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Our Youth

Adolescent Sexuality

We live in a world filled with messages about sex. Music, TV, radio and the internet all carry confusing information and misin- formation. Early sexual behavior is especially risky for adoles- cents. This is a time when bodies and emotions are changing and making good decisions is more important than ever. Adolescents may also be confused about their own sexual identity. Parents are the most important factor in helping their young people make positive decisions. Sometimes parents find this role diffi- cult.

The following tips may help:

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Start early by talking to your child Be available, be open, and initiate conversations Use correct names for sexual organs and behaviors Take advantage of teachable moments Reassure them that they are normal Set positive examples Respect their privacy and feelings Give accurate and honest answers

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Admit if you do not know the answer Help them learn how to set their own limits

Sex is an important part of mature intimacy and love. The reasons adolescents may have sex:

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Curiosity about sex Hope to become more popular Getting pressured into something sexual by their partner or peer group

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Thinking sex is glamorous as it is shown on television, movies, books, and magazines For something to do - a recreational activity They think they’re loved

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