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Talk to Your Teenage Daughter About Sex

Books to read with your children to educate them about sex and abstinence

Teenage Sex PSA Video

Teenage Sex

The question that was submitted is:

My 16 year old daughter wants to have sex. What do I do?

I'd like to tackle this from a father's perspective. First, I think it's important for fathers to educate their daughters about sex. None of my female friends ever discussed sex with their fathers that I know of, but they did discuss it with their mothers. I hope the ideas in this Hub will help fathers discuss sex with their daughters.

My thoughts on sex for adults. I believe sex should be embraced and celebrated in healthy monogamous relationships. I also personally believe that our daughters attitudes toward sex and relationships are heavily influenced by the relationships they witness. For example, I think it's a good idea to kiss and hug your wife in front of the kids. To show them how loving people treat and respect each other.

I'd also say that it would be a huge mistake if you were one day surprised to find out that your child was thinking about having sex, but you had never talked about it. The best way to avoid this is to start talking about it as early as possible. I'd start talking openly about sex with a kid that is about 10 years old (depending on the maturity level of the kid). This may seem young, but I think establishing a comfortable dialogue about sex early is important. I think sex should be a regular topic of discussion in a family, especially if you think a child is near engaging in sexual activity.

I'm a big believer that education is the best prevention. With 3 out of 10 girls getting pregnant before the age of 20, parents need to get over their own personal issues with discussing sex and educate our daughters and sons.

Since I like to be positive, I'd explain what an appropriate relationship is for a 16 year old. While this is a bit awkward, I'd say that kissing, and mutually comfortable explorational touching is a good thing and appropriate. But. Sexual intercourse is not appropriate for a 16 year old. As my father told us, "There's a time for sex and it's not in high school." I can still hear him saying that today, and I'm sure I'll borrow it with my daughters. As parents, the challenge is to raise confident and courageous women that make healthy decisions for their bodies.

While I'm not educated on the potential psychological impacts of teenage sex, I do have an opinion on the risks. Pregnancy and STDs present a risk that far outweighs the rewards. This alone is worth encouraging our daughters to wait to have sex until they are an appropriate age and in a healthy relationship.

Sex Education from the 50s

Sex Education for the 50s part 2

What do we do when our teenagers say they want to have sex?

We educate them about birth control, STDs, and the benefits of abstinence. And. We talk to them openly and frequently. However, my opinion is, this isn't something we can dictate. With nearly 47% of high school students reporting they have had sex, there's a good chance your teenager is or will be sexually active in high school.

If we discover that our kids have gone against our advice and become sexually active, we must continue to educate them, but we don't have to support the behavior. I think it's fair to disapprove of a teenager engaging in sex and to continue to teach them about what an age appropriate behavior is for a 16 year old.

Teenagers make mistakes, and one of the biggest dangers for teenagers is their inability to make decisions that are in their best interest. Peer pressure, desire to fit in, and curiosity all play a part, plus, I've read that teenagers feel the power of love at a level that is many times that of adults. This exceptionally powerful force is no match for a parent's guidance in many instances. I've had all sorts of experienced fathers offer me advice as my beautiful daughters grow up. Like get a shotgun and offer the young man a cocktail to see what he does (I'm not sure what this test accomplishes). I think I'll ignore both of these.

If our teenage daughter does become sexually active, here are a few things I wouldn't do.

  • Put her on the pill so they don't have to use condoms. I think the STD risks are too great.
  • Condone sex in our house.

I've never understood the reasoning of if they are going to have sex, I don't want them to have sex in the back of a car or go sneaking around. Teen sex isn't OK. It should be counseled against and not supported in any way by parents. At the same time, continue to educate and love them.

If my kids are like me, they'll do somethings well and make plenty of mistakes along the way. Some can be corrected, other's are more difficult to undo. But, we should always keep teaching and keep loving them. As the John Mayer song says:

Fathers, be good to your daughters

Daughters will love like you do

Girls become lovers who turn into mothers

So mothers, be good to your daughters too

Good luck with this one. I know it can be difficult.


PhoenixV from USA on January 19, 2014:

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If you were a father and your teen aged or pre teen daughter was looking over your shoulder when you were online and they saw a comment like this:

how would address it?

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 03, 2013:

You are a very responsible father. Excellent hub. I also liked your father's one-liner.

Jokylu from Waratah North, Victoria. on July 12, 2011:

An excellent and very frank hub with sensible guidelines for parents of teens. I am a granparent of teens now and it is hard watching my daughter go through some real challenges with her kids, but she is loved and respected by them which is a great start.

loseweightmama from Maine on April 03, 2011:

Thought provoking. I have 3 kids and keep a pretty open dialog about sex and drugs. My oldest, a girl, is really private and rolls her eyes when we talk about personal issues like this while my boys are very open to talk with. It's definitely challenging to raise the subject when your child doesn't want to discuss it. We do what we can and try to keep the channel open for the future discussions. I know that she still hears me and has a good head on her shoulders.

Ikeji Chinweuba from Nigeria on March 31, 2011:

Nice and very informative hub.Actually,i think is the normal thing to do or tell our teen girls about early enough in this our era,for them to be aware of their body changes at any point in time.

fit2day on January 27, 2011:

Really good advice, I think teenagers think with their hormones and get themselves heart-broken. If parents don't talk to their children, someone else will. Parents should be the most understanding people in a teenager's life

Jaynie2000 on December 27, 2010:

Excellent points. I do not condone teenage sex either, but neither am I naïve enough to believe that it won't happen. Open communication and positive role modeling are crucial, as you've mentioned. Excellent hub.

jim on December 27, 2010:

teach her about contraceptive. encourage her to date older guys who hopefully are more informed and have their heads on staight. guys her age are impulsive irresponsible and prolly wouldn't treat her as well as a guys just a couple years older

drperetz on November 30, 2010:

No offense to some but this has to be tackled differently. From the child's perspective. The 16 year old daughter will continue to have these feeling of hunger. Its normal. However, if she is receiving the wrong information she might be in trouble.

