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Talking to Teens About Sex

Dr. Sharon Maxwell and Chelsea Maxwell offer encouragement to parents in talking to teens about sex

According to sex ed instructor Dr. Sharon Maxwell, when talking to your kids about sexual health, “it doesn’t matter how badly you blow this conversation — you’re definitely better than the internet.”

Dr. Maxwell, a psychologist, author, and educator, along with her daughter, Chelsea, lecture on sexual health and responsibility. Their work supports parents in communicating their values and ethics around sexual health through meaningful dialogue.

In this video for Culture Reframed, the Maxwells stress the importance of having conversations with your teens about sex, regardless of how uncomfortable it may be. By going into the conversation prepared (expect eye-rolls, resistance, and maybe even antagonism!), you’ll leave feeling confident that you did the right thing for your teen, no matter how awkward it may seem.

Teenagers will learn about sex and sexual health one way or another. By engaging in these conversations, you can help make sure they’re getting the right information at the right time. You’re also positioning yourself as a trusted adult with whom they can talk about this. They’re going to have questions — let them know you can provide answers.

The Maxwells believe that if you’re open and honest about the subject and encourage dialogue, you’ll help your teen be more comfortable talking about the subject and identifying their values. Chelsea notes, “When you talk about sex, you’re modeling for your children that this is something you can talk about intelligently so that one day it’s something they can talk about intelligently with a partner.”

For more advice on starting this important conversation with your teen, watch the full video here.

Talking to your teen about sexual health is critical, especially in today’s digital age. Young people need trusted adults to guide them. We know these conversations aren’t easy to have. That’s why our parents program includes scripts to prepare you to hold these conversations with your kids with confidence. Learn more about our free online courses here.