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Talking About Sex: Contraception

Guidance for a mom on talking with her son about contraception.
From the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy

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Question: "My son is 17 and has a steady girlfriend. I want to talk to him about sex and protection, but I don't even know where to begin."

Encourage Abstinence, But Provide Information Whether it's you or his father who discusses this set of issues with him, don't just assume he's already sexually active. He may well not be, and even if he is, remember that two out of three teens who have had sex by age 18 say they wish they'd waited longer!

However, do help him get the information he needs. Focus the discussion on your values, his questions, and the emotional and physical consequences of sex. And remember, he may act like he's not listening, but he does want and need to know what you think.

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Talk with him about how girls view sex and how boys view sex -- are they the same? Ask him what he is thinking and planning. Talk to him about what his girlfriend might be thinking, too.

Here are some of the questions he might be wondering about but afraid to ask:


  • Is it okay to have sex if the relationship is likely to be a short one?
  • Can a girl get pregnant the first time?
  • What about sexually transmitted diseases?
  • Should I wait until marriage?
  • How will I know when I'm ready to have sex?
  • Are some methods of birth control better than others? Are they safe?