She has to decide on her own that having sex is an adult act. For many its intimate and others its periodical. The most important thing to remember is that sex out of love is better than any narcotic, any enhancer. Incidental sex is dangerous. It can lead to STDs, pregnancies and other unwanted pain.

I hope you will prevail as a parent.

Stlivn on October 18, 2010:

Great Hub! I am a single dad of a 16 year old high schooler. My daughter was conceived when I was 16. Her mom is a very inconsistent person who makes bad decisions even now at 34, hence the reason my daughter lives with me. I too am struggling with how to approach the sex "do I or don't I" question my daughter is having. I however have put her on Birth Control and have discussed sexual desires and actions with her on a regular basis. My child is very logical and informed about sex; I mean why wouldn't she be with a Dad that is only 16 years older than her. I allow friend over, but if they are boys the door stays open. Our place is small so I can walk in pretty quickly is I need to. I've spoken with her about the boys' side of things, I've been very candid with her about the strength of the testosterone hormone and how it pushes on our every thought and action when we are teen boys. I know she hears me even though she only "openly" share infrequently. I've been searching for new methods to discuss this issue with her as I personally don't feel quite satisfied I've done all I can to help her abstain until she is truly ready. She is a very tiny girl and I think she is albeit super-curious, still afraid because of the possible pain. But this won't last long, expecially if she falls in to the snare of a really clever boy who knows just what to say, you know what I mean? I shared how I feel about her decision making and I've shared my preferrence in her not engaging in intercourse until after high school when she may be more mature to deal with a very emotionally taxing action. She says she understands but also hangs aroung boys that I and she know have lost their virginity (friends in her circle). I knew these boys when they were virgins and she's told me when she's found out they've lost it, and I swear to my God I see how so very differently they look at my daughter now that they've tasted the fruit (no inappropriete pun intended) and I just want to talk to her about it every minute. It's freakin my out cause its never been so close to home before for her (friends 'guys' losing their virginity). I can't lock her down as is my instinct becuase we all know what that will result in, I can't deny certain friends over that have always previously been welcome in my house...(big sigh). I trust my daughter but I feel that she is capable of making a decision too soon that she will regret.

So, Paul, you're not alone and although the difference is our respective decisions about the pill vary, its nice to know I'm not alone either.

Ken Moncrieff on October 15, 2010:

A most useful hub for fathers and mothers alike for that matter about a subject that is either brought to the fore or not. Being up front, and not heavy handed is the only way and in a loving family is readilly acceptable.

reversecharles from Houston, Texas on October 07, 2010:

So hard to say. As a parent you want your kids to wait. As a 16 year old the pressures of peers, internet, videos, movie and TV make abstaining nearly impossible. However not totally and many kids do wait for many years. I know it is much better to wait then not.

JESSiCuhx from me out! on September 21, 2010:

First 16 is a much higher age than 12, which is what I'm seeing on this link here:

I like that you said don't support it, that it's not right and to talk to your child early on about it. That's all Good stuff and I applaud you. What I want though is parents to understand that sex isn't even seen as a big deal or all that important anymore with teens. I waited until I was 18 though at first I was holding out till marriage. I felt my age and maturity could handle sex itself and anything else I might would have to deal with from having it in the first place. I think if you explain the consequences well enough and the struggles that could come behind sex they'd wait till they got older. Television, radio and magazines promote sex more as a toy instead of a life decision. TALKING really is the best thing you can do and then hope that the talk helps. And then, if their already having sex understand that we're pressured, misguided and terribly influcenced by our own peers and just everyday teen life. Of course you can't keep her in some bubble or lock her away till she's 18 or 20 but I always believed good parents made a good kid.

rayman21 on September 16, 2010:

Great Hub! I really do think that it's important to communicate with our daughters about sex and yes, it could be a difficult conversation, but helpful. No matter who does the talking father or mother,just atleast get one of them talking to them as early as you can, where they may get some understanding of the conversation.

livinlargenla on September 13, 2010:

Great hub! You are right-teen love is STRONG and POWERFUL! I've asked my daughter to wait at least until she's out of high school too. (Your dad's way to say it is is great.)Hopefully she'll listen. I battle with the pill decision-what if she does not wait (condoms can fail). But your point is valid about the STD's. I'm new to hubbing. I wrote a hub about taking to your teen about sex too. I would love to have your opinion of it. I know you are swamped but I hope you will check it out. Thanks for hubpages! I'm enjoying reading and writing!

jon on August 14, 2010:

give her my number lol

Lindy Lopez on August 04, 2010:

@Paul Edmondson ; I'm not trying to say that the way you wish to do it is wrong. You know, I'm just saying that if you're soft about the subject, the teens will walk all over you; you know that saying about giving them an inch and they take a mile. You're wife may not like the way men do things because men are more (like you say) blunt and harsh. But trust me, they need that. They thrive on that. That is what disciplines them, so (back to what I mentioned before) that they will not walk all over you - and in the end, so they will not allow others to walk all over them. And I'm only talking about this working on teenage girls as I am a lady. I do have a brother and I've seen this tactic work on him as well as myself, but I'm not a guy, so I cannot give you the specifics on why it worked on him.

As much as it irritated me, I'm glad my mother was never soft on me. I'm proud that she pushed me to think beyond boys and towards my education. I'm so inspired that she taught me to stare down peer pressure with a smirk because I knew that I was *SO* much better than that. Girls need that. Yes, teenage years are so tough, but part of the reason why it is that way is because they have no guidance on what to do , what they should do. And you see what you did there? "what seems like a well reasoned decision when you're 16, 17, or 18 won't seem like one when you're 35." THAT is brilliant, pure genius on talking them out of doing an adult activity. You can't be easy on them just because life isn't easy. You have to be strict with them to prepare them for their lives. A parent can't do what makes them feel good as a parent and dodge their responsibilities - they need to do what's needed for their children. If that requires being strict, then so be it. So what? Who cares if your child tells you they 'hate' you after you do that? They'll love you so much more when you're older and they understand why you did what you did. There's a thin line between love and hate. There's never a rainbow without rain. When you hear "I hate you," an "I love you" is never too far behind. Even if they don't tell you to your face that they appreciate what you do for them, they will show you other ways.

