's parents forced her to abort against her wishes.

Posted by: SueMc | December 8, 2009 2:01 PM | Report abuse

How? Did they hold a gun to her head?

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

Sunflower, I'd rethink raising your kids Catholic if you don't buy into Catholic doctrine. My Mom is a "cafeteria Catholic" who would pick and choose which doctrinal laws to follow. This made it very difficult for me to take the entire religion seriously. I think teaching your kid it might be a good idea to wait until marriage is easy compared to squaring with the Church's teaching on birth control, the inability of women to have any authority within the church, homosexuality, etc. There is no such thing as "Cultural Catholicism" -- the doctrine/Papal law is kind of the whole point of the big C. You might consider becoming Episcopal or exploring some other Christian denomination that you can buy into before trying to force something on your kids that you don't even believe.

Posted by: kackidee | December 8, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

jezebel, at what point did you stop bringing your son(s) to the OB/GYN with you? I mentioned that to Mrs. AB and the thought of having her 16 year old son in the exam room watching the doctor do an internal exam was kind of uncomfortable for her.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 2:02 PM | Report abuse

Your wife is pretty stupid if she can't figure out that the kids didn't go into the exam room with me.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Who was watching your children when you were in the exam room?

Posted by: janedoe5 | December 8, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Who was watching your children when you were in the exam room?

Posted by: janedoe5 | December 8, 2009 2:23 PM | Report abuse


DH. I don't drive.

Posted by: jezebel3 | December 8, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

I think sunflower can still be a Catholic and not believe in everything the Church says as long as she is upfront about that stuff with the priest. Why not work to make the instution better from the inside rather than just abandon it for another religion. I think the only danger is being a hypocrite that says one thing at church and another thing at home-- but if you are true to your beliefs consistently, what is the problem?

Posted by: captiolhillmom | December 8, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

"I'm actually struggling more with the issue of sexual violence and how and when we explain to them that this act of love can also be an act of extreme violence. That's a whole other can of worms."

Moxiemom, not sure how much you've talked to them about strangers/abuse etc, but maybe that's a way? My son is five and we've tied the topic in to talking about his safety and his body - the whole idea that it's his body and nobody should touch his private parts and not keeping secrets etc etc. We used the book The Right Touch starting when he was much younger - it's probably too young for your kids - but it did open a discussion of why an adult would touch a child that way. I would think that could tie into other forms of sexual violence as he got older too.

Posted by: LizaBean | December 8, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

With a lot of religions, I don't think you have to buy into everything, but Catholism is a bit different. You're a Christian if you follow the teachings of Christ, but you're a Catholic if you follow the teachings and doctrine of the Pope. They are man-made rules that change every so often, and that's fine if you believe in them. But if you don't, just calling yourself a Catholic is hypocrisy. I could see it when I was a kid and it had a serious impact on the religious experience for me. In order to change the Catholic church from the inside, you need the ear of the Vatican, and that's especially hard to if your female and can't get into the hierarchy. There is no "Reform" and "Conservative" Catholicism, but since Martin Luther, there are other options. I just think it is worth exploring those options if you want to teach your children to respect their religion.

Posted by: kackidee | December 8, 2009 2:44 PM | Report abuse

"with so many methods of birth control available there is really no need to put yourself in the situation where you would have to contemplate having an abortion."

You do realize that no form of contraception is 100% effective. Even prescription antibiotics can interfere with hormonal birth control and lower its efficacy, for example. A condom can slip, or not be applied soon enough; an IUD can fail too; diaphragms need to be fitted, and re-fitted on occasion.
Skowronek

Short of rape, I don't think there is any reason for an adult to get pregnant today in the USA without wanting to be pregnant. You can double up on methods (no, I don't mean double condoms, I know that doesn't work-I mean don't just rely on one method. Until I was married I NEVER had sex without using multiple forms of protection. Having a child out of wedlock was simply not an option for me. I don't understand when adults say they "accidently" got pregnant. Like their actions had nothing to do with it.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I think sunflower can still be a Catholic and not believe in everything the Church says as long as she is upfront about that stuff with the priest. Why not work to make the instution better from the inside rather than just abandon it for another religion. I think the only danger is being a hypocrite that says one thing at church and another thing at home-- but if you are true to your beliefs consistently, what is the problem?

