Talking About Let’s Talk Month

Talking About Let’s Talk Month

By , 16, Staff Writer

October 19, 2023

Some kids have their first sex education lesson at school; mine was at home. Growing up with a mom who is a sex educator, I was always provided comprehensive, age-appropriate information when it came to sex ed. This has helped me know how to better manage certain situations and also understand myself.

Even if young people receive sex ed in school, it’s still important for parents and caregivers to talk with their kids about sex and sexual health. Opening up this dialogue can allow families to connect, clear up questions kids or teens may have and provide information not given at school.

October is Let’s Talk Month, which takes place every year to encourage families to talk about sex and sexuality. In honor of this, I spoke to my mom, Michelle Scarpulla, MPH, MCHES®, who is currently on the faculty at the College of Public Health at Temple University, about why this month is so important.

Asking Questions and Clearing Up Misinformation

“Will I get sick if I have sex?” I was asked in middle school by a friend who was worried about getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if they had sex in the future. Too often sex is talked about in a fear-based way, as opposed to teaching how to make it both safe and pleasurable when someone is ready for it.

Questions like these are part of the reason why I feel it’s important for parents and caregivers to talk to their kids about sex, not just during Let’s Talk Month, but anytime. My mom says that having a month to highlight talking openly “brings attention to the importance of parents speaking to their children about sexuality.”

Asking questions and clearing up misinformation are vital parts of what this month is all about.

The Courage to Communicate

A large part of Let’s Talk Month is having the courage to start a conversation. It’s not always easy. “I think some parents are uncomfortable with the topic themselves and don’t know how to discuss it,” my mom says. “Some parents may be afraid of giving information too early and some just may not have the knowledge themselves to share with their children.”

Starting a conversation about sex can be uncomfortable, whether it’s the kid or the parent initiating it. Figuring out how to build open communication can make future conversations feel less awkward.

If it feels difficult to start the conversation, my mom has some recommendations, for you or your parent: “Use a news story, a post on social media or a TV show that discusses some aspect of sexuality as a starting point for conversation.” Or, you can share resources, like these from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Sexual Health Association (ASHA), with a parent or caregiver, which offer additional tips.

Talking Often and Regularly

“Young people who talk with their parents about sex are more likely to put off having sex until they’re older,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. They’re also more likely to make healthy choices like using condoms to prevent pregnancy and STIs when and if they do choose to have sex.

School sometimes focus on STIs or pregnancy prevention, which are important topics. But there are other aspects of sex and sexuality that should be included, like healthy relationships, consent, LGBTQ+ issues, intimacy—physical and emotional—and more.

Taking part in Let’s Talk Month is more important than ever because school sex ed is not automatic. Even when it’s offered, it’s not always thorough or even medically accurate. Open communication at home ensures kids can ask questions to help them make educated decisions when it comes to sex and relationships.

“It’s worth noting that ‘The Talk’ should not be a one-time event,” says my mom. “It should be an open series of age-appropriate conversations throughout childhood and adolescence.”

While Let’s Talk Month is a great time to start having these conversations, talking about and having your questions answered about sex is ideally ongoing. I can speak from experience that it has been super helpful to have this open communication.

Source link

Leave A Reply