Like another commenter said above, teenage girls are clever creatures and ahead of their age most often.

I like your outline on what you plan to do with your girls because I can see where you're discipline is (no sex in the house). Respect is a valuable quality and even something as simple as your house and family should be respected. No sex in your house should be a no-brainer for them. I praise you for everything you're doing as a male parent for your darlings. I'm just trying to give you some suggestions and ideas as far as teenage girls because -hey, let's face it- what's better than a teenage girl's own point of view during this time and age? You want to collect every bit of information on them as you can to stay one step ahead of them.

With girls physically, their bodies stop growing at the age of 16 or 17, I believe. And their breasts can stop at the age of 23 ; although, this is just a case on how much they work out or if they plan to breasts are just fat to begin with. This is why you rarely see a size 2 or 3 lady with DD cups. Nothing to be ashamed about here. Just giving you the facts, so if you don't know, now you do. And hopefully, you will be able to provide your girls with the answer if they happen to ask you. So, physically, by 17 or 18, they, in fact, can be as mature as they will be for the next few years. As far as emotionally? Girls tend to be ahead of their age compared to guys, which is why I believe they want to have sex so early. Girls do it because they feel so much love towards their (then) boyfriend; they wish it will bring her and her boyfriend closer. Boys, well.. it's no secret about their hormones at that age. Of course, maybe their maturity level will be different compared to then and at age 35. And all of that depends on what they want from their lives in the future. For example, I had sex, yes maybe young at 17/18, but it's older than pretty much every girl I know and have known. What's that to say about the high school period in their lives? Most girls will not be a virgin anymore by their sophomore, maybe junior year, if you're lucky. That's just the hardcore facts. And says nothing about you're girls doing anything, but I'm saying if you are not prepared, they will suffer. And in fact, be hurt more when they realize that the guy they cared so much for no longer cares for them. I, on the other hand, am not ashamed. I couldn't brag anymore about myself - just so proud that I'm smarter than other girls I know because I waited more than other girl could. Never said it was a well reasoned decision, either. But it wasn't the most horrible one I've made. No regrets. I seriously doubt (and you can roll your eyes at my comment all you want because I'm so young; I'm used to being underestimated) that I will regret this when I'm 35. From my point of view, I'm the same now as I was years ago. The only things that have changed is that I know a tiny bit more now than I knew then. I still think the same- still don't want kids, still hate the idea of marriage, still believe I will never be proud of humanity as long as I live. I've been told that they swear I'm an old soul stuck in a youngster's body. And if that's true, I would rather stay this way. I mean, isn't it every adults wish to go back in time to their teenage years? :p

Sure, I'm young. And it's kind of ironic because I feel older, but there are times that my body (since I'm short) can fool others into thinking that I'm so much younger. One individual thought I was just entering high school when I am, in fact, a sophomore in college. But not everyone these days gets told what they need to hear due to the easiness of lying. And I'm different. I tell you, not just facts, but my own personal stories and experiences to help you make the best possible decision you can ever make. You can later on think about what I've said and use it with your children or just brush me off as a ranting kid. It will not bother me because it will not affect me. Although, I strive to only give advice when, where it's needed and to who needs it. Not many individuals can say they've been enlightened by my advice because there are not many that I help. But I can guarantee you that those that I do help (including 20, 30, even 40 year olds) are so thankful that they can rely on (at least) one person in their life that can give them uncensored, beneficial advice on significant topics such as yours. I take into account the pros and cons of everything, I do my due diligence. And I help them through (and figure out solutions to) whatever they may need help with. So, in short, be grateful for all the feedback you've received from everyone here, never underestimate anyone (ever heard of don't judge a book by its cover?), and if you think maybe you might need to re-evaluate your future actions concerning the topic of sex with your girls, there is no shame in that. We are all still growing more, learning better ways of going about things. Hopefully, your darlings will learn to make the right choices from you and your wife. Good luck!

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on July 28, 2010:

Style of conveying a message is important. Blunt, brash works for some, while softer and more caring works for others. I've been reprimanded by my wife for being blunt from time to time.

@Lindy Lopez I do like your point on pointing out what it means to be sexually active and the responsibility you are inherently taking on. However, emotional maturity and physical maturity don't always go hand in hand. Also, what seems like a well reasoned decision when you're 16, 17, or 18 won't seem like one when you're 35.

Lindy Lopez on July 28, 2010:


I live in a city with one of the top teen pregnancy percentages in the USA. And so when I see a teen mother, I just want to scratch my eyes out. I know they can't possibly be mature enough (emotionally) or financially secure to take care of the baby the way it should be taken care of. And that's probably why there's lots of kids down here with MIA fathers. It gets me so upset. Back then when I was a teen, I was constantly underestimated because of these teen pregnancy statistics. You know, they just give teens like me a bad name. For example- I was sick at school with constant vomiting, once, because I drank milk - which I'm allergic to - and I had two teachers ask me if I was pregnant. Just infuriated me about the subject even more :/

Lindy Lopez on July 28, 2010:

Or you could just tell them about Pillow Pants (from Clerks) :p just kidding. I'm 19 years young next month; I never had the talk from either of my parents until last year! And that was only because my mom's boyfriend asked me if I was on birth control ;o

Everything I know about sex I learned through school and took it upon myself to do lots of research to figure out what all the hype was about. I became the 'go-to' girl among my friends. And many of my friends believed that since I knew so much, I must of not been a virgin, anymore. But I would bring it up and talk about it with some of my most intellectual friends then I would do the same with a girl known not to be a virgin anymore. Compare answers, listen to their point-of-views.. lol