Posted by: captiolhillmom

I agree. Since the time I was in CCD I can remember openly disagreeing with my teachers about some of the Church's beliefs and no one suggested I change religions (in fact I still have some of my report cards that said it was good that I actually thought about the issues instead of blindly believing). Also, we had to regularly meet with our Priest before we got married and I was very open about some of the areas in which I disagree with the Church's official rulings and the Priest didn't suggest I not be a Catholic.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Correction: "if you're female." Sorry.

Posted by: kackidee | December 8, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Until I was married I NEVER had sex without using multiple forms of protection.
-and-
We have always known we would raise our children as Catholics-we are both Catholics
posted by: Sunflower571
---------------
Ummm...okay

Posted by: singensmth | December 8, 2009 2:59 PM | Report abuse

"You do realize that no form of contraception is 100% effective. Even prescription antibiotics can interfere with hormonal birth control and lower its efficacy, for example."

And watch out for OTC meds interacting with the pill, too. A friend didn't know the decongestants she was taking for a cold would block the pill's effects.

She and her husband decided together that she'd go ahead and have her tubes tied while she was under the anesthesia for the abortion. Since they didn't want kids, a permanent form of birth control made more sense for them.

(She'd thought she might want kids, later, and had been keeping her options open - until the unplanned conception made her realize what she really *didn't* want.)

Posted by: SueMc | December 8, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

jezebel - go back to your first posting of the day:

"I've taken my kids with me for my OB/GYN appointments since they were infants, so the topics arose organically."

What, exactly, was the point/benefit of taking them to the OB/GYN if they just stayed in the lobby with DH? How did questions arise organically/get answered? Why was this any different from taking them along to see your GP/the orthopedist/the optometrist?

In other words: you're not making sense.

Posted by: ArmyBrat1 | December 8, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

You do realize that no form of contraception is 100% effective. Even prescription antibiotics can interfere with hormonal birth control and lower its efficacy, for example."

And watch out for OTC meds interacting with the pill, too. A friend didn't know the decongestants she was taking for a cold would block the pill's effects.

Posted by: SueMc


Hence why you shouldn't just rely on BC meds and should use multiple options.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hence why you shouldn't just rely on BC meds and should use multiple options.


Posted by: sunflower571

definitely not a cheerleader (yesterday's topic)

Posted by: singensmth | December 8, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

sunflower571:

How many years have you been married? How many kids to date? To what age?

Posted by: Skowronek | December 8, 2009 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Hence why you shouldn't just rely on BC meds and should use multiple options.


Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 3:57 PM

Just want to mention that I also knew a woman who had four more children *after* having her tubes tied. Two singles, and then twins. Seemed her surgeon had cut the fallopian tubes, but failed to successfully close the cut ends. Whenever a determined ova got a chance, it found its way into those open tubes.
(Why she didn't have the surgery redone and the problem corrected after the first unplanned pregnancy ... ???)

So, it's still necessary to follow sunflower's rules - even after a vasectomy or tubal ligation.

Posted by: SueMc | December 8, 2009 4:19 PM | Report abuse

sunflower571:

How many years have you been married? How many kids to date? To what age?

Posted by: Skowronek

2.5 year, no kids yet, pregnant. Why?

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"Hence why you shouldn't just rely on BC meds and should use multiple options."

This doesn't address the women that are open to pregnancy, then when it happens, get abandoned by their boyfriends, and suddenly, the option of aborting seems much more appealing.

Hence, why you shouldn't ever have sex with any man unless he is fully committed to a lifelong relationship, married/unmarried/multiple forms of birth control or not.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel | December 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

sunflower571:

How many years have you been married? How many kids to date? To what age?

