Addressing Adolescents on Issues Related to Sexuality

It is important that an adolescent becomes aware of his or her own body, be at ease with touching it and should see it as a unique personal possession. With this attitude he or she will be able to happily respond to another person when they are ready for an emotional and sexual relationship.

The emotional turmoil experienced by many adolescents is part of a process of sorting out what’s good for the individual. This process most often leads to a well-balanced view of adult life but it needs to be approached in a calm and logical manner.

To help adolescents aged 13 to 17 develop as sexually healthy youth, the families, teachers or caregivers can:

Clearly articulate the family and religious values regarding relationships (acceptable levels of intimacy in such relationships).

Express that although sex is pleasurable, young people can wait to initiate sex until they are in a mature, loving, and responsible relationship.

Express that they have a variety of options for experiencing intimacy and expressing love.

Discuss together the factors; including age, mutual consent, protection, contraceptive use, love, intimacy, etc., that one believes should be a part of decisions about sexual relationships.

Reinforce adolescent’s ability to make decisions while providing information on which they can base those decisions.

Discuss contraceptive options and talk about the importance of condom use. Discuss adolescents’ options, should unprotected intercourse occur - including emergency contraception, and STI testing and treatment. Discuss adolescents’ options, should pregnancy occur - including abortion, parenting, and adoption.

Discuss exploitive behaviour and why it is unhealthy and (in some cases) illegal. Help youth identify various physical and verbal responses to avoid/ get away from sexual situations that make them feel uncomfortable.

Acknowledge that adolescents have many future life options, that some may marry and/or parent while others may remain single and/or childless.

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