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Talking to children and adolescents about sex can be a tricky thing. Many parents have the concern of exposing too much information too early on with the possibility of tarnishing their child’s innocence, but speaking about sex doesn’t have to be damaging.

With the newly found cases of STDs growing at alarming rates among the youth in African-American communities across the nation, the need for the proper sex talk is apparent, especially in light of the absence of comprehensive sex education programs within the school system. Television, music and even peers have a strong influence on how young people view sexuality today, and it is important for parents to step up and reveal the facts about sex to their children.

Dr. Rachael Ross, a 10-year family medicine physician, clinical sexologist and recurring co-host on the Emmy Award-winning talk show The Doctors, shares with us the proper way to speak to children and teenagers about sexuality.

“It’s healthy to speak honestly to kids,” says Dr. Ross.  “By the time they are nine they’ve felt a tingle ‘down there’, so if you are honest with them about it and they understand what’s going on, they might not rush to have that tingle tickled by someone else.  They should know not to let adults and older children touch them or talk about sex with them.”

This is an important conversation to have early on, as more children and teens are experimenting with sexual acts at younger ages. “They should be made aware that their bodies are special and should not be abused or shared with just anyone,” states Dr. Ross.

She also recommends that parents encourage self-pleasuring versus experimenting with others before the children are aware of their bodies and the responsibilities of sexual activity. “It’s important that they understand you would rather they touch themselves than have another person do it.  Masturbation is a natural part of life and it is the safest form of sex your child will ever have.”

She goes on to suggest that parents promote sexual activity with equal and loving partners.  “Children and adolescents must understand that sex is supposed to be between two people who care about each other.”  This message in particular is extremely important in today’s society with sex being regarded as a casual commodity used to be accepted among peer groups or to mimic what is being shown on TV or depicted in music.

Technology has revolutionized everything and with ‘sexting’ being a popular activity of choice, parents must set the standard of what is allowed in order to protect their children on the cyber front. “It is also important to set the ground rules about sexting,” advises Dr. Ross.

‘The Doctors’ Dr. Rachael Ross Helps Parents Talk To Children About Sex was originally published on blackdoctor.org

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