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Sex Talk Taking Place After the Fact
Date:12/7/2009

e kids.

More than half of children had experienced genital touching before "the talk" about birth control, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and condom use, the researchers found.

"More than 40 percent of adolescents are having intercourse before parents have talked to them about STD symptoms, condom use, choosing birth control and what to do if your partner refuses to use a condom," Beckett said. "That's a pretty large number."

About two-thirds of boys said they had not talked with a parent about how to use a condom before having intercourse.

And conversations with boys almost always took place later than talks with girls.

"This is a flag to not put it off, and this is especially the case with boys," Beckett said.

Denial, naivety and any number of other emotions on the part of the parents may be playing into this trend, Friedman said.

"They reminisce that when they were in the seventh grade, they didn't do that kind of thing," he said. "The fact of the matter is that this is 25 years later, and this is what is going on. You have to be knowledgeable and prepared to prepare children for when they become teenagers and have to confront sexual kinds of activities."

Other experts agree. "We live in an R-rated society, and our kids need our PG guidance," said Dr. Frank Biro, head of adolescent medicine at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. "If you want to instill knowledge and values, then you need to be talking to your kids earlier, not later."

Here are some tips on when and how to talk to your kids:

  • Figure that the age you think is appropriate is probably too old. "If parents think that they should broach the topic at x age, they should subtract two years and do it at that age instead," Friedman said.
  • Talk to your physician and scour resources from the Internet, libraries and schools about how to broach the subject and what to say.
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