They neither learn it on their own nor are they taught it at school, at least not in all cases. Sex education is a task for educators but, above all, for parents. Although it may seem difficult to us or it may make us feel shy, the truth is that it seems to be proven that adolescents who receive information from their parents live their sexuality in a more mature way.
With the awakening of sexuality a series of specific questions related to this new reality arise. The most frequent have to do with masturbation and everything related to intercourse and orgasm. The problem is that these doubts are not always asked to parents and the answers are taken from multiple sources, sometimes little contrasted.
All experts agree that it is not good for parents to avoid talking about sexuality with their teenagers. Erotophobic attitudes (rejection of sexual impulses) will be counterproductive, especially if we take into account that our society instrumentalizes sex for very different purposes, almost always commercial. The clash between what they receive in their family and what they find in society can be so strong that it confuses them enormously.
Who are they talking to?
Most teenagers are informed, but the sources they use are often not the most appropriate. In general, their main “sexual encyclopaedia” is the internet and, despite what it might seem, girls talk much more about sex than boys and, according to surveys, they are better informed than boys.
The information given to them by parents or educators does not “go in one ear and out the other”; quite the opposite. It has been shown that adolescents who have received sex education tend to delay the onset of sex for 6 to 12 months, and when they do initiate sex, they do so more responsibly.
Talking to them prevents them from living their sexuality with anxiety or with the idea that everything related to sex is potentially dangerous.
Sex education should be age-appropriate from infancy. It is a common misconception that only adolescents need it. At each stage of development the issues to be addressed will be different. While they are children they will focus on aspects related to the origin of babies; in puberty, with body changes and in adolescence with feelings, contraceptive methods or sexual health.
Experts agree that what teenagers are most interested in is to know the parents’ point of view, not so much a series of purely technical questions that, perhaps, many adults would not know how to answer. They need to know what the limits are, what we think or what our experience has been. However, we must be clear that the intimacy of the parents as a couple belongs exclusively to them and there is no reason to tell everything. You can always share general aspects of the relationship.
In general, naturalness and “parental instinct” should dominate. That is, it may not be wise to sit a 16-year-old on the couch and force him or her to listen to a talk about sex. Maybe the conversation will come up spontaneously, or with facts rather than words. For example, if you suspect that your son is dating a girl, perhaps a good way to start the conversation is to provide him with a box of condoms.
The important thing is to put sexuality in its proper place:
- It should not be trivialized or trivialized.
- It is important to include it within the general context of affectivity and personal relationships.
- It should not be reduced to a mere biological context or to a simple enumeration of contraceptive methods; this would be too much of a division of a much broader reality.
Adolescents are very curious about the physical sensations and characteristics of intercourse. It is important to inform them that girls do not usually have an orgasm during first intercourse and that it is probably easier for them to have an orgasm during masturbation than during intercourse. It is also very common that the orgasm of the couple is not simultaneous.
Various problems often arise during the first experiences:
- Premature ejaculation, as the most nervous boys may ejaculate within seconds of intercourse starting.
- Girls may have problems becoming sexually aroused, which can make sex uncomfortable or even painful because they don’t get enough vaginal discharge.
All these concerns are often suffered in silence. Talking to parents and, in the case of a more serious problem, to a health professional, is usually enough to put an end to all these problems.