My mom was always working, and my dad (unfortunately) has been dead since I was 5yrs old. And I think part of the fact that I and ALL of my friends never experienced sex until, sometimes, junior or even senior year is because I went to a private, Catholic co-ed school. Athletics, gossip, relentlessly teasing with our skirts, grades - they were all more important to us than boys. We could see their immaturity and I repelled us rather than attracted us to have anything to do with them except be friends. It wasn't until my own senior year (last few months) that I had sex with my steady boyfriend of two years now. I had held out with this boy for 6 months, and he knew how disinterested I was in sex. But one day, I had just given up on the world - didn't care anymore about how much humans are so ridiculously incompetent and their actions will destroy themselves and everyone else - and it happened. I didn't freak out like I had previously months before, I went along with it. Started noticing that the effects of sex are not worth sex itself; body changes, relationship changes, etc. To this day, I still often think sex is a waste of my time. But then again, I have some pretty strong issues against having children and the like ;o

*And on that note, I think the idea of these kids wanting to have sex so goddamn early is utterly ridiculous, the fault of the school system (the more and sooner they try to teach kids, not even about sex, about responsibility and trying to get them to grow up so fast because grades are important and you shouldn't be foolish; the sooner they try to stuff things into our brains that the previous generations learned years later, I believe, has turned this unfortunate generation into what they are today). And, of course, the early sex-ed classes don't help, either. Like someone else mentioned, it's like a ticking bomb in motion. Kids need to respect it, learn that it's not something to be taken lightly. Shoot, if you need to, scare them out of it ( for girls ) by telling them that their body parts will enlarge , hips will become wider. And that those are the reasons that it must be done with someone they ultimately love because if not, they will be left with nothing except an out of shape body. Back then, nothing worried me more than my figure. Ask them if they're ready to become an adult at such a young age, and the innocence lost, the way their relationship will change. Ask them if they're ready to take care of the baby , skip through prom, homecomings, hanging out with friends to take care of the baby. You know, don't just say "well, if you think you're ready, here's some contraceptives." You're just adding to the fire at that point. They believe they've won and they'll think afterwards that can do anything because they've done an 'adult' thing. Cleverly distract them with something else somehow. There are so many ways of talking them out of it and getting them not to follow through with it. At the age of when they can get contraceptives themselves, you tell them, is when you'll allow them to have sex if they really want to with whoever and you tell them that at that time, you won't object to the idea of it, will even drive her to her "partner's" house to potentially have sex, and hear all about it later without judgment. I can almost guarantee you that if she follows through with that, when you do pick her up, her opinion of sex would be mediocre (even if she might not tell you that that's what she thinks about it). Apparently, all girls want to get married, right? Inform them that if they have sex before, it's kind of like cheating out on their future husband and because they wanted to have sex early, for your sake, they'll have to wear an off-white colored dress.. because dress is for purity and innocence. Ask them what they want to be when they grow up, and tie in somehow how sex can affect that. You can't be their friend about it, you have to be a parent. You have to be strict, set rules. Be opinionated about it, be blunt. I would rather be a 'bitch mom' that still has a virgin daughter than a cool mom that let her daughter have sex at a young age and constantly worrying about them getting pregnant. It's all just added and unnecessary stress.

Rascal Russ Miles from Show Low, AZ USA on May 18, 2010:

WOW Good Buddy, Great Father, AWESOME Hub Founder !!! Links from other Hubs led me here ~~~. I'm a happy father & will share a brief Hub that involves my now 20-year-old darlin' daughter and a few other things also. Yeah, I talked to Casie about sex too but not in this little write up...

renfen88 on April 21, 2010:

good hub good topic . it is a very sensitive and shamed question in China . teach her safely .

mwatkins from Portland, Oregon & Vancouver BC on March 28, 2010:

Your hub is very thought provoking. Planned parenthood has some excellent counselors and even better programs to talk to a teen. I was the step parent of an 11 year old. By the time she was 13, she was having sex. At 15, pregnant, at 19 there were 3 more pregnancies for her. Dad didn't understand that talking to his daughter was more important than working and that handing her money didn't compensate for lost attention and time. Counseling only helped minimally. She had no one in her life to help her feel proud of herself, or valued. When I met her, the pattern was set and destiny took over. I tried, but was left like a mime in the background. She asked for birth control and her unrelenting pleas for attention went ignored. 4 children later she tells a different story. She is a speaker now at high schools and she gets her message across well. I left the marriage, but it broke my heart to leave her. If you give your kids a stable foundation, thy always come back to it. Talk to them, read stories to them at night, keep them involved in activities, tell them how interesting, unique and wonderful they are - all the time. Emphasize the things about them that make you feel proud of them - tell them. Don't miss an opportunity to go for a walk with them. Whether you know it or not, they are watching your every move, so be a leader. She taught me that. Her name is Jennifer and she is truly a wonderful and special human being, who I am completely proud of. Thanks for writing a great hub!

snow_white88 on March 11, 2010:

am not a dad! yet alone a parent!!:- ) but i have younger sisters between the ages of 11-16. and i know my parents wont do the sex talk with them cos they didn't with me.... ! I have found your hub very useful. its a topic of great importance but coming from an african backgroud parents are very conservative (especially dads-that its even regarded a taboo to discuss such issues with their female children). A good hub Paul and I will use some of your suggestions to educate my younger siblings and God willing my children - one day about "this thing - sex."

nigelking from Planet Earth - I think! on November 23, 2009:

As a father to seven boys age range 8 - 40, I am well practiced in the 'talk about sex' department with the male species. However, with my only daughter reaching the age of seven in a few weeks, I can only hope that my senile dementia will excuse me from discussing sex with her in (hopefully) ten years or so. 'Mother... your daughter wants to know how babies are made - over to you!'.

