Help Your Teen Be Prepared for the "First Time"

Anya Manes
by Anya Manes

The 5 Big Questions they Should be Able to Answer to Prepare for a Positive + Healthy Experience

October is Let’s Talk Month, so let’s get real.  Let’s face it, there will be a first time. I know, I know!  You don’t want to think about your child having sex, but it’s going to happen someday, and wouldn’t it be great if it happened well? 

Help them be prepared and have the experience be as positive and healthy as possible.

You can help your child avoid mistakes, heartache, and possibly disaster by having this conversation together. Talk with them about the 5 big questions they should be able to answer before having sex.

5 Big Questions

Who?

Your teen will have sex for the first time with someone; what should that person be like? Someone your child loves, and who loves them back. Someone they’re in a committed relationship with. Someone who isn’t older or much more experienced, since that creates a funky power imbalance. Someone your child has good communication with, because they need to talk about birth control, sexually transmitted infections, and boundaries. It might not be the Someone they’ll be with forever, but it should be someone they’d be proud to bring home to meet you.

Why?

It’s key to that your teen understands the difference between feeling really ready to have sex and feeling pressured to have sex (either from a partner, friends, or maybe just from wanting to “get it out of the way”). Talk with them about the emotions that often accompany having sex for the first time as well as some of the risks. Let them know it’s important that they are both emotionally, mentally and physically ready.

When?

After the couple have been together for a while.  After both partners have been tested for sexually transmitted infections and shared the results with each other.  After they’ve talked about what they each want the experience to be like.  After they’ve planned and obtained the contraception they’re going to use.

Where?

Somewhere comfortable and private.  That means, not in a car, not in water, not on the beach or in the woods, not in a tent, and not in public.  Are you laughing?  No, really, your kid needs to hear this!  They’ve seen way too many movies romanticizing all those terrible places to have sex!  Honestly, most people have sex in a bed.  It’s warm; it’s soft; it’s behind a door you can close and lock.

How?

How will they prepare for having sex? Condoms, birth control, and making sure both partners are tested for STDs before having sex is important. It’s also key to get them thinking about how they will move forward after the big first. How will they communicate what they want and feel comfortable with in the moment and in the future? Let them know just because they had sex once it doesn’t mean it’s a given they have to do it again.

Can you see how valuable it is to talk this through?  Don’t you wish someone had helped you make a plan like this when you were young?  I’m not saying it will be an easy conversation to have, but it’s worth your time and effort, and it’s even worth your discomfort.  If you’re not sure you can do this, just email me (anya@talkingaboutsex.com).  I’ll be glad to help.

In support of you,

Anya

P.S.  If you’re looking for ongoing support, I have workshops, webinars, group and one-on-one coaching programs for parents.  You don’t have to do this alone!  Reach out to me at anya@talkingaboutsex.com to learn more.

About the Author

Anya Manes grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, attended Columbia University, and spent 11 years teaching high-school science. When talking about the human reproductive system, Anya’s biology class also became a sex-ed class.  She came to understand what kids knew and what they didn’t, and what kinds of social skills her students lacked. Anya did her master’s coursework in education and completed the Interchange Counseling Institute’s year-long training program, gaining experience as a counselor.  With her background as an educator and her skills as a counselor, Anya launched her coaching business, teaching parents to talk to their kids about sex and relationships.  Anya’s goal is to help families teach their kids the skills they need to have safe and healthy sexual relationships, from the start. Learn more attalkingaboutsex.com or at Anya's Facebook page.