• This Teacher Has a Tip to Make Sex Talk Less Cringeworthy (Pizza Is Involved)

    Take control of your teen's sex education!
    by Rachel Perez .
This Teacher Has a Tip to Make Sex Talk Less Cringeworthy (Pizza Is Involved)
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  • Talking to kids about sex is not something you look forward to (and you know the kids hate it more), but we don't think you want his sex education to come from friends or, worse, the Internet either. You want to have control over this conversation.

    Sex talk with the kids, however, doesn't have to be a (cringeworthy) lecture. You should actually prepare yourself for your 3-year-old's curiosity (how did you and daddy make his sibling, for example). The rule of thumb is to let the kids ask questions, and answer them as appropriately as you can, using terms they can understand.

    If you don't shy away from answering questions about sex from the beginning, then it tells your child he can ask you anything. Hopefully, it means he will be more comfortable to have the difficult conversations like sex, consent, readiness, safety, and even abuse. Your child may surprise you — tweens and teens are often less concerned about what or how sex happens than they are about sexuality.

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    You can learn a lot how to answer those pressing questions from Philadelphia high school teacher Al Vernaccio. In his TEDTalk below, he shows us how he matter-of-factly answers his Grade 12 students' questions about sex.

    What is sex and how does one have sex? 

    There are three aspects of sex that you want to cover with your teen: what triggers it, what happens during sex, and what's the outcome. For the answers, Vernuccio uses the metaphor of — wait for it — pizza. 

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    To illustrate consent, sex, like pizza, Vernuccio says, comes from an internal desire that a person can control. "I can decide that I'm hungry, but no, it's not a great time to eat pizza." Vernuccio continues that before you order pizza, you and the person who'll be sharing it with will talk about what each person wants. This emphasizes readiness and consent by both parties.

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    When is someone emotionally and physically ready for sex?

    "It's appropriate between two people when intimacy, commitment, and passion are established, and both people have pretty equal amounts of these feelings for each other," Vernaccio wrote in his book For Goodness Sex: Changing the Way We Talk to Teens About Sexuality, Values, and Health. "I don’t think these things develop quickly, so I don’t think sexual activity is appropriate on a first date or early in a new relationship," he added. 

    Could you use a balloon as a condom?

    We know the answer (absolutely not). But teens who do not understand how condoms work could easily assume it will do. The point is the ridiculous idea of balloon-as-a-condom would never cross your teen's head if you talk to them about safe sex. "Condoms, when used correctly, are an essential tool in reducing the risk of pregnancy and STIs. They work so well because they’re designed for that purpose," Vernaccio said.

    Why is sex so good?

    Vernaccio offers two explanations. First, biologically speaking, sex feels good to encourage the human species to procreate. "The second reason sex feels good is that humans have developed the emotional capacity to feel love, intimacy, and passion. These emotional states highlight and deepen sexual pleasure," he wrote. 

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    Being in a predominantly Catholic country doesn't have to hinder sex education. Sure, get on with the "abstinence only" talk, but at least discuss the reasons why. Sex and sexuality are out there being shown and discussed on TV shows, movies, online, and more. Sex education is information to help them stand up to peer pressure. 

    Wouldn't you be more at peace knowing that you've talked to your teenager about sex and see that he understands it?

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