Essential #1: He/she will need to learn about his/her body and how his/her sexual organs work. This should begin in earlier childhood and continue through adolescence. The natural progression of information as your child grows should be made available by you. It is extremely important that parents do not leave this up to their peers, schools or other resources as family values and positive self images are often relayed with these talks.
Essential #2: He/She will need to become aware of how his/her sexuality is tied to his/her body image. Your teen will need to understand that how he/she feels about his/her self and his/her appearance is a big key to whether he/she will be happy with in his/her sex life.
Essential #3: Your teen will need to learn about his/her gender, the other gender and gender differences. Social differences as well as society’s perceptions of the different genders are important for teens flush out and explore as much as the biological differences.
Essential #4: He/she needs to discover the normalcy of sexual feelings. As your teen learns to recognize them and accept them as normal feelings he/she will learn to deal with these feelings maturely.
Essential #5: He/she needs be taught about physical act of sex. Not only do teens need to know what intercourse is, he/she should also be made aware that intercourse is pleasurable and why it’s pleasurable for both sexes. What's more, teens need to learn that there is more than one way of having sex.
Essential #6: He/she will need to develop an understanding of sexual orientation. What gay, straight and bisexual means and where he/she fits in with his/her own sexual orientation. Teens should also learn about prejudices against different sexual orientations and what can be done about this problem.
Essential #7: Your teen needs be taught how babies are made. This is not the same as how to have intercourse, that is a previous point, this is how the egg and sperm meet to produce an embryo. Teens should learn about cycles and how women can get pregnant without having sex.
Essential #8: He/she needs be taught about safe sex, teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Teens need to know that there are pitfalls to becoming sexually active without thinking it through and taking precautionary steps.
Essential #9: Your teen will need to develop an understanding of how sex ties into dating and short- or long-term relationships. Teens need to realize that another person is involved when you’re in a relationship, it is not ‘all about me’. Sex causes a bond that can be very strong.
Essential #10: He/She will need to recognize sexual exploitation and be aware of sexual and emotional abuse. It will need to be made clear to your teen that there are people who would use them for sex. And the truth is, some of these people may not be strangers to them.
These ten essentials are in no specific order and none have more importance than any of the others. When you are talking to your teen about one of them, you may find yourself an opportunity to talk about another one. There is no one imperative time to discuss any of this with your teen and this is not a laundry list for one big talk. Use it as an outline and bring small specifics up here and there. The most important thing to remember throughout all of your talks with your teen is to keep those lines of communication open so he/she can come to you as well.
Parenting Poll: Do you talk to your teen about sex and his/her sexuality?