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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    How do I talk to my teenage son about safe sex?

    Neither my husband nor I have had the “sex talk” with our son. He is now 14 years old and I believe it is soon time to talk to him about safe sex, sexual health etc. What is the best way too approach this subject? When is the best time? Should we both talk to him or should only one of us? We want to make sure he is comfortable.
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    Hello, I’m Jacqueline Hellyer, Sex Therapist and Relationship Coach. I’ve spent thousands of hours working with individuals and couples around sex and relationships. I’ve been … View Profile

    I recommend you approach it from the point of view that as he is transitioning from child to adult he can start to enjoy the good things about adulthood, such as becoming sexual, and also that he has to take on the responsibilities of adulthood, such as practicing safe sex.

    Boys of this age need to feel a sense of ‘initiation’ as they go through the transition of adolescence. For this reason the discussion could be better just with his Dad, but if his Mum would be the more comfortable one, then she can be there too.

    Stress to him that as he transitions to adulhood it's your role as parents to allow him greater freedom at his own pace. If he goes too far too soon it could be disastrous. This applies to sex as much as drinking etc. Let him know that when sex is good it is very very good, but when it's bad it's horrid. It's so much better if his first sexual encounters are positive, with someone he cares about and without smutty or furtive overtones.

    As to safe sex, point out to him that respect is a big component of good sex. Using a condom shows respect for himself as well as for the girl. Not all STDs have obvious symptoms so you can't necessarily tell if your partner is infected or not. Give him the example of chlamydia, an STD which has no symptoms in girls, yet it can render them infertile.

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