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    Teen Dating: A Mom's Guide

    Kids think oral sex isn't a big deal

    Teen pregnancy numbers are down, and so is the number of kids who are having intercourse. But that doesn't mean kids aren't sexually active: Studies have found that some 50 percent of teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex. "I have an 11-year-old middle schooler who came home saying that a boy wanted her to have oral sex with him in the parking lot," says Tonja Krautter, a psychologist in Los Gatos, California, who works with adolescents. "A lot of kids have this idea that it's no big deal." Kids who think this may be missing crucial messages about sexually transmitted diseases and self-esteem.

    Talk to your kids about the seriousness of any sexual contact. Still, in all likelihood, they won't want to hear the particulars from you. In fact, a recent survey showed that most kids are getting their sex info from the Internet. So make sure they're getting their facts from a reputable source such as teenhealthfx.com. "There are very few accurate, direct, honest resources for adolescents to get their personal questions answered on sexuality matters," says Walter Rosenfeld, M.D., interim chairman for Goryeb Children's Hospital at Morristown Memorial, which supports the site. "Parents should offer guidance to their teenagers, but they should recognize there's a limit to how much the kids will listen." Dr. Rosenfeld also recommends sexetc.org (from Rutgers University), www.ashastd.org (from the American Social Health Association, for information about sexually transmitted diseases), and youngwomenshealth.org (from Children's Hospital Boston, for girls).

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