Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions to ask your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here. When it comes to having sex, adults often give teens the advice “wait until you’re ready”. But what does “ready” mean? So today's question is one you can ask the wonderful teenage kids in your life: "What do you think are good reasons to have sex?
More than a feeling Feelings of sexual arousal are one signal that our bodies are ready on a physical level to get down. Because most bodies produce an abundance of sex hormones during puberty, when teens do experience arousal, that turn-on can be really intense. But there’s more than just the physical to consider with sex, and most of us are looking for something beyond release when we choose to connect with someone else sexually. It can be really helpful when teens - or any of us - take time in cool light of day to think about what else they want from a sexual experience. When teens can pinpoint why they might have sex with a partner, what they value, what will make them feel good - not only physically, but emotionally and ethically - the easier it is for them identify whether or not a sexual situation is serving their needs and desires. What sex can and can’t do This may also be a is a good time to talk with your teen about the things sex can do for us. As I mentioned, sex can bring tremendous physical pleasure. With the right person, sex can be exciting and a great deal of fun! It can be active and adventurous or tender and gentle. Sex can be an expression of affection, care, love. It can be a way to build intimacy. It can make us feel confident, desirable and attractive. It can relieve physical tension in the body, help us sleep better...it can even get rid of headaches.
There are also things that sex doesn’t do, or it’s unlikely to do. Sex probably won’t solve emotional problems in your teen's relationship. There’s no guarantee that having sex with someone will make them love your teen. Sex won’t change anyone’s basic personality. It doesn’t make your teen less valuable as a human, nor does it make them more valuable.
Owning our values
Finally, this is a chance for you to talk about your own beliefs around partnered sex. Remember to own your values. Some values I’ll likely share with my own kid in a few years when they’re a teen are:
“I hope when you do have sex with someone, it’s someone you care about and respect.”
“I think it’s really important that you take care yourselves and each other, both physically and emotionally."
“It’s always been important for me to build trust before I have sex with someone.” A handy resource the folks of any age can use when trying to sort out their sexual “wants”, is a Yes/No/Maybe list. I have one you can download, here. You can also find other versions online.
See you tomorrow!