How to Talk to Your Daughter About Sex

teenage girl
If you have a preteen or teen daughter, you know how much pressure there is for young women to have sex. (Flickr)

If you have a preteen or teen daughter, you know how much pressure there is for young women to have sex. As a parent, it's hard to find the balance between lecturing and ignoring the topic. Some days we may lean one way, other days the other.

Mom, believe it or not, your daughter will listen to you best when she understands your heart. Sharing our experiences concerning sex during our teen years may be hardest to do, but it will be the most impacting for your daughter. Intimacy is opening ourselves up to let someone else peer inside, and when you're willing to share your failures and successes concerning your sexual choices, your words will go straight to your daughter's heart.

Here is an excerpt from my book Teen Mom: You are Stronger Than You Think. In it I encourage young women to examine their thoughts about sex and intimacy, but you can use these same facts and questions to open up an impacting conversation with your teen daughter.

One main reason young people choose to have sex is their desperate search for intimacy, but true intimacy is usually the last thing they find. Sexually active girls seek a lasting commitment but end up with heartbreak.

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Another side effect of the search for intimacy through sex is that these teens have a hard time learning other ways to relate. They miss the joy of heart bonds because society has fed them a lie that physical bonding is the only way to truly connect.

Think about it: In today's movies, how do you know if two people are "in love"? They have sex with each other. While this may be an easy way to show attraction on the big screen, this isn't the real world. True intimacy is made possible by the use of relationship skills and not as a result of sex drives.

I know I had the wrong ideas about intimacy when I was young. I thought that "going all the way" was the only way to show a guy that I truly loved him.

  • 2 percent of teens have had sex by the time they reach their 12th birthday.
  • 16 percent of teens have sex by age 15.
  • 33 percent of teens have sex by age 16.
  • 48 percent of teens have sex by age 17.
  • 61 percent of teens have sex by age 18.
  • 71 percent of teens have sex by age 19.

Think back:

  • What type of messages about attracting guys, getting guys and having sex did you receive?
  • How did these messages affect you?
  • Did you feel you weren't complete without a boyfriend?
  • What do you wish you would have known about guys and sex when you were younger?

(excerpt from Teen Mom, p. 88-89)

How to Have "the Talk."

Take time to go over these statics with your daughter. Ask her what she sees at school and in the media.

Ask your daughter about her own search for intimacy. Ask, "Where are the holes in your heart?"

Talk about bonding with other person: "True intimacy is made possible by the use of relationship skills and not as a result of sex drives." Ask, "What are some ways to connect other than sex?"

Ask your daughter about the pressures she feels. Talk about an "escape plan" when she feels these pressures.

Finally, take time to share about your own experiences:

What type of messages about attracting guys, getting guys and having sex did you receive?

How did these messages affect you?

Did you feel you weren't complete without a boyfriend?

What do you wish you would have known about guys and sex when you were younger?

Don't make this a one-time conversation. Let your daughter know she can come to you any time. Become a safe place for your daughter to talk about what she hears, what she sees, and how she feels.

Let her know it's uncomfortable for you too, but you can work through all her questions together. And know that sharing your heart will have an positive impact your daughter will carry with her through all life's challenges.

Resources for continuing the conversation about guys, sex, intimacy and relationships:

Praying for Your Future Husband by Robin Jones Gunn and Tricia Goyer

My Life, Unscripted by Tricia Goyer

Passport2Purity by Dennis and Barbara Rainey

Other books for moms:

Five Conversations You Must Have with Your Daughter by Vicki Courtney 

Raising a Daughter after God's Own Heart by Elizabeth George

Tricia Goyer has written more than 35 books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine. 

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