Kirstie on November 01, 2009:

well i am a 16 year old girl, i think its good to have the sex talk. i never got it, not that i have had sex yet. i think if you have raised your teenager well, she will know when she is ready. we are clever little creatures. everyone gets into the situation of having sex, sooner or later they will find out what its all about and a parent cant be with them the entire time (that could be akward) and tell them to stop. give good advice, be supposrtive and they will make the right decisions :)


Mofizur R. on October 31, 2009:

Great topic. I appreciate it and it's not an easy one to talk about. Thank you for doing it.

Lovly2008 from Connecticut on October 28, 2009:

Loved the videos. Thanks.

Reg Brittain from South Burlington, VT, USA on May 15, 2009:

Very well written hub, Paul -- and a far better tactic than promise rings and the like.

TheRealTruth from Virginia on January 28, 2009:

Oh my God. Did I ever need this. Even though my daughter is only a year and a half old, those teenage years scare the crap outta me. thank you for the info!

broteem from KHARAGOUR on September 25, 2008:

Thank you to start with. It needs courage and a very good and open mind to have a discussion on sex with the siblings. This is very important too. SEX is a wonderful experience of mankind, an invaluable gift of nature and it demands proper and effective care. That you have taken the task to render education to your daughter implies that she is fortunate and that readers of this beautifully built up page will have the necessary benefits out of it.

It is a very good writing. Congratulations !

royalblkrose from florida on September 25, 2008:

great blog... when I was old enough to even look like I could be experimenting with sex, my mom asked, "are you ready to get pregnant?"

I said "no"! she said, "good! now keep your legs closed!"

Kika Rose from Minnesota on September 24, 2008:

Wow. Yeah, you should definitely talk to her about that. While I will admit that I had my first sexual experience at 15, that's still pretty young. Have you tried talking to her about why she wants to jump into the sexual world so early in life? Even better, have you talked about other contraceptives, like IUDs and NuvaRing? The pill's got to be the worst contraceptive, right after condoms (though I suppose they don't count). Unless she takes the pill at the EXACT SAME TIME every day, it's not very effective. I believe the statistic was 79% at worst. I am a firm advocate for the NuvaRing, but it might also be because I, an 18 year old, can't swallow pills. Dunno why, but I can't. If she's bound and determined to have sex with this boy, talk to her. Heck, talk to him, too! Bring them in to a Planned Parenthood. Have her talk with an OB/GYN. Get her extremely well educated. After all's said and done, if she still wants to go for it, at least she'll have the smarts to be as safe as she can be.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on September 24, 2008:

@Kika.  Thanks for the comment.  I absolutely agree that fathers must talk to their daughters about sex.  It's so important.  And.  They need to start talking to them sooner than later. Before there is a pressing issue. Like my 15 year old has a serious boyfriend and she wants to go on the pill.

Kika Rose from Minnesota on September 24, 2008:

Ah, sex ed class. How I loathe thee.

In my hometown of Cambridge, MN, we had our first sex ed class in 4th grade. Know what they taught us? Absolutely nothing about sex. There was a separate class for boys, and a separate class for girls. The girls class taught us about our menstrual cycle, daily hygene, and that the little candy pill things they gave us would turn purple in places plaque built up. The boys class taught them about daily hygene, A FEW of the changes they'll go through in puberty, and again, the little candy pill things.

That's all we learned.

Our next classes didn't begin until 10th grade in a class they called Teen Survival, and only a month was spent talking about sex. Well, no, let me rephrase that; a month was spent talking about STDs, pregnancy, and abstinence. They told us nothing about sex and how it works, where to get birth control and condoms, and where you can go for help if you do get pregnant. And for those who did get pregnant, our only information came from the school nurse and was completely confidential (which many parents were outraged about).

Gotta love rural Minnesota conservatives.

I learned about sex through the experience. I learned it can be a beautiful, amazing, and powerful thing. I learned that partners may not always be faithful. I also learned that it's a helluva lot easier to find out about sex through fathers than through mothers. My dad was my biggest fan (not in the sex department, obviously), and he supported my decisions, even if he didn't agree with them. He taught me everything I needed to know, to the best of his knowledge, and shared with me his own experiences so that I could learn from them.

It kind of reminds me of that song that goes, "Fathers, be good to your daughters, and daughters will love like they do..." Dads, while it may creep you out beyond belief, talk with your girls. They are yours, and you have to do everything within your power to protect them without becoming overbearing. Don't push them away, don't shy from the subject of sex; tell it like it is, be honest, and they will listen to you, even if they act like it's the nastiest discussion in the world.

kits on September 15, 2008:

nice hub. Soon i'll become a mom, at least I have an idea when it comes to kids most especially when we talk about sex education

Chef Jeff from Universe, Milky Way, Outer Arm, Sol, Earth, Western Hemisphere, North America, Illinois, Chicago. on September 04, 2008:

While I agree with Constant Walker I also counsel that they do their best to not do this.  It's not a prudish thing, but rather a matter of I don't want my daughter to become an adult before she is finished having other fun as a child.

I know that in reality she will do this if she wants to, regardless of my stance, but at least she knows where I stand on the issue. 

I also want to know if the boy is close to her age or some 50 year old dude who has tricked her into it.  I guess I have to say that because I found some rahter handsome older man with lots of money trying to tempt one my students into going with him. He could provide drugs, booze, any thing she wanted, but he fled when I looked him in the eyes & called 911 on my cell.

Constant Walker from Springfield, Oregon on September 03, 2008:

Short answer? Teach them to do it safely.

D Johnson75 on August 19, 2008:

I think you are 100% right. I dont understand parents that say that their child can not date until their eighteen. I have two kids and there both girls twelve and six. Just recently i was at my twelve year old basketball practice and she pointed out two boys that she said liked her. I asked her how do u know they like you she replied "dad im not in kindergarten anymore they tell me all the time." This was an eye opener i was always afraid that this time would come because i know how i was at that age, but as you said all you can do as a parent is talk to them and educate them about life and pray that they will make most of the right decisions. By the way i was happy to see that my daughter was comfortable enough to be able to talk to me about the boys. We can't lock them up until they turn eighteen we just got to be there for them.

survivordean from Philippines on August 18, 2008:

"Establishing a comfortable dialogue about sex early is important"- This is really true! As a parent, it's your main responsibility to discuss sex with your daughters and if you can't courageously do it, something is wrong with you. It indicates that you are not well-prepared to be parent.