Posted by: Skowronek

2.5 year, no kids yet, pregnant. Why?

Your posts have a tone that led me to believe that you and your husband have the confidence of untested youth. Particularly regarding children.

I am torn with how to teach my kids (someday) to delay having sex as long as possible with the fact that we are Catholics and I should be teaching them to wait until marriage, which I dont personally believe in. But if we send them to Catholic school (way too early to decide but we are considering) then how do I reconcile these beliefs? And also I am very much against abortion but how would if I had a teenager daughter and she told me she was pregnant?

Until I was married I NEVER had sex without using multiple forms of protection.
-and-
We have always known we would raise our children as Catholics-we are both Catholics
posted by: Sunflower571

You will grow more accustomed to conflating dichotomies when you find yourself struggling with your child. They go through more and less difficult stages, and it can vary wildly between the children.

Posted by: Skowronek | December 8, 2009 4:33 PM | Report abuse

My comment today is to report that I went to the grocery store and the frozen foods section was fully stocked with Eggo products. I don't know how we got so lucky. I also had a coupon doubled for the first time in many, many years. It was an exciting day.

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 8, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Your posts have a tone that led me to believe that you and your husband have the confidence of untested youth. Particularly regarding children.


I am not overly confident. Hence why I am on here trying to learn.

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

This doesn't address the women that are open to pregnancy, then when it happens, get abandoned by their boyfriends, and suddenly, the option of aborting seems much more appealing.

Hence, why you shouldn't ever have sex with any man unless he is fully committed to a lifelong relationship, married/unmarried/multiple forms of birth control or not.

Posted by: WhackyWeasel

I don't think you should be open to having kids unless you are married, not ok if you are just dating. But that is another topic...time to eat dinner!

Posted by: sunflower571 | December 8, 2009 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Today’s coveted Poster of the Day award goes to ArmyBrat1 for his refusal to take the bait constantly offered by jezebel3. His blog decorum is to be admired. TheRealTruth anxiously awaits jezebel3’s inevitably snarky response as to why she believes taking her children to her OB/GYN appointments is beneficial.

Posted by: TheRealTruth | December 8, 2009 7:33 PM | Report abuse

Re: RealTruth
Ahhh, Jez already killed the magic by revealing that the kids don't go into the examine room during her OB/GYN appointments. I'm still waiting for my folks to talk to me about sex.

Posted by: KS100H | December 9, 2009 9:11 AM | Report abuse

Captiolhillmom says: “I think sunflower can still be a Catholic and not believe in everything the Church says…”
That’s sorta like sleeping around, having illegitimate children, but you can still call yourself a Virgin ‘cause you haven’t gone down with EVERY guy!

Posted by: snowbucks | December 9, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

I thought the RealTruth was Army Brat - lol!

Posted by: cheekymonkey | December 9, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I must beg to differ on the subject of how using multiple forms of birth control at once will be more effective...my husband and I were using two forms of birth control at the same time and still ended up with our younger daughter! After that, I got "spayed," as I called having my tubes tied. Great for laughs in the OR before I went under the anaesthesia!

As far as talking to my kids about sex, we've been up-front about the subject. When our older daughter asked what a condom was, I explained it to her in terms she'd understand, and when I had my tubes tied, I told her it was an operation to keep me from having any more babies because two kids were enough for us. When I was pregnant with our younger daughter, our older one accompanied me to the appointments with the midwife and was given jobs to do there to help, such as holding the Doppler on my stomach to hear the baby's heartbeat. She was even present at the birth and got the job of telling us whether the baby was a boy or a girl!

I do have one worry, though...the schools around here have a sex-ed curriculum that is more abstinence-based than anything else (and they wonder why our county has the fourth-highest teen pregnancy rate in the state!). I'm hoping they change things before my older daughter hits middle-school age, otherwise I'm gonna see if I can opt her out because they don't tell you ENOUGH information!

Posted by: dragondancer1814 | December 11, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

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