Sex education is a lifelong process. Assuming you have already taught the fundamental aspects of sex education in the earlier years, comprehensive sex education for your teenager should emphasise on the less biological and sexual aspects of it.
Start by asking them if they have ever heard of a “contraceptive” and if they know what it is. If they do, have them explain it to you and correct any false notions. If they do not, teach them that though they may not be sexually active right now, they will be later in the future.
It is necessary for them to know how to reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancies and Sexually transmitted infections.
Let them understand that contraception allows couples to pick when they want to have kids and how many to have.
You can list or teach them the various types of contraceptives. Focusing on which protect from infections, pregnancies or both.
Human sexuality – Sexual Orientation
Human sexuality is a broad term that has varied over time, so it lacks a precise definition. However, in this context, you can explain it as the way that people decide to experience and express themselves sexually. It covers all the biological, physical, emotional, erotic and social feelings and behaviours associated with sex.
Educate them on the various sexual orientations, but emphasise tolerance. Teach them that although they may not be of ‘deviant’ orientations, people are different and they should tolerate them rather than spread hate. Either by talking bad about or bullying them.
Love, Dating and Relationships
Ask them what they think love is and if they believe in it or not. This would give you a bearing in this talk. Explain the difference between romantic and platonic love. Help them understand that people can express different types of love. Teach them that:
- It is entirely healthy and normal to have crushes or feelings of attractions to people of the opposite sex.
- Dating is what happens when people are attracted to each other and spend time together alone. It may not always go the way they expect, so they should only date when they are mentally mature enough to handle the emotional turmoil that may accompany it.
- Love isn’t exactly how the movies make them out to be. They may have to go through several heartbreaks before they find the right match.
- Although ‘making love’ is an act, when it is separated from love, it becomes purely physical, and people can get hurt.
- Lovemaking may include sex which intensifies the experience, but it should only happen within the margins of a mutually-respectful, trusting relationship.
- Just because they have butterflies in their stomach when they think of someone doesn’t mean they should date them. Strong chemistry doesn’t necessarily mean the relationship will work out.
- Abuse (physical, emotional, financial and sexual abuse) in relationships should never be tolerated. If someone doesn’t treat them respectfully, they should not be with that person.
- The characteristics of healthy relationships: Use this opportunity to express religious, moral and familial values about the subject to your teens. Helping them understand love will allow them to feel affection for a long before they consider having sex.
Consent, Rape and Saying No
Ask them what they understand by consent if they’ve heard of it, what they understand by it and cover the basics by teaching them:
- About the different types of touches (good and bad), bad is any touch that is around erogenous zones and inappropriate in public.
- That they can at any point, say “no” when they don’t like the way they are being touched.
- To respect when someone says no. If someone does not say ‘yes’ or ‘okay’ to their advances and they continue, it is rape. The same goes for if they are the recipient. When they do not give their consent, it’s rape. You can watch the “Tea and Consent” video for better understanding.
- Sleeping, unconscious and drunk people cannot give consent. So if they continue to touch them, it is rape or sexual assault.
It is helpful for them to have these three things in mind: ASK, LISTEN, RESPECT.
Sexual behaviours (e.g. Sexting, masturbation)
Talk about sexual behaviours without any judgement or harshness.
Masturbation: “Masturbation is when a person rubs themselves in the private area”. If your family/religious values are against this, you can teach them that here, otherwise teach them the dangers of pornography.
Pornography: Explain that sometimes people look at pictures of naked people or people having sex, but that is not encouraged as it promotes unrealistic ideas about sex, and can affect their relationships. Use this opportunity to talk to them about your religious/family values on the subject.
Friendships and Family
- What friendship is, different types of friends and the characteristics of a good friendship – Symbiosis.
- Friends can be angry with each other, but that doesn’t mean they should stop being friends.
- It’s essential to spend time together with your friends.
- Friends can break each other’s hearts too.
- That a person can choose to have many or just a few friends. Choosing to have a few or numerous friends doesn’t make you abnormal.
- Friendships, like romantic relationships, depend on honesty and mutual respect for each other.
- Family is important. It is vital to spend time with your family.
- There are different types of families, and these can change over time.
- Family members protect and take care of each other.
The role parents play in their children’s sexual development cannot be overemphasised. Sure, the school will give sex education, but it’s sad to realise that you can be the difference between a sexually respectful teen, and one who is a rapist/sexual predator. The variance between a teen who is abused and traumatised, and one who can avoid it.