Educating Young People About Sexuality

Father and son taking on a bench outdoors

We know that sex education in schools is often sadly lacking. Many focus on abstinence and the risk of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, but skimp on birth control, consent, and other complexities of a sexually active life. Parents aren’t much better. Dr. Dalmacio Dennis Flores III of the University of Pennsylvania took an interest in parent-child sex talks while working as an HIV/AIDS nurse, and discovered that “the talk” really hasn’t changed much over the decades.

Flores learned that parents think they communicate far more than they do, while their children think they communicate far less. He further realized that most families really only do the one talk, mostly about mechanics and staying out of trouble. He continues:

It’s not just about coitus or body parts. It’s about sexuality and how one expresses themselves physically. It’s also about relationships and knowing one’s boundaries. How, during puberty, an adolescent manages emotion—when you have your first crush, how to deal with that. It all falls under the umbrella of sex communication. Which is why this one-time idea is such a disservice.

Vice: Parents Still Suck at Talking to Their Kids About Sex.


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