Talk to Your Son

Many parents are more worried about their daughters, sexually speaking, than their sons. After all, boys don’t get pregnant! And boys are just as subject as girls to misinformation from their friends and the media, so it’s important to talk to them early to correct those mixed messages.

Sex is a big deal for guys, too.

Many boys feel just as confused about sex as girls do, but it’s not as culturally acceptable for them to admit it. We teach girls that they should make sure they wait for the right person, and that the first time should be “special,” so why not share the same sentiment with your son? Let him know he should think it through before he gets involved in a sexual relationship and ask himself if he feels comfortable and ready.

Conversation Starter

Email him a link to Are you ready? and then follow up with him a few days later to ask what he thought about it.

Having sex doesn’t make you a man.

Challenge the perception that having sex is something to mark off the checklist on the way to manhood. Boys receive lots of cultural messages that imply that their only job is to try to “get some.” Teach him not to view sex as a game or conquest, but as a part of a mature and healthy relationship.

Conversation Starter

Ask what his friends are saying about sex. Reassure him that although it may seem like everyone is doing it, plenty of teens—over half, according to some studies—think waiting is the right choice. Take a look at Choosing to Wait  for more on this point.

Protection isn’t just a woman’s responsibility.

Your son needs to know that wearing a condom is one of the few ways he can contribute to protecting his partner from unwanted pregnancy and STIs.

Conversation Starter

Emphasize that wearing a condom is his responsibility, not something he should wait for his partner to bring up.

Birth control is worth it.

Over half of teens surveyed think that it doesn’t matter if you use birth control or not. Teens thinking “it’s not worth the trouble” to wear a condom need to know that condoms and other birth control methods are effective tools against unwanted pregnancy.

Conversation Starter

Share the birth control comparison tool with him for statistics on how effective various methods are.

Even if you think your partner is a virgin, use a condom.

Virginity is a tricky concept. Many people feel they are “virgins” even if they’ve had oral or anal sex, both of which can transmit STIs. Not to mention that some STIs, like herpes and HPV, are transmited skin-to-skin STIs. And of course, condoms also prevent his partner from getting pregnant.

Conversation Starter

Tell him that it is possible to get an STI from someone who considers themselves a ‘virgin.’

A woman never owes you sex. 

Part of being a respectful partner is understanding that just because a girl went out with you , or started hooking up with you, or dresses in a sexy way, doesn’t mean she owes you sex. 

Conversation Starter 

Emphasize that sex should always be a mutual decision and that he should never pressure someone to have sex. 

Stay connected

Keep the conversation going! Need some help getting connected? Check out 10 tips for connecting with your teen. (PDF)