Navigating the world of sexual health can be a challenging journey for young people, filled with questions, concerns, and uncertainties. Communication is key and this October, as we celebrate Let’s Talk Month, we are reminded of the importance of open and honest conversations between young people and their trusted adults. In this article, we’ll share some of our tips and tricks for talking about sexual health and how these discussions can help young people make the best decisions for themselves.
The need for conversations about sexual health
Young people face a plethora of challenges when it comes to sexual health, from understanding their changing bodies, to making responsible choices about relationships and intimacy, to finding access to sexual health and wellness services. Some adults may feel that conversations about youth sexual health are seen as taboo, which can leave many adolescents in the dark, relying on unreliable sources of information like the internet.
Here are some reasons why conversations about sexual health are important
Education: Adolescents need accurate, science-based information to make healthy choices. By talking openly, trusted adults can provide young people with the knowledge they need to protect themselves and their peers.
Safety: Conversations about safer sex, contraception, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can help young people make
Health: Open dialogues about sexual health empower young people to make the healthiest decisions for themselves. This is essential for their overall well-being and creates healthier, vibrant communities where young people thrive.
Reducing Stigma: Conversations about sexual health help break down the stigma surrounding topics like sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and consent, promoting acceptance and inclusivity.
Tips for engaging in conversations about sexual health
Create a Safe Space: Establish a safe, non-judgmental environment where young people feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and concerns. Visit our Adults Resources page to read more tips for starting and continuing the conversation.
Listen Actively: Encourage open-ended questions and active listening. Let young people express themselves and validate their feelings. Reassure young people there is no “bad” question and you are glad they came to you to talk.
Age-Appropriate Information: Make sure the information fits the young person’s age and maturity level, gradually addressing more complex topics as they grow older. Download our Ages and Stages brochure (English & Spanish) to guide you through when to address what topics and how.
Respect Privacy: Be sensitive to their boundaries and privacy. Ensure they know they can trust you with their questions and concerns.
Use Resources: Utilize educational resources, books, websites, and professional guidance to support your discussions. Download our Tips for Adults – Talking with Teens, Tips for Adults – Talking with Kids, and Tips for Teens resources to help you have conversations about sexual health. Visit our adults resources page to find more information.
Consent and Boundaries: Teach the importance of consent and respecting personal boundaries.
Books: Books are a great way to start the conversation! We have a Lending Library available to the community with a variety of sexual health topics for all ages.
Let’s Talk Month serves as a reminder that conversations about sexual health are not just necessary but essential for the well-being of young people. These dialogues can provide them with the knowledge, confidence, and emotional support they need to make responsible choices and embrace a healthy, fulfilling future. So, let’s keep the conversation going and empower the next generation to take charge of their sexual health. Talk early and talk often and know that Amplify is here to support your family!