Parental Guidance: Willie and Meg talk about sex

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By Megan Colarossi

Have you had the “talk” with your teen? As in the “sex talk”? I find myself sweating and having heart palpitations just thinking about it. We have already tackled the correct names for body parts. Vagina and penis are not taboo in our house. As my child gets older, I am slowly beginning to realize the importance of having a more significant, yet, ongoing and open conversation about sex. Having said that, I can totally understand why parents put it off to the very last possible moment. It’s absolutely terrifying!!

First, you have to able to define sex to your child. Keep it simple: If it involves a sex organ, it’s SEX. Recent studies show that teen pregnancies are down and the number of kids having intercourse is decreasing as well, BUT kids are still sexually active. About half of teenagers aged 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex, according to government statistics. And oral sex is sex, so be prepared to define sex clearly and specifically.

The best advice from parents of teens is to have the sex talk EARLY and OFTEN. Make sex a normal part of your chats before your child hits the teen years. Yes, you should start talking to your kids between the ages of 9-12 in order to make them feel more comfortable and safe discussing such a sensitive topic with you. It does seems awfully young, but research shows the longer you wait to talk your kids about sex, the harder it is for parents to get their message across amid all the other information, correct and incorrect, kids are getting from friends, media and other sources.

And finally, it’s important for you and your partner to be good role models. True, no teen ever wants to think about their parents doing THAT. But your relationship is a very important model for how your teen will behave with others, one that speaks louder than anyone’s words. So give them a strong foundation by showing how to love, compromise, give and expect respect and argue but love one another.

Do you have any great advice when it comes to talking to your kids about relationships and sex? Any topics you'd like us to cover in the future? Parental Guidance, TODAY.com's original video series, want to hear all about it. Please tell us on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #ParentalGuidance: @megancolarossi@williegeist@today_parents.  

As we all know, being a parent is the toughest job in the world, but it’s totally worth the wild ride — especially when we get a little help from a friend!