Tackling Sex Education Early

Dove Self-Esteem Project | English

Having ‘the talk’ about sex can be nerve-wracking for parents, but doing so early in your daughter’s development may help her better understand the changes in her body without losing body confidence in the process.

Perhaps you’re not sure if you really need to have ‘the talk’ with your girl. After all, she may already be receiving formal sex education through her school. This does help, but it’s only part of the equation. Encouraging open and honest conversations about sex and her sexuality can give you peace of mind that she will be fully informed before she becomes sexually active.

Research by US sexual health body The Guttmacher Institute found that teens who receive early sex education often delay sexual activity and are more likely to use contraceptives when they do (Lindberg & Maddow-Zimet, 2012). Further academic research from the Resource Centre for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention shows that girls with lower self-esteem are three times more likely to engage in sexual intercourse (Spencer et al, 2002), underlining the importance of nurturing her confidence during the often turbulent teen years.

The reality of self-taught sex education

Living in today’s technological age, arming your daughter with accurate and ample information is imperative. A 2013 report commissioned by the Children’s Commissioner for England entitled Basically… porn is everywhere examined the impact pornography has on young people and reported “there is growing evidence that indicates that young people are unhappy with the sex education they are receiving and that they increasingly use pornography, expecting it to educate and give information regarding sexual practices and norms.”

Parenting and sexual health expert Amy Lang explains: “The reality is most children will see internet pornography before they start middle school [around age 12]. The long-term problem with children and teens viewing porn is they are incorporating what they are learning into their developing brains and their developing sense of their own sexuality. This can lead to self-esteem problems because kids think porn stars have real, normal bodies and are having real, normal sex.”

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