Discussing sex with your daughter can be awkward, difficult and complicated. You must learn how to use the right terms. In fact, it's still the bestest way to ask them directly. Allow their imagination to wander and attentively listen to their opinions. Teenagers have always something to say.

Sex is a good thing and I can't think of a reason why you can't discuss it with your family.

This is a nice hub. Very Insightful...

magnoliazz from Wisconsin on August 07, 2008:

You sound like a wonderful father and I think it is great that you can talk to your daughter about sex, however remembering back to when I was 16, I would have been very embarrassed to talk to my dad about sex. Maybe kids are less shy and reserved now, but when I think about it most 16 year old boys would not want to talk to their moms about sex either. It is a delicate subject that kids get embarrassed about. LOL...I remember when I first found out about sex, I could not believe that my parents could ever do something like that! heck, I did not want to believe it....and my parents were always hugging and kissing in front of us, so it should not be so shocking, but it was!

dsletten from United States on August 06, 2008:

Good hub - you covered everything with a good attitude and a lot of thought. I agree with most of what you say. I do think, though, that if your teen daughter is in a steady relationship, boyfriend of over 1 year, and you know they are having sex then one of the parents should suggest the daughter be on the pill or some form of birth control. Condoms don't always work and it would be sad to not have your daughter protected from getting pregnant. I agree that a condom should continue to be used while even on the pill.

So many people tend to think that it is easy to just tell your daughter she can't have sex and then turn a blind eye to it. The truth is that some teens will have sex no matter how good or bad a parent you are and you need to be there for your daughter if this is the case. Thanks for the thought-provoking hub.

RoeB on August 05, 2008:

I agree you need to talk to your kids often about sex, even starting at a young age. When they do get to the age they want to start having sex, they will feel like they can go to you for advise. I always treated my girls with trust, I always told them I trusted they would come to me for advise and even comfort if need be. When my girls told me they wanted to have sex, ans yes I had a lot of fear, but I did take them to the doctor. They were put on birth control, and they even learned about the STD's and condoms. I also had to learn lesson , one, they need to be treated like an adult that they would remember to take the pill, and respect them for the decision they made. I prayed every night, and had to resist chaining them to the bed or locking them up on a daily basis. Now that they are older, I am relieved that the decision that I made was the right one for us.

Jeniferr from United States on August 05, 2008:

You're lucky if you're daughter feels comfortable enough to ask you about sex at age 16.  At that age, I wish I had felt like that and really it never crossed my mind to ask my parents (of all people!) about sex. 

Asking would've been too uncomfortable and embarassing for me at that age.  I think the best thing a parent can do is take the initiative to talk about sex with their children and more importantly, make them feel comfortable in talking about sex with you.  A teenager's life is filled with a high enough degree of pressure as it is, don't make it any rougher by making sex a taboo subject.

Not Just Purses from United States on August 05, 2008:

I think a parent who is willing to go that extra mile and talk about things with their teens/children (regardless of how they feel about the issue athand) will keep the lines of communication open, show they care and potentially save heartaches down the road. I remind myself all the time that it might not be such a big deal to me, but is a huge deal for them.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on August 04, 2008:

@janet21. If she's asking, I think it's time to start talking about it regularly. I don't know that kids grow up faster these days, but I do know that how comfortable and honest you are with her, will help develop trust in your relationship. You must be doing a lot right if she's asking questions. Best of luck.

Janet21 from New York on August 04, 2008:

My oldest daugther is 10 and has been asking a lot of questions which I don't really feel someone of her age is ready to know. However, I also know that if I don't talk to her about these things now, she will find out anyway and not in the way in which I would have explained it. So, "the talk" is coming sooner rather than later. Why do kids have to grow up so soon? Wish me luck!

Trsmd from India on August 04, 2008:

But don't allow them to try with you..

Chloe Comfort from Long Island on July 25, 2008:

What a great hub! I think it's great that as a father you want to discuss this with your daughter. There is a different perspective, as a man, that you might be able to provide. Most dad's pass that task to the mom. Communication and trust are the key. Let her know that she can come talk to you without you being judgmental. Try to be open and above all honest with your guidance. I'm sure my husband and I will be facing this in the future (my daughter is only 8 right now) and I hope she will be able to come to both of us should she have questions or concerns.

The one piece of advice I received (in this regard) and ALWAYS pass along is this:

Once you have sex - everything changes. There is no going back to the sweet innocence of the relationship (like holding hands). The relationship takes on a whole new dynamic. If you do decide to have sex, make sure it's for the right reasons. Do not do it for the other person (to keep them) or because you feel like you have no other choice. Think long and hard about the choice. Your and body is not something you should give easily.

denisewrtr37 from Philadelphia on July 24, 2008:

Being that sex is natural, I think at 16 your daughter's curiosity is natural. Is there a woman your daughter is close to and trust? I'd ask her to talk with your daughter about sex if you never have before. My dad raised five of us as a single parent and I'd much rather talk about sex with my aunt or grandmother than my dad. But there were times I'd ask him a question about men in general and he was open which I appreciated.

I think the example you set in how you treat your daughter's mother will speak volumes. If your daughter ask you questions, I'd be open and answer. But as a woman who grew up in a home raised by a single parent-father, I preferred to talk with a woman about sex versus my dad.

If you're married, I'd have the talk with your wife, daughter and other siblings if you have other children. That way your daughter won't feel singled out. I'd be open and build trust in all areas of communication so your daughter feels comfortable coming to you or her mom about anything.


