Teenagers and Sex
Dear Amber: At what age do teens first have sex?
Amber: Honestly, it really varies. I can tell you this though, if you’re the parent of a teen, sex is something that’s on his or her mind. Even if your child isn’t doing it, he or she is thinking about it, making jokes about it, and hearing friends talk about it. That means it’s time for you to start discussing it with them too. The best time to talk with your kids about sex is BEFORE they actually start doing it; don’t wait for a certain age when you think they may start having sex and initiate a conversation then.
When you talk with your kids, it’s best not to dwell on a certain age when “sex is OK.” That being said, studies show that teens who have sex before the age of 16 are significantly more likely to regret their decision and feel like they weren’t actually ready.
Encourage your children not to have sex until they feel prepared emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Make sure they decide to have sex because it is something THEY want to do, not because they want to please their partner or impress their friends. Make sure they know that sex is not a way to fix a relationship or keep someone interested. If the relationship isn’t where they want it to be before they have sex, it’s not going to magically get there afterwards. Stress the importance of being prepared with condoms and birth control, and taking the responsibility to protect themselves from an unplanned pregnancy or STD. But most importantly, tell your kids that you are there to answer any questions and address any concerns they have about sex, relationships, and their sexual health. The more open you can be with your kids, the better you will be able to help them navigate their first sexual decisions.