Unlike boys, who tend to joke around when a parent tries to broach the topic of sex, girls tend to take the topic more seriously, according to a study we began to learn about last week. This apparently leads to one of two reactions: extreme anxiety and avoidance of the topic altogether, or openness and a high level of comfort in talking to a parent about sex. Avoidance is especially likely when girls feel their mothers are adopting a moralistic “instructive” tone, rather than sharing information in a factual way.
So if we happen to make it past the first sentence or two…what about these conversations we are having with our daughters? Well, according to one study, 33% of important sexual topics or not being discussed with daughters. While that reflects significant gaps in our communication, the same study showed 75% of these topics were not being discussed with adolescent sons…an even worse track record. We seem to be covering more topics with girls, while the study found that discussions with sons tended to focus on “scare tactics,” such as discussion of STDs and pregnancy.
Parents, lets continue to talk with our daughters about sex, keep the tone calm and factual, and try to include more discussion about relational aspects of sexual activity with our sons. Next week’s blog will discuss what this fascinating study had to say about how to set the stage for a more comfortable talk that will trigger less avoidance and awkwardness on the part of our teens.