Connie Matthiessen June 24, My daughter will be heading off to college next year. As her departure draws near, things I want to tell her — the topics range from laundry to driving to inspirational mantras — pop into my head at all hours. Perform random acts of kindness! If you can dream it, you can do it! Life is not a dress rehearsal! Have I told her everything she needs to know to enjoy healthy sexual relationships and be safe?
And what, exactly, does she need to know? In fact, I got a close-up look at these issues when I edited The Hunting Groundthe companion book to the award-winning CNN documentary that explores sexual violence on college campuses. Of course, rape is a violent crime, completely different but unfortunately not completely separate from the complex modern world of sex and romance.
Without knowing what our teens are going to encounter once they are away from home, what do we need to tell our kids about sex and relationships so that they learn to have healthy, satisfying experiences and keep themselves and their partners safe?
To find out, I turned to the experts: Talking to your child about sex, hookups, relationships, and consent is not just one conversation. Experts recommend that parents talk openly with their teens about these topics on an ongoing basis.
As your child matures, so should the conversations. Sex is everywhere in American culture, yet many of us find it a difficult topic to broach.
And most teens are even less eager to have these discussions than we are. But experts say that having these conversations is an essential parenting responsibility. Deborah Roffmanauthor of Talk to Me First: Most sex ed classes convey a similar message, says Roffman. As a parent, I would have thought so, too, before I started exploring the subject.
In her research, Orenstein found that this emphasis on the risks of sex has contributed to a woeful ignorance about sex and intimacy among teens.
In fact, he thinks that many disturbing behaviors, like alcohol-fueled hookups, porn addiction, and sexual assault, result from this lack of honest, open communication about sex between young people and the adults in Adults hookup are we gonna do this or not video card lives. In his book, Vernacchio encourages parents to create a values framework around relationships and sex. They should also talk about respect, self-respect, reciprocity, authenticity, honesty, empathy — these are values you have likely been teaching your children their whole lives, and they are relevant to healthy sexual relationships, too.
Parents model and convey lessons on reciprocity, respect, and other values in everyday life. You can also help your child identify these qualities or lack of them in interactions you observe around you.
What do you think about that? As a parent, there are things I need you to know. But they hear it. Vernacchio never liked this model for sex. Instead, Vernacchio points out, the pizza model is about asking questions: Today, most colleges have workshops often mandatory on sex and consent during college orientation. Consent simply means that both individuals involved in a sexual encounter must agree to it, and either person may decide — at any time — that they no longer consent, and that they wish to stop the sexual activity.
How you help your teen prepare for specific situations may depend on his or her gender, since girls are more likely to be the target of sexual aggression and boys to be the aggressor.
Discuss possible situations, and how to handle them. Discussing possible scenarios and strategies will help your teen plan ahead and be prepared if difficult situations come up. Preparing in advance is a skill many young people apply to academics but not to real life, according to high school sex educator Charis Denison. Orenstein cites findings by the Online College Social Life Survey, which concludes that 20 percent of college students hook up ten times or more by senior year; 40 percent hook up three times or fewer, and only one third of hookups include intercourse.
Widespread or not, hooking up is a subject parents should talk about with their teens. Most adults understand how difficult it is to separate sex and feelings, and most would agree that sex is far better in the context of a loving relationship.
Whether or not teens have hooked up themselves, you can be sure they know kids who have. Ask them what they think about sexual encounters with no emotional involvement, and how they feel about hooking up versus being in a relationship.
Discussing these issues will help your teen reflect on his own values, and what he wants from the relationships in his life. Fortified by my research, I offer to drive my daughter to school one morning. As we slowly negotiate the morning traffic, I decide to just start talking. I tell her there are a few things about sex and relationships that I want her to know. I launch into my talk, and she puts one earbud in her ear, but lets the other dangle loose.
Still, I feel good about it. I created an opening, and it will be easier next time.
These books and websites are great resources for sparking discussion. Or browse and share with your teen any of the books and websites listed below. How to talk to your teen about their reach school. Please enter a valid email address. Thank you for signing up! Please try again later. Sorry for the inconvenience. Talking to teens about sex, intimacy, and consent in the hookup culture What your teens need to know — whether they want to hear it or not.