Would you buy condoms for your kid?

Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse  May 27, 2009 06:34 AM

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According to data from the Childs Trend DataBank, In 2007, 20 percent of high school freshmen questioned in the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey indicated that they were sexually active; among high school seniors, that number jumped to 53 percent.

So while it may be a shock, I guess it's not much of a surprise that parents are trying to figure out how far to go to protect their children. It's clear that abstinence-only sex education isn't working, but is buying birth control for your teenager a better option?

Over at Shine, a reader asks about buying condoms for her 14-year-old son, who has just told her that he's been having sex with his girlfriend of eight months.

“Yes I have to admit: It's my fault as well for not pushing the issue further with her parents. If our children are going to date, then we as parents need to talk to each other and be more responsible!” she writes. But, since the deed has been done, “Too late to tell him not to have any more sex!” she adds.

I don’t think anyone is disputing that abstinence is the safest and best choice for teenagers. But research suggests that teens who participate in abstinence-only sex education programs or make so-called “purity pledges” promising to remain virgins until marriage are just as likely to have sex as teens who don’t -- and are less likely to take precautions when they do have sex.

According to the study, which appeared in the January 2009 issue of Pediatrics, virginity pledges are also now used to measure the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex education programs, which the US government considers successful based on the number of people who pledge, regardless of the participants’ sexual behavior. But just five years after promising to stay chaste, the study found that 82 percent denied having even made the pledge at all, and the age at which they first had sex was the same as those who hadn't taken the pledge. In fact, the biggest difference between the pledgers and nonpledgers was that "pledgers are less likely to protect themselves from pregnancy and disease before marriage." And then what?

In 2006 there were 41.9 births for every 1,000 US teens ages 15 to 19 -- more than three times the rate in Canada, where there were 13.3 births per thousand teenagers (and they think their sex-ed programs aren't working).

Eighteen-year-old Bristol Palin, whose pregnancy was announced during her mother’s Vice Presidential campaign last year, told Fox News in February that “Everyone should be abstinent... but it's just not realistic at all." That interview took place just three months after her son, Tripp, was born; she has since refined her message, taking on a new role as the "Abstinence Ambassador" for Candies Foundation and telling People Magazine "If girls realized the consequences of sex, nobody would be having sex. Trust me. Nobody."

She has a good point, but the message that seems to be coming through is decidedly mixed. As Sandy Maple points out at Parentdish: "Her pregnancy wasn't the result of failed contraception. It was the result of failed abstinence."

It was a lot easier to advocate that teenagers postpone sex until marriage when people were getting married at 21 or 22; is it realistic to expect people to wait until they're 26 or older, the current median age for marriage in the US? Obviously, abstinence works -- except when it's not practiced. But I don't think avoiding discussion and stocking the medicine cabinet with condoms is the solution, either.

Lylah M. Alphonse is a Globe staff member and mom and stepmom to five kids. She writes about juggling career and parenthood at The 36-Hour Day and blogs at Write. Edit. Repeat. E-mail her at lalphonse@globe.com.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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46 comments so far...
  1. If kids are old enough to have sex, they are old enough to buy condoms for themselves.

    Posted by Situation May 27, 09 09:03 AM
  1. "“Yes I have to admit: It's my fault as well for not pushing the issue further with her parents. If our children are going to date, then we as parents need to talk to each other and be more responsible!” she writes. But, since the deed has been done, “Too late to tell him not to have any more sex!” she adds."

    This quote is pathetic, frankly. No, it is NOT too late to tell him to stop and talk to him about why -- I'd have to say I imagine a 14 year old would probably be relieved to have someone give him some guidance in this area. And it doesn't have anything to do with HER parents -- she is parenting HER child and should talk to HIM, not her parents. And finally, "dating" does not equal "having sex" -- kids should be talked to about the difference.

    Posted by susan May 27, 09 09:56 AM
  1. Granted, my children are still young enough that the opposite gender is 'icky', but I think the solution is BOTH discussion and providing birth control. Have a meaningful, respectful discussion with your kids. Let them know that you really wish they would wait, and hope they will, but ultimately they are in control of their actions and if they choose not to be abstinent, then they MUST practice safer sex. Show them how to use a condom, take them to the drugstore and make them purchase a box, etc.

    Posted by akmom May 27, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I would consider helping my sixteen or seventeen year old get birth control, but my fourteen year old? No way! That child has been having sex since he was 13 and his mom just accepts that?

    Posted by a parent May 27, 09 09:59 AM
  1. I think it's infinitely easier to by your kid condoms than to find out she has HIV.

