top of page

Age Appropriate Sex Talks with Your Child

7–10 y (pre-adolescence)

Things to discuss:

· Words for genitals, breasts

· Body parts and functions (basic version)

· Bathroom humor

· Physical development and how they compare to others (what’s “normal”).

· Some girls will begin puberty or menstruation at this age and should be prepared by their parents.

Questions to expect in preadolescence:

· What is a period?

· When will I start?

· When did you start?

· When will my breasts grow?

11–12 y (early adolescence)

Things to discuss:

· Words for sex

· Body parts and functions (expanded version)

· May use sexual words even though they may not know the precise meaning

· Bathroom humor and sexual humor

· May have seen pornography online

· Sexting

· Sex education in school starts around 5th or 6th grade. Parents should allow their children to participate and continue the conversation at home.

Questions to expect in pre-adolescence:

· What is masturbation? (self vs other)

· What is oral sex? Anal sex?

· Sexuality spectrum (eg, what is “gay”? How does someone know they are gay?)

· How do gay people have sex?

· How does a girl get pregnant?

· What is an erection? Nocturnal emissions?

13–14 y (early mid-adolescence)

Things to discuss:

· Basic understanding of most sexual behaviors

· Growing sexual vocabulary

· Many have begun masturbation

· Some teens will begin engaging in sexual behaviors with partners (eg, kissing, touching)

· Some teens will experience love

· Most girls will have begun menstruation, and most boys will be experiencing erections.

Questions to expect in mid-adolescence:

· How old should I be when I have sex for the first time?

· How old were you when you had sex for the first time?

· How do I decide when to have sex with someone?

· What is an orgasm?

· Can women have orgasms?

· Can I get pregnant the first time I have sex?

· What do condoms feel like?

15–16 y (late mid-adolescence)

Things to discuss:

· Most have begun masturbation

· Understanding consequences to sexual behavior, such as pregnancy and infection/disease

· Sexual behaviors with partners, some intercourse

· Difficulty discerning love and lust

· Approximately 15% of teens begin having sex by the age of 15.5

Questions to expect in late mid-adolescence:

· Can I get an STI from kissing? Oral sex? Anal sex?

· How can I tell if I have an STI?

· How can you tell if someone has an STI?

· What is HIV/AIDS?

· How effective are condoms? Birth control pills? Shots? (and so forth)

· What is emergency contraception and how do I know if I need it?

· How/where do I get condoms? Birth control pills? (and so forth)

17–18 + years (late adolescence)

Things to discuss:

· Difficulty discerning love and lust

· Most teens have engaged in at least one sexual behavior with a partner

· About 50% of teens begin having sex between the ages of 17 and 18 and likely experience intense physical and emotional attraction to their partners or potential partners.

Questions to expect in late adolescence:

· How do you know if you are in love?

· Were you in love the first time you had sex?

Ashcraft, A. M., & Murray, P. J. (2017). Talking to Parents About Adolescent Sexuality. Pediatric clinics of North America, 64(2), 305–320.

41 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page