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5. Listen carefully to your child's comments. Each generation has different sexual expressions and values. Think back to the 60s or 70s. Remember your parents' take on free love? Begin to learn today's lingo and norms. Then you know where to start.
6. Clarify the danger of oral sex. In today's culture, oral sex is considered casual and convenient. Raised in the shadow of AIDS, our children seize upon oral sex, thinking its safe sex and, technically, doesn't undo virginity. Explain that any exchange of bodily fluid can result in STDs or HIV. Define abstinence.
7. Offer a checklist for sexual decision-making. How does someone decide it's right to have sexual intercourse? Discuss typical reasons. Love. Boyfriend or girlfriend pressure. Pressure from peers. Lower inhibitions after drinking or using drugs. Here is where you inject your values -- when and why one would take this step.
8. Link sex to emotional consequences. Sex is a physical drive, but with emotional connections. Put sex in a loving context. Explain how it bonds people deeply. Once sex happens people are more vulnerable. Broken hearts hurt more. Reputations get juicier. Regrets happen.
9. No parent gets off the hook. Mothers and fathers each bring important perspectives to sex talks. Boys need to hear from their fathers about what is appropriate and what's not. Only mothers can demystify women to their sons; only dads can explain men to their daughters.
10. Take advantage of all the help you can get. TV, movies, magazine articles, newspaper stories -- all provide teachable moments. Use everyday opportunities to comment and listen to opinions from your young adolescent. The sex talk is an ongoing educational conversation.