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Talking to teens about sexuality

Expert advice on talking to your teens about

Expert advice on talking to your teens about sexuality. Credit: Fotolia

Q. How do I talk to my teens about sexuality positively without encouraging sexual activity?

A. Sexuality educator Logan Levkoff is often asked this when she gives presentations about the book she co-authored, "Got Teens? TheDoctor Moms' Guide to Sexuality, Social Media and Other Adolescent Realities."

Her response: Research shows that talking to kids about sex -- including the wonder of it -- doesn't make them run off immediately to try it. "Free yourself of that worry," says Levkoff, who lives in Manhattan and grew up in Brookville.

Parents should be honest that sex can be a joy. "The minute we're not, we lose that bond of trust that we really need if we're going to be there for when they really start to make choices," she says.

But discussions of sexuality should include more than the act itself. "It's important for kids to know sexuality is more than just the word 'sex,'" she says. Parents should address the role of relationships, different types of families, sexual orientation and more. They should teach that sex comes with responsibilities, and that decisions can have positive and negative outcomes.

Levkoff says she believes that if teens think sex is supposed to be wonderful, they're less likely to engage with partners who aren't worth it. "They know it's supposed to be better than that," she says.

Levkoff and co-author Dr. Jennifer Wider will appear at a free public event Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center, 300 Forest Dr., East Hills.

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