    Posted by rosenkranz May 27, 09 10:10 AM
  1. Let me fill you boys and girls in on what was really going on with the old no pre-marital sex.
    First, people then as now wanted to do it. That is why all officialdom was against it. But how were they against it. Simply put, everyone wanted a good girl, not a bad girl. Bad girls put out, good girls did not.
    The same holds true today, but the definition of what a good or bad girl is, has changed and continues to change. But there is more, much more, the real reason couples married younger was not love or such but money and financial freedom. In most states, you the individual were not legally an adult until 25 or in some cases 21. But if you demonstrated adult responsibility, and I am quoting from memory my business law text book, you were an adult and could open a bank account, rent an apartmetn, buy a car.
    Marriage was the most common and extensive (and in some cases only) definaition of being legally an adult, for the usual financial and work related things we all take for granted now.
    This was not entirely disciminatory as it seems, as a contract with a legal minor were not binding. Imagine buying a car and not legally having to apy for it.
    Abstinence had little to do with this, and a close examination between wedding dates and birthdates presents a strong percentage of shotgun weddings.
    You can figure out the rest. And contraception is about 7 centuries old. At least as mentioned in this article. The older methods have been around much, much longer.


    Posted by Wainwright Peregrine May 27, 09 10:19 AM
  1. I have tried to be proactive about discussing reproduction with my kids (who are 8 and 7) in age appropriate ways, at various times in their lives. I see no benefit to having one big 'talk' at a point where it may already be too late. As we get closer to puberty, I will make it very clear that the expectation is 'no sex until marriage'. I will also make it clear, however, that if they feel they cannot wait for some reason that they MUST protect themselves and their partner from disease and pregnancy. If that means marching them bodily into CVS and forcing them to buy condoms, so be it. I do not want to be a grandmother while my sons are in high school, I will make sure that they have every possible weapon at their disposal to ensure this does not happen.

    Posted by BMS May 27, 09 10:34 AM
  1. My daughter was going away for the summer to an on-campus scholastic program at an out of state college. At 16, she had never shown any interest in dating or sex, but a lot can change over the summer when you are on a college campus. We have had lots of discussions about sex and relationships and birth control, most importantly about waiting until you are ready. Before she went away, I bought a box of condoms and a 'Plan B' emergency contraception kit and gave them to her. I sat and talked to her about smart choices, but said now she had no excuse to be a complete idiot. I had friends who thought I was basically telling her 'go out and have sex', but she knows how I feel. I also told her not to let one of her friends get in a bad position and be sure to talk to them if she thought they were about to do something stupid. A year later she still is not interested in sex or dating and is more interested in her studies. I should also say that they have excellent sex ed in her school, centered around healthy decision making. Also, my mom had me when she was a teenager, so she knows the consequences of bad decisions - my mom had to drop out of high school.

    excuse to be stupid.

    Posted by leschmell May 27, 09 10:47 AM
  1. I think we should be taking a look at what Canads is doing, it isobviously working far better than the programs we have been trying!

    Posted by Ashia May 27, 09 11:15 AM
  1. My son is headed for high school next year, and I have already started keeping condoms around for him to freely access, no questions asked. I don't care if I end up supplying the entire high school - more kids using condoms means fewer kids transmitting infections and less chance that my kids will contract an STD when and if they become sexually active.

    Abstinence is a joke of an ideal. It didn't work in "the good old days", obviously, so why the heck do we expect today's kids to respond to ridiculous shame when it has NEVER worked! I view it the same as buying them toothbrushes - I'd like it if they didn't eat sweets, but that isn't realistic. I think it is far better to give kids a good grounding in ethics and realistic education about why people have sex and what the risks are than to risk their health and lives and teach them to have warped relationships like the fully scientifically discredited abstinence only approach does. What next, cut the seatbelts out of the car and tell them not to drive?

    Posted by Infoferret May 27, 09 11:17 AM
  1. I'm going to dispute the statement that "I don't think anyone is disputing that abstinence is the safest and best choice for teenagers."

    If that's true, then abstinence is the "safest and best choice" for everyone, but I don't think you'd try advocating that! For anyone contemplating sexual activity, what I'd call the safest and best choice would be good information, and an an attitude that combines protection and respect for oneself and for one's partner. If people approach it that way, they're behaving like sensible adults; isn't that the way we want our teenagers to arrive at adulthood capable of doing?

    Let's not pretend that the kids are taking the "abstinence" nonsense seriously. It's a choice between sex that's honest and intelligent, and sex that's rushed and surreptitious. Not to mention, in the first case it might be sex with a certain amount of dignity! I'd never push kids into sexual activity if they're uncomfortable with it, but the time does come when just about all of us want to do it. Take away the guilt, and we've got the best chance that they'll act in a responsible way.

    Good points, thank you Gazzer! I'd amend what I wrote to "abstinence is the safest and best choice for avoiding pregnancy and STDs" and I think it should be included in the good information that teenagers learn about sexuality. But I don't think it should be the only message they get. -- LMA

    Posted by Gazzer May 27, 09 11:37 AM
  1. Ok, my kids are now 39,34 & 29, but when each one of them turned 16, one of their birthday gifts from me was a package of condoms, and a talk on why I didn't want them to use them, but that I never wanted them to have unprotected sex.