Nicole A. Winter from Chicago, IL on July 24, 2008:

Wow, some excellent comments on here, guys. I think there's something that I'd like to add. While you say that the risk of STD's is too grave to consider the option of birth control, (the pill,) I'd like to point out that if it's possible to find a pill that works well with your daughters emotional and physical make-up... <sigh> I strongly recommend it. I'm much more terrified of my daughter getting pregnant at that age than getting an STD. I think the best bet for parents is to discuss using <more than one> form of birth control. If they're starting sex young there is a pretty good chance that there will be condom slip-ups. Hell a condom busts on us adults every once in awhile & we've years of practice with them. I'm not condoning condom-less sex here, by ANY means. I'm sure you realize how lucky you are that your kids feel they can talk to you about this but I think parents need to discuss the option of using more than one form of birth control. Condoms first, the pill, the sponge, spermicides, (other than what is in the condom,) second.

joblot from Ringwood on July 24, 2008:

We have a huge responsibility to educate our sons also - they are often the ones who encourage the girl to have sex. Help our daughters to have the self-confidence and self-esteem to say no, or indeed yes if they feel the time is right for them; help our sons to have the understanding of the consequences - both physical and mental - for the girl if they decide to have unprotected sex.

To avoid the conversations with either boy or girl in our care is to set in motion a ticking bomb. There is no reason we cannot be open about sex - sure everyone is embarassed, but ultimately you create and environment where they feel they can come and discuss it with you before the event.

cubemonkey4 on July 23, 2008:

That was the exact I age I started having sex. My parents never talked about it with me. Everything I learned about STDs, pregnancy prevention, and the reproductive system I was taught in "health" class or learned through reading books. Consequently, I always used a condom, never caught anything, never got pregnant or put myself in an unsafe situation.

glassvisage from Northern California on July 23, 2008:

I feel like I didn't even get that good of an education about sex in school! The most I remember involves a condom and a banana...

CheryleJ from NEW JERSEY on July 22, 2008:

Great topic. I appreciate it and it's not an easy one to talk about. Thank you for doing it.

Ralph Deeds from Birmingham, Michigan on July 22, 2008:

Talking to your children about sex is good idea but easier said than done. I don't recall either of my parents ever mentioning the subject. They did buy me a book entitled "A Boy Grows Up," as I recall when I was 12 or so and already was familiar with everything in it.

Another positive step for parents is to take an interest in the policies of their school district and support comprehensive sex education. My high school started a program in the 1950s which covered everything, and I mean everything!--sexual biology and psychology, contraception, STDs, heterosexuality and homosexuality and other widely diverse varieties of sexual behavior, prostitution, masturbation and just about anything else you could think of. We had lectures, reading assignments, movies and group oral reports. I don't recall that abstinence was mentioned. I do recall that the course conveyed the idea that sex is a quite serious undertaking which can lead to a variety of consequences, one that ideally should be more than a purely physical act, one that is an expression of love and commitment. There wasn't a single pregnancy at my high school during my four years. (Of course, there was little or no sex, either!) Looking backward, that course probably benefited me more than nearly any other. Wood and metal shop were a close second.

franciaonline from Philippines on July 22, 2008:

I'm so impressed that a father like you thinks like a mother. I am not a biological mother but I do a lot of mothering so when I read your hub I felt it was me talking.

Thank, Paul, for your hub. It's something I will use as a reference in talking with my nephews and nieces.


Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on July 21, 2008:

@John Thank you for the comment. Six Daughters. Wow. I'm looking forward to reading your Hubs. Good reference point on sex ed starting in the 4th grade. Like teaching your kids to read before kindergarten, it's a good idea to educate them on sex before it's taught in schools.

John Juneau from Sierra Nevadas on July 21, 2008:

As a long time educator, youth worker, and father of 6 (now grown) daughters, I have some thoughts on this, but not enough time to lay them out here.  Actually, I intend to do some hubs on helping children and teens be comfortable with themselves, take control of their lives, and achieve success.  It may take awhile for me to accomplish that.

For now, I will just make a few points.  First is the importance of a father in a daughter's life.  I like to say that a father casts a long shadow.  I am sure it is true with boys also, but  their is something very special about father-daughter relationships.

Also, the value of parents showing genuine love for each other, as you mentioned, is very valuable for girls and boys. This means doing loving things such as a father helping mom around the house, speaking lovingly to each other, and showing the types of affection that you mentioned.

Children can begin to learn about sex at any age.  It should be as natural as learning about anything else.  Doesn't it seem strange that we talk about and even make songs about knees and elbows, toes, ears, etc., but we act as if the penis or vulva, etc. don't even exist? Well, if your children are in typical public schools in California, they will get sex ed in 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th grades.  Most students in 4th grade are 9 years old.  You need to get started (and also learn what the schools are telling them) if you want them to get a wholesome understanding.

Enough for now.  Just don't leave it all to chance.

PEN-n-PAD from Washington on July 21, 2008:

You know a good friend of mine and I were discussing parenting recently. Her kids are 21 and 28, mine are still little so I try to steal knowledge from anyone who's been successful at this whole thing. Her advise for dealing with teenagers during those sexually charged, hormonal years was really, really simple. Be involved, know who they're with and always keep the communication open. Her boys weren't even allowed to date until they were 16 and were never allowed to be home alone with girls.

so much is lost when you take that step into sexual exploration. I think your completely right for not doing the whole birth control thing-to a point. And for definitely not allowing this stuff to take place in your house.

I guess really all you can do is be more dilligent. Try some other things to keep her distracted. Remember idle hands are the devils play ground. I'm sure you've heard that one before. So why not after school sports, or playing an instrument.

Good luck to you!

~It all makes sense until it doesn't

tdrusk on July 21, 2008:

Good post.

I personally was told, "If you are going to have sex, wrap it up. But just try to keep it in your pants until you are an adult." Wise words from a wise mother. Sex education classes taught me about the diseases and pregnancy. These have made me a wiser person.

stevenschenck from Sacramento California on July 21, 2008:

I just had this conversation with my 16 year old daughter - It was difficult - but I explained that while I wanted her not to have sex yet, because it would not be that much fun, she had to take responsibility for every protection if she did have sex. I also told her that I would take her to the doctor and get her protection and drug store for condoms because if she had sex I did not want it to destroy her life or kill her.

