I know it’s awkward, but you really have to have “the talk.” A new study in JAMA Pediatrics found that teens who talk with their moms about sex are much more likely to participate in safe sex in their own lives, and this trend is even more apparent in teenage girls.
After looking at data for 25,000 teens across 30 years of research, scientists found that instances of unwanted pregnancy or unsafe sex were down in teens who discussed it beforehand with their parents. More specifically, their mothers. In fact, communication with fathers has no association at all. Sorry, dads.
The authors write:
While “intervention” is an odd word to use here, the sentiment is the same. To clear up any misconception, talking to your parents doesn’t mean being reprimanded. It means open, honest communication that allows you to be comfortable asking questions — and for help if you ever need it.
When you think about it, it’s no surprise that teens who feel comfortable talking about sex with their parents are more comfortable going to them if they need contraception, and therefore more likely to use it when the time comes.
If you really don’t feel comfortable talking about your sexuality with your parents, this doesn’t mean you’re doomed to an adolescence of unsafe sex. It just means it’s important to find a mentor or guardian figure you do feel safe confiding in, whether that’s a teacher or counselor.
No matter who you choose, this subject shouldn’t be taboo. It’s vital to your health and your emotions to know your resources, so the next time the topic comes up, and you feel like squirming out of it, reconsider. It could do you a world of good.
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