    I know it sounds like a mixed message, but I really want to stress that I talked with my kids about all the reasons not to be sexually active including HIV/AIDS, which was probably my greatest fear since at the time my children were becoming aware of sex was when that health crisis became a major issue.

    On a humorous note, my oldest children are female, and when my son was 15 he was very excited about his coming birhtday, And he put it "it's my condom year!"

    Posted by Bobbe Anderson May 27, 09 11:37 AM
  1. If he won't buy them himself can you be sure he'd bother to use them?
    Fourteen is awfully young. I don't think most fourteen year old boys even bathe regularly without being encouraged.

    I would absolutely talk to him, his girlfriend and her parents. This is adult behavior and carries adult consequences. Would you just "parent your own child" if you knew they were drinking alcohol? If you don't think you can stop the behavior, you'd better try to manage the fallout.

    Posted by Alice May 27, 09 11:47 AM
  1. I spoke at length with my son about drugs, sex and violence. We had great conversations and he knows to this day he can come to me with anything. I encouraged him to be smart about all of the above but did keep condoms in the house. My biggest threat to him was if you make me a grandmother before I'm 50 I'll kill ya! joking of course. But I think if americans were more open about sex and alcohol like the eurpoeans and not portray it as something dirty things would get better. One thing you can not controll is hormones no matter how much you talk. so it's better to educate them and do it young.

    Posted by Maureen May 27, 09 12:41 PM
  1. The conundrum here is that if you are shocked and dismayed at the thought of whether or not you should provide condoms to your minor children, might you have yourself considered used condoms before they were conceived?

    Let me check my copy of the Talmud... :) Has to be in there...

    Posted by BenWhite May 27, 09 12:42 PM
  1. Utah has one of the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. Whatever they're doing should be tried elsewhere.

    Posted by edw May 27, 09 12:51 PM
  1. I definitely agree that there should be no one big "talk" with kids. Sexuality (not just sex) needs to be something that you and your kids can discuss at various points in their lives, not just when they "should" be having sex or thinking about it. Puberty is a great time to start discussions about sexuality, since you're going to start talking about having a more sexual body anyway.

    Kids certainly shouldn't be encouraged to start having sex ASAP; a lot of kids in high school are having sex because there's a pressure to have sex and "be cool." But to wait until marriage makes no sense any more, except in certain religious settings. Instead, I would encourage kids and teens to wait until they're ready, and make it clear that if they're not sure if they're ready, then maybe they're not. Also, make it clear that they can TALK about this stuff with you; keeping secrets and trying to be sexual when your parents aren't going to approve means that there's less communication, and perhaps less of a chance that birth control or STD protection will be used.

    Finally, it's important to keep in mind that we should be teaching our children about sexuality, not sex. If it's just about sex, then we're probably just talking about hetero-sex, and that's pretty exclusive of us. Many kids might be dealing with feelings for the same sex, or many also might be interested in ways to be sexual with a partner without doing "the deed." And sexuality and relationships go hand in hand with sex education.

    So, should you provide condoms to your 14-year-old son? If he's already having sex, then YES. Should you take your daughter to the doctor if she asks to be put on the pill? YES (especially since the pill is commonly prescribed to high school women to treat PCOS or to regulate periods, not to prevent pregnancy). "They shouldn't be having sex!" doesn't do anything except increase the secrecy around having sex. Kids will still do it, even if (and probably partially because) you do not approve.

    Posted by sabend May 27, 09 01:09 PM
  1. I agree with poster #2 - Susan.
    It's TOO LATE to tell him not to have sex?
    This is the typical attitude - they're going to do it anyways, so might as well go along with it.

    POOR PARENTING, that's what it is.

    Posted by Shecky May 27, 09 01:33 PM
  1. No. They should buy their own.

    Posted by Nick Name May 27, 09 01:37 PM
  1. When do 14-year olds have time for sex without adults around to reallize what's going on?

    Posted by pepperlick May 27, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Perhaps a better question would be "would you help raise your grandchild so your child could finish high school?", "would you pay for and take your kid to an abortion?", "do you want to be the parent of a teenage parent?" or "how do you feel about putting your grandchild up for adoption?"

    Abstinence only education is a joke, and keeping the honest answers away from the kids only serves to let the incorrect ones in, which usually leaves somebody knocked up with a hard choice to make.

    Posted by O May 27, 09 01:42 PM
  1. Buying condoms certainly beats paying for an abortion or raising an unwanted child, paying to have genital warts removed, treating syphilis or gonorrhea, or relegating your child to a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy. Condoms should plentiful and free as should the discussion of the absolute necessity of their use, should one choose not to abstain from sex.

    Posted by Dave, Boston May 27, 09 02:15 PM
  1. "It takes a village. " You should certainly talk to the girlfriend's mother (or parents, however is most comfortable for you to approach). And also your son's friends, about any risky behavior that may or may not be going on, or tempting for your kids. Most other parents will be glad you opened up these lines of communication. And you want them to feel comfortable calling you if they have a valid concern or knowledge about something your own child may be involved with.