Still Smiling on July 21, 2008:

As an outside objective viewpoint, i'm going to side with your daughter :) Let me preface this entire comment by saying that i've read all the commentary and agree with the approach completely...BUT here's the deal.

I WAS a totally well educated, well communicated, teen that had a perfectly normal and healthy relationship with both of my parents. I perhaps was a tad on the responsible side of teenagerdom - on honor roll, captain of the track team, worked a steady part time job...and then i met my high school boyfriend.

I did not spiral into any odd form of rebellion, didn't shun my parental units, and didn't want to feel like i was letting anyone down, but after what i think was about 8 months? I did, infact, want to have sex at some point prior to my 17th birthday. You should be happy that you have the type of relationship with your daughter that you are privy to this information - even via someone else. Once i made up my mind - and that took some internal discussing! - i was really comfortable with my decision. Granted, i had a really REALLY model citizen boyfriend...we ended up staying together all the way through our sophomore year in college and had a sad realization that at some point we had both grown up and wanted totally different things in life. Which should be another blog...

HOWEVER, teen pregnancy is a major issue, teen sex is as well;but if your daughter is responsible enough to be seeking advice on the topic she is responsible enough to practice safe sex.

I am now the proud mother of a 16 month old baby girl (I'm 27 - so not a case of teen pregnancy!lol) and although ive got a lot of time to mull over the topic I think that it won't be that hard. Sex is a personal decision that you have to comfortable with on your own timeframe. I personally believe that your sexual relationships with other have a lot to do with how you view yourself and what type of self respect has been instilled in you. Give yourself a pat on the back for being a concerned parent, and do the TOUGH right thing dad by letting her know how special she is and that you TRUST her to be RESPONSIBLE with her life.

J.M. Davis from Chicago, IL on July 20, 2008:

I think this hub has some really good advice.  It is so important that a girl feel like she can talk to her parents about these issues. I also think it is important to expose teen girls to cultural sources (magazines, books, etc.) that encourage them to be self confident and independent minded (so they will not give in to peer pressure and do something before they are ready for it.)  I know when I was a teenage girl, I often responded better to something if it came from a source other then my parents! 

Whetstone TV from Auburn, AL on July 20, 2008:

When my 13 year old asked me if I had ever "French Kissed", I knew it was high time to have an engaged discussion of the facts. Prior to that he demonstrated no desire to know. He now likes to skirt the issue ( no pun intended)

Shadesbreath from California on July 20, 2008:

 I would say age ten is a decent guideline, but certainly not a firm one.  Kids find out about sex pretty early these days.  We've always maintained the "if they can come up with the question, they deserve the answer" rule, regardless of age... and we've encouraged asking.  And if you start early, talking to them about sex later, when the conversations become more... biological and/or just plain lust-centered... you're still on familiar ground and you have a practiced ease in which to cover the new territory.  This totally includes father/daughter.  Hell, I've been teaching my daughter every trick in the book I can think of as far as what guys will say and do, the lengths they will go.  Hopefully she'll be prepared to spot BS when it comes.  Being a teen is tough enough to do without having to go about it ignorant and without your parents supporting you.  So, I totally agree, talk to them.  Talk them often and talk to them soon.

Been There Before on July 19, 2008:

I once worked with a man that said he told his daughters on a regular basis "one day when you grow up, some man is going to be lucky to have you." He explained that if I do not tell them that, they will look for someone who will. Knowing a boy will say anything to a girl to have a sexual relationship.

I think its great for a father to have open discussions about sex with thier daughters. Open communication may have a huge impact on decision making and may prevent future heartache.

I wish I would have had that communcation and understanding with my father at 16.

topstuff on July 19, 2008:

This is a real alarming question.

Paul Edmondson (author) from Burlingame, CA on July 19, 2008:

I think it's great advice to take her to planned parenthood. Planned Parenthood has an excellent website that's great resource.

theomzone from Paradise on July 18, 2008:

Take your daughter seriously - If you are lucky enough to know, you'll be lucky enough to have an impact on her decision making. Schedule an appointment to get her into Planned Parenthood. Ask them to talk to her about STD's and responsibility. Trust me - they will make a compelling case for taking safe sex seriously. That is a message you want her to get loud and clear whether she has sex now or later. If at the end of that appointment she walks out with BC then so be it. However, they are trained professionals regarding sex education. They can do it, taking the emotion out of it. Just the facts, and the facts alone are pretty compelling when it comes to a topic like teen sex.

Sonni on July 18, 2008:


Interesting Hub. It's my first visit to hubpages and of course I landed on the subject of teens and sex. I had my daughter when I was 14 and am now 56. What a crazy deal that was, as you can imagine. In 1967 it was not cool to be pregnant at 14. Anyway, good article. Keep up the good work.


ohohdon from Yakima on July 18, 2008:

I'm surprised only 47% of high schoolers have had sex.  I would have thought the percentage would be higher.  But, I guarantee you that 90% of high schoolers weren't educated at home about sex like I did with my children.

I started talking to my children at 4-5 years old about how God made them special and how important they are.  Then at about 7-8 we started talking about how boys and girls are different.  By 10-11, as you suggested, we felt it was appropriate to discuss sex, birth control, and STD's.

Throughout all their teen years, we promoted abstinence as the only good option.  It's a whole lot easier for my wife and I to go down that road with our children since we both had remained pure and saved ourselves for each other.

I reminded them, continuously, that there's only one first time.  Why not make it a wedding gift for your lifetime mate?

To my knowledge, they've all remained pure.  If I'm wrong, I don't want to know.

Jason Menayan from San Francisco on July 18, 2008:

I agree completely. If parents don't talk about sex, curious children will seek information and guidance elsewhere, and the information might not be reliable. And teenagers, in general, don't have the life experiences and maturity to think through their actions and realize the consequences, so STDs and pregnancy are high risks.

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