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Talking to Your Kids About Sex

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Sex is an important part of being human. It involves more than the physical act of intercourse with another person. It affects how we feel about ourselves as males and females and impacts important choices we make as men and women.

What you think about sex may seem clear and straightforward. But when it comes to laying the groundwork to help your kids develop a healthy understanding of sex, having that conversation can feel overwhelming. When your child is in middle school (if not earlier), you’re bound to start getting questions, which they’re probably also discussing with their friends. And since they're going to be gathering information, it’s best that it's accurate and that it comes from you.

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By Liz Welch Anna is sitting in a New York café, sipping an English Breakfast tea. Dressed in patterned tights and a black sweaterdress, the 20-something Smith College grad has auburn curls and big brown eyes. Pretty? Yes. Sexy? Sure. Sex addict? No way. But she's currently being treated for sex addiction, seeing a therapist once a week and attending daily support groups, after an affair last year almost ruined her marriage and landed her in sex rehab. "I always knew I focused too much on...

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Why Should I Talk to My Kids About Sex?

The question should be, why shouldn’t you? Talking with your child about sex is important to help him or her develop healthy attitudes toward sex and to learn responsible sexual behavior. Openly discussing sex with your child will enable you to provide accurate information. What they learn elsewhere might not be true and might not reflect the personal and moral values and principles you want your children to follow. You need your preteen or teen to understand the possible consequences of being sexually active -- including pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and all of the emotional trappings that come with being part of a sexual relationship.

If I Talk to My Kids About Sex, Won't That Just Make Them Want to Do It?

It's important for children to understand sexual feelings and relationships before they become sexually active. Studies show that teens who have discussed sex with their parents are more likely to wait longer to begin having sex and more likely to use contraception when they do.

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