    And I agree, it's not too late to tell a 14 year old that they should stop having sex.

    Posted by Kelly May 27, 09 02:22 PM
  1. Condoms are cheaper than child support ... that's the motto in our house!

    Posted by suspin May 27, 09 02:25 PM
  1. I had planned on putting my daughter on birth control when she turned 16 year old. Unfortunately, at age 14 1/2 she was taken advantage by a boy at school and became pregnant. For any parent out there that "blames" everyone for what society has become, spend a couple of hours hanging around your Jr. High student's hallways and you will be appalled at what goes on! "I was shocked waiting to meet the principal one day to discuss what was going on in the schools these days". And don't even think it won't happen to your child. My daughter was a straight "A" student, active in the community and sports.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Tina May 27, 09 02:40 PM
  1. You cannot stick your head in the sand and make teen sex go away. My parents tried to no avail, I just lied and sneaked around. My son knows he can come to us about anything - even if it's something we disapprove of, and we will discuss it with him rationally. If he decides to have sex, we won't approve, but we won't pretend it's not going to happen; this is when we all get in the car and ride to the pharmacy and buy the condoms. And while we're there, we my stroll down the baby needs aisle, check out the prices of formula, food, diapers, and the like. It's a teaching opportunity.

    Posted by Lisa May 27, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Parents talking to kids about sex is fine, but why can't these kids buy their own condoms? If they are finding ways to get together to do the deed, they can find their way to the CVS. When I was a kid, my parents had very strict views on premarital sex and asking them to buy me condoms was outrageously out of the question. When I wanted to have sex, I went and bought my own condoms, and if anything that, taught me to be responsible for myself, because you had to say to yourself, "Self, OK, how badly do you want to do this that you're willing to risk embarassment at the drug store to go through with it?" Simply handing the condoms over DOES make the decision to have sex much easier for kids. At the very least, parents, drive the kid to the drugstore and make them make the purchase themselves.

    Posted by lilmonkeybean May 27, 09 03:22 PM
  1. OK here is my thought on that..i think it is a really good idea..My best friends mom whom i call Mom #2 had the best regiment for all of us which resulted in none of us getting pregnat during our teenage years..mom2 had 5 of her own children 6 if you want to count myself out of the 5 3 were girls all of us were in our teenages years together with us all being a gap of 3 yrs max what she used to do is whenever we went out whether it was the mall football games parties she had a jar that was full of condoms and she would make sure each one of us would grab one and any friends that were over too now dont get me wrong it was not her way of saying its okay to ahve sex it was just she knew this is the real world adn if your going to have sex your going to she just wanted to maek sure all of us were safe adn protected whether they get used or not is our choice but at least she gave us the form to protect ourselves ..She used to tell us a story if someone offered ehr condoms when she was younger 2 of the 5 may not have been here and her life may have been alot different although she does not regret anything she has done or her children she doesnt want having sex to result in having children and not necessarily stop us from our hopes adn dreams but reroute them so i think that giving your children condoms is reasonable when your children go through highschool

    Posted by jae May 27, 09 03:51 PM
  1. Here in utah...... Its the mormons.

    Posted by Tiffany May 27, 09 05:01 PM
  1. A 14-year-old having sex is not a good idea...

    But, there are much worse consequences: HIV, other STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.

    Suggestion... Keep a supply of condoms in one of drawers in the bathroom vanity or the medicine cabinet. That way, they are available, if needed. Whoever needs one can just take it. Just like other personal products: Q-tips, new toothbrush, etc.

    I don't agree with a 14-year-old having sex, but if it is going to happen, then it is better if it is protected sex.

    Posted by vinca123 May 27, 09 05:03 PM
  1. I have a 13 year old boy and I can't help but just being totally shocked by the very thought of buying him a condom. And don't tell me my head is in the sand, he would never think to have sex, run around with some girl. I know where he is, he isn't hanging out for hour without adult supervision.

    Yes, at some point during highschool I'm sure this will be an issue, but 14 (and it sounds like this boy has been having sex for a while) is ridiculous. I think if kids are raised with good values and self esteem, they don't grow up this quickly and considering buying condoms at 14 is unnecessary.

    Posted by jay_mor May 27, 09 05:10 PM
  1. I had a serious talk about sex with my son, and separately with his girlfriend's mother. The kids were only 17 at the time and I thought they might be thinking about having sex - I should say I know my son was! The outcome was that I bought him condoms and told him that he shouldn't have sex with her until he knew she was saying yes, had talked with her mom about it, and had her own protection as well. His girlfriend's mom said her daughter hadn't asked for the pill, but she had brought it up to her and they discussed the pros and cons of taking it. We still talk about sexuality, love and sex. If parents and kids talk about this stuff openly, it's easier for everyone to be on the same page.

    Posted by BetsyConn May 27, 09 05:40 PM
  1. edw- Utah is 45th. North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Maine all have lower rates. Nevada is first, and Massachusetts is 40th.

    Posted by Alex G May 27, 09 05:59 PM
  1. I will most definitely make condoms available to my kids.

    Condoms...cheaper than an abortion or ruining your life.

    Posted by c May 27, 09 06:25 PM
  1. since young people consider anything other than vaginal intercourse okay within the 'abstinence' model it would behoove all of us involved in kid's lives to be as upfront and honest as possible, stepping out of our comfort zone for the sake of their wellbeing.

    Posted by keith douglas May 27, 09 10:07 PM
  1. I am a Southern Baptist Devout Christian and I guess a hypocrite. I bought condoms for my son. It was not an easy decision for me. As hard as it was I think it is better than him getting an incurable disease or getting some young girl pregnant.

    Bulldog87, I don't think you're a hypocrite. I think you're a realist. -- LMA

    Posted by bulldog87 May 27, 09 10:37 PM
  1. People need to get real.Sex is a part of our makeup,who we are ingrained in our gene code much like everything else,only the urge,and the feelings,are much more pronounced.It's no mistake these urges manifest themselves in the teen years,but therein lies the problem.Rather than have my child suffer the now even more dangerous after effects of exposure to STD's,I sat down explained everything I could and pleaded with them to never,ever NOT practice safe sex.When I was growing up we spoke only of two diseases caught from casual sex,both readily treatable.Now there are more than I can count,two that go on to cause fatal illness.I'm terrified for the kids.

    Posted by rick smith May 28, 09 06:29 AM
  1. I am glad I discovered your site! As an adolescent medicine physician, I would like to comment that even if kids have engaged in intercourse, they can still choose to abstain or pull back on sexual activity. All is not lost as the mother in your post fears. For many teens that first experience is not so great and they sometimes need permission to "say no the next time" until they feel more prepared. It is never too late to talk about it, usually on a more realistic level once intercourse has happened.

    Posted by http://www.AnnEngellandMD.blogspot.com May 28, 09 09:04 AM
  1. A great post!

    My daughter is still very young, but I intend to do what my mother did. She talked w/us early and often about sex in general and about why premarital sex is a bad idea. She shared w/us all of her beliefs about it (not religious, more around vulnerability, changes a relationship, too young to handle those types of feelings, etc.). She also shared w/us the health consequences of unprotected sex. Then she said this: I don't want you to have sex before you're in a long-term committed relationship and you're older, but *if you choose to have sex before that*, please come to me, and I'll help you get condoms, the pill, etc., b/c the consequences can be dire if you don't.

    It went two ways w/the two girls in our family. One had her first intercourse at 15, the other not 'til 20. Both used contraceptives regularly, neither got an STD or got pregnant, and we're both happily married now, many years later, and ready to repeat the cycle with our own children.

    Cheers, Lylah.

    Posted by Caring Mother May 28, 09 12:32 PM
  1. Massachusetts has a much lower teen birth rate than Utah.
    Look at page 3
    http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/pdf/STBYST07.pdf

    why would we talk to kids about "abstinence"? that sounds like a drug message. Don't we really mean "delay"?

    We want them to have positive and happy and health sex lives when they are mature enough to enjoy it.

    Posted by June Path May 28, 09 01:08 PM
  1. there is no right time to talk to your kids about sex. each kid is different and will experience it at different times. i think the best thing to do is just talk a little at a time and have condoms and birth control ready. its better if they tell you then them sneaking around you. if you tell them not to, do you think they'll really listen? they'll just do it behind your back.

    Posted by molly June 3, 09 09:00 PM
  1. Premarital sex is a part of our lives and our society. I never would have married my husband without testing the waters first. I am going to tell my kids the truth. When they are ready, they are free do it and they should protect themselves. Sex can be wonderful and intimate and I want them to experience all the joys in life. It also brings great consequences and they should feel prepared for that. There's no "right" or "wrong" path here. The choices are all theirs. They would never ask for permission as teenagers and I would be appauled if they did.

    Posted by Sabs June 5, 09 02:03 PM
  1. My name's Anthony, and I'm 16 years old which means so far it looks like I'm the only adolescent posting here. Let me provide you with a window of what you are really dealing with:

    I've been raised into the "Abstinance-only" system: school-sponsored sex ed classes starting in fourth-grade that litter the brain with images of herpes and pubic warts, gruesome videos of child birth, and explicite descriptions of the conciquences of sex including heartbreak, failure and the destruction of every hope and dream you've ever had.

    But Alas- there is one, and ONLY one way to escape from all these dreadful conciquences! Don't let those two sexual parts come in contact. Don't have "Sexual intercourse."

    The definition fo "sexual intercourse" is very loosely defined. Most girls i've talked to HAVE given handjobs. Many HAVE given or recieved oral, and some have even tried anal intercourse because they still believe it preserves their virginity.

    These disturbing videos and one-sided talks from the edjucators of these abstinance-only programs have had a very negative effect on the youth- it's not that we're scared of having sex, it's that we're scared that if you lose your virginity before marriage you'll be shunned by society. Kids are having sex, you can't stop that. We just don't talk about it and come up with flawed methods of hiding it because we either don't know about, or are too emberassed to practice safer sex.

    I think that parents should edjucate kids- schools are doing a horrible job at it. It's not that it's any less comfertable having sex, we just don't feel comfertable talking about it and are thusforth less likely to use contraception. The age when kids should be edjucated: Before it's too late. When a kid is old enough to have sex on their mind, they need to know about the act. When a kid is old enough to think about doing it, they need to know their options of protection, because chances are they're going to do it.

    I'm 16. I buy my own condoms. But I'd like parents to know that buying condoms or birth control isn't encouraging sex, it's encouraging safety and responsibility. Sex is totally accepted in society nowadays, it's either keep your kid safe and in-the-know or prepare for grand kids and very expensive std medications. That's all there is to it.

    Posted by Anthony August 25, 09 03:13 AM
  1. I agree with Anthony.

    I myself am only fourteen... and have lost my virginity to my boyfriend, who's also fourteen, and was also a virgin when we chose to have sex. Before that we did just about everything except actual intercourse.

    Some may say that we're too young, but that doesn't bother me. It was my decision, as well as his.

    In my shcool, they don't teach you about birth control until grade 9. This year I'm going into grade 9, and before the school had the oppurtunity to "teach" me about these things, I became sexually active. I don't think I'm the only one.

    Is 9th grade the REALLY the "right" time to be teaching us? In 8th grade, I had NO form of sex ed at all, because of switching schools.. (I was going to learn about sex ed at one school, but before I could, I switched into another school that had already had their three day long sex ed unit)

    I still feel like I'm really well educated about birth control and the risks of having sex. It's because I felt curious, and wanted to feel more informed. So I researched different birth control methods, how effective they are, and about STDs.

    My parents never really talked to me about safe sex. Just told me not to "go too far" with a boy. Meaning not going beyond holding hands and hugging and occasional kissing. When I started dating, they were especially sure to tell me over and over "no sex. remember that" I'd nod and say, "Yeah ok, I know.." though I never really had much intention to listen to them. And needless to say, they'd never provide me with condoms.

    At some point, my boyfriend got his hands on a condom.
    We didn't use it right away. But as time went on, we got more intimate, and felt closer to each other, and when we were together one night, sort of "fooling around", one thing led to another, and we had sex. Protected sex.

    Here's my point:
    In our situation, if we didn't have a condom, we would not have had sex, no matter how badly we wanted to.
    In another situation, teenagers might NOT be that responsible, and they'll have sex anyway, possibly with misguided conceptions that getting pregnant or catching and STD can't happen after your first time having sex, or that "pulling out" is effective enough to avoid pregnancy.

    So teens should be educated as early as possible. There isn't a certain age where teens are most likely to become sexually active; everyone is different.

    Schools don't provide the best sex ed, so parents NEED to talk to their kids. Even if they're uncomfortable, then seriously - suck it up and just talk to them, unless you want them, and yourself, to have to deal with the extreme consequences.

    Let your kids be able to talk to you openly about their sex life. I'd love it if I could talk about these things with my mom, but sadly, that doesn't feel possible. Sneaking around behind her back isn't that fun. But it also goes to show that, just because you ignore an issue, doesn't mean that it's not there. If someone wants to have sex, they will, whether you want them to or not, or even realize that they are.

    As far as actually providing condoms:
    If I didn't have condoms, I wouldn't have sex. I've only had sex once, when I did have a condom. I AM planning on having sex again, and so I am going to go buy condoms myself. I could never ask my mom to get them for me, and she'd never openly provide them from me.
    However, something that people need to realize:
    Just because I chose to be responsible in that way, doesn't mean other teens will choose to do the same. If they wanted to do it, yet had no protection, and fel ashamed to get it themselvesSo I think providing condoms, as well as having open communication is ideal with teens and sex. Don't even try to force abstinence. Everyone makes this choice on their own. Let teens feel secure, and let them know that they have options, and freedom to choose when they have sex. I think that's what we all want... no one LIKES sneaking around behind their parents back, but we will if we feel that's our only option.

    Posted by Nicole August 26, 09 02:09 AM
  1. im 14 and im always getting whistled at out of cars and everyone says im really pretty. i have a boyfriend and we have been together for a month but were friends for a year before we started dating and i want to go on birth control but i cant buy it without parents permission. i think that is wrong. a lot of people tell u to be precations and use condoms and birth control and all these other things. but the teens these days are sexually active very young some are only 10 or 11 !!! and no one under the age 18 can buy birth control thats wrong since most of the teens these days have already had sex more than once by the age of 18. People wonder why more and more teens are pregnant and this is one of the reasons why... they dont have access to all the precations and if they ask there parents most of them wont be allowed it or some will get beat for this.teens should be able to have access to these things without having to ask for an adults permission.

    Posted by Merlin September 29, 09 12:09 AM
  1. i think that boys who are 14,15,......they should just ask the school nurse for condoms or if not go to your health care center and ask the doctors or nurses for brown bag special.....its that easy!!!all you need to do is think!!!!

    Posted by Joey May 12, 10 12:35 PM
 
46 comments so far...
  1. If kids are old enough to have sex, they are old enough to buy condoms for themselves.

    Posted by Situation May 27, 09 09:03 AM
  1. "“Yes I have to admit: It's my fault as well for not pushing the issue further with her parents. If our children are going to date, then we as parents need to talk to each other and be more responsible!” she writes. But, since the deed has been done, “Too late to tell him not to have any more sex!” she adds."

    This quote is pathetic, frankly. No, it is NOT too late to tell him to stop and talk to him about why -- I'd have to say I imagine a 14 year old would probably be relieved to have someone give him some guidance in this area. And it doesn't have anything to do with HER parents -- she is parenting HER child and should talk to HIM, not her parents. And finally, "dating" does not equal "having sex" -- kids should be talked to about the difference.

    Posted by susan May 27, 09 09:56 AM
  1. Granted, my children are still young enough that the opposite gender is 'icky', but I think the solution is BOTH discussion and providing birth control. Have a meaningful, respectful discussion with your kids. Let them know that you really wish they would wait, and hope they will, but ultimately they are in control of their actions and if they choose not to be abstinent, then they MUST practice safer sex. Show them how to use a condom, take them to the drugstore and make them purchase a box, etc.

    Posted by akmom May 27, 09 09:57 AM
  1. I would consider helping my sixteen or seventeen year old get birth control, but my fourteen year old? No way! That child has been having sex since he was 13 and his mom just accepts that?

    Posted by a parent May 27, 09 09:59 AM
  1. I think it's infinitely easier to by your kid condoms than to find out she has HIV.

    Posted by rosenkranz May 27, 09 10:10 AM
  1. Let me fill you boys and girls in on what was really going on with the old no pre-marital sex.
    First, people then as now wanted to do it. That is why all officialdom was against it. But how were they against it. Simply put, everyone wanted a good girl, not a bad girl. Bad girls put out, good girls did not.
    The same holds true today, but the definition of what a good or bad girl is, has changed and continues to change. But there is more, much more, the real reason couples married younger was not love or such but money and financial freedom. In most states, you the individual were not legally an adult until 25 or in some cases 21. But if you demonstrated adult responsibility, and I am quoting from memory my business law text book, you were an adult and could open a bank account, rent an apartmetn, buy a car.
    Marriage was the most common and extensive (and in some cases only) definaition of being legally an adult, for the usual financial and work related things we all take for granted now.
    This was not entirely disciminatory as it seems, as a contract with a legal minor were not binding. Imagine buying a car and not legally having to apy for it.
    Abstinence had little to do with this, and a close examination between wedding dates and birthdates presents a strong percentage of shotgun weddings.
    You can figure out the rest. And contraception is about 7 centuries old. At least as mentioned in this article. The older methods have been around much, much longer.


    Posted by Wainwright Peregrine May 27, 09 10:19 AM
  1. I have tried to be proactive about discussing reproduction with my kids (who are 8 and 7) in age appropriate ways, at various times in their lives. I see no benefit to having one big 'talk' at a point where it may already be too late. As we get closer to puberty, I will make it very clear that the expectation is 'no sex until marriage'. I will also make it clear, however, that if they feel they cannot wait for some reason that they MUST protect themselves and their partner from disease and pregnancy. If that means marching them bodily into CVS and forcing them to buy condoms, so be it. I do not want to be a grandmother while my sons are in high school, I will make sure that they have every possible weapon at their disposal to ensure this does not happen.

    Posted by BMS May 27, 09 10:34 AM
  1. My daughter was going away for the summer to an on-campus scholastic program at an out of state college. At 16, she had never shown any interest in dating or sex, but a lot can change over the summer when you are on a college campus. We have had lots of discussions about sex and relationships and birth control, most importantly about waiting until you are ready. Before she went away, I bought a box of condoms and a 'Plan B' emergency contraception kit and gave them to her. I sat and talked to her about smart choices, but said now she had no excuse to be a complete idiot. I had friends who thought I was basically telling her 'go out and have sex', but she knows how I feel. I also told her not to let one of her friends get in a bad position and be sure to talk to them if she thought they were about to do something stupid. A year later she still is not interested in sex or dating and is more interested in her studies. I should also say that they have excellent sex ed in her school, centered around healthy decision making. Also, my mom had me when she was a teenager, so she knows the consequences of bad decisions - my mom had to drop out of high school.

    excuse to be stupid.

    Posted by leschmell May 27, 09 10:47 AM
  1. I think we should be taking a look at what Canads is doing, it isobviously working far better than the programs we have been trying!

    Posted by Ashia May 27, 09 11:15 AM
  1. My son is headed for high school next year, and I have already started keeping condoms around for him to freely access, no questions asked. I don't care if I end up supplying the entire high school - more kids using condoms means fewer kids transmitting infections and less chance that my kids will contract an STD when and if they become sexually active.

    Abstinence is a joke of an ideal. It didn't work in "the good old days", obviously, so why the heck do we expect today's kids to respond to ridiculous shame when it has NEVER worked! I view it the same as buying them toothbrushes - I'd like it if they didn't eat sweets, but that isn't realistic. I think it is far better to give kids a good grounding in ethics and realistic education about why people have sex and what the risks are than to risk their health and lives and teach them to have warped relationships like the fully scientifically discredited abstinence only approach does. What next, cut the seatbelts out of the car and tell them not to drive?

    Posted by Infoferret May 27, 09 11:17 AM
  1. I'm going to dispute the statement that "I don't think anyone is disputing that abstinence is the safest and best choice for teenagers."

    If that's true, then abstinence is the "safest and best choice" for everyone, but I don't think you'd try advocating that! For anyone contemplating sexual activity, what I'd call the safest and best choice would be good information, and an an attitude that combines protection and respect for oneself and for one's partner. If people approach it that way, they're behaving like sensible adults; isn't that the way we want our teenagers to arrive at adulthood capable of doing?

    Let's not pretend that the kids are taking the "abstinence" nonsense seriously. It's a choice between sex that's honest and intelligent, and sex that's rushed and surreptitious. Not to mention, in the first case it might be sex with a certain amount of dignity! I'd never push kids into sexual activity if they're uncomfortable with it, but the time does come when just about all of us want to do it. Take away the guilt, and we've got the best chance that they'll act in a responsible way.

    Good points, thank you Gazzer! I'd amend what I wrote to "abstinence is the safest and best choice for avoiding pregnancy and STDs" and I think it should be included in the good information that teenagers learn about sexuality. But I don't think it should be the only message they get. -- LMA

    Posted by Gazzer May 27, 09 11:37 AM
  1. Ok, my kids are now 39,34 & 29, but when each one of them turned 16, one of their birthday gifts from me was a package of condoms, and a talk on why I didn't want them to use them, but that I never wanted them to have unprotected sex.

    I know it sounds like a mixed message, but I really want to stress that I talked with my kids about all the reasons not to be sexually active including HIV/AIDS, which was probably my greatest fear since at the time my children were becoming aware of sex was when that health crisis became a major issue.

    On a humorous note, my oldest children are female, and when my son was 15 he was very excited about his coming birhtday, And he put it "it's my condom year!"

    Posted by Bobbe Anderson May 27, 09 11:37 AM
  1. If he won't buy them himself can you be sure he'd bother to use them?
    Fourteen is awfully young. I don't think most fourteen year old boys even bathe regularly without being encouraged.

    I would absolutely talk to him, his girlfriend and her parents. This is adult behavior and carries adult consequences. Would you just "parent your own child" if you knew they were drinking alcohol? If you don't think you can stop the behavior, you'd better try to manage the fallout.

    Posted by Alice May 27, 09 11:47 AM
  1. I spoke at length with my son about drugs, sex and violence. We had great conversations and he knows to this day he can come to me with anything. I encouraged him to be smart about all of the above but did keep condoms in the house. My biggest threat to him was if you make me a grandmother before I'm 50 I'll kill ya! joking of course. But I think if americans were more open about sex and alcohol like the eurpoeans and not portray it as something dirty things would get better. One thing you can not controll is hormones no matter how much you talk. so it's better to educate them and do it young.

    Posted by Maureen May 27, 09 12:41 PM
  1. The conundrum here is that if you are shocked and dismayed at the thought of whether or not you should provide condoms to your minor children, might you have yourself considered used condoms before they were conceived?

    Let me check my copy of the Talmud... :) Has to be in there...

    Posted by BenWhite May 27, 09 12:42 PM
  1. Utah has one of the lowest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. Whatever they're doing should be tried elsewhere.

    Posted by edw May 27, 09 12:51 PM
  1. I definitely agree that there should be no one big "talk" with kids. Sexuality (not just sex) needs to be something that you and your kids can discuss at various points in their lives, not just when they "should" be having sex or thinking about it. Puberty is a great time to start discussions about sexuality, since you're going to start talking about having a more sexual body anyway.

    Kids certainly shouldn't be encouraged to start having sex ASAP; a lot of kids in high school are having sex because there's a pressure to have sex and "be cool." But to wait until marriage makes no sense any more, except in certain religious settings. Instead, I would encourage kids and teens to wait until they're ready, and make it clear that if they're not sure if they're ready, then maybe they're not. Also, make it clear that they can TALK about this stuff with you; keeping secrets and trying to be sexual when your parents aren't going to approve means that there's less communication, and perhaps less of a chance that birth control or STD protection will be used.

    Finally, it's important to keep in mind that we should be teaching our children about sexuality, not sex. If it's just about sex, then we're probably just talking about hetero-sex, and that's pretty exclusