Teens need guidance and support when it comes to sexuality. Simply telling them not to do it is one of the least helpful or effective things you can do. Telling them that you want them to only have experiences they feel holistically good about, telling them how to have safer sex, telling them why it is good for them to wait to have sex until they are really ready, and telling them that they can have fulfilling sexual experiences without having intercourse are all examples of much more helpful and effective things to say.
If you have teens in your life, or tweens who will be there soon, please check out this radio interview I did recently about how to support teens in regard to sexuality. During the teen years, matters of sexuality can be a confusing, scary, exciting, wonderful, disappointing, rewarding, and everything-else experience for kids, and the more they have loving adults in their life who they can have open, honest conversations with, the better sexual experiences they will be having (and/or the more likely they will be to wait to have experiences until they are ready).
This is a huge topic! There is so much to say. But the interview below will at least give you some good places to begin. I am interviewed by author and educator Jaime Summers for her radio show on Maui, “How to Love Yourself.”
A note about terminology ~ At the end of the interview, we touched on ideas about youth who might be transgender and gender non-conforming. I want to say something about trans and GNC (gender non-conforming) folks’ preferences regarding languaging. Many people do not like the use of the terms “female people” and “male people,” or “females” and “males.” The preferred term for many is “people assigned female/male at birth.” I resonate with these terms and use them, but I do also use “female” and “male.” I have my reasons for this, one of them being that I believe that gender is a made up social construct, and I like to refer to people in regard to this made up binary system. Personally I do not consider myself cisgender, nor am I transgender ~ if I had to label myself I would probably say I am “gender queer” or “agender.” Regardless, I want you to know that not everyone wants those terms to be used, and encourage you to explore why and decide consciously if or when you ever want to use them.
But back to the heart of the video ~ please share this with families! And if you know a teen or tween in your life who needs support but you are not comfortable talking with them about sexuality, please feel free to contact me and I can support you in this. Also, feel free to ask questions or make comments below.
Here’s to our youth having healthy, fulfilling, not rushed, pleasurable experiences in the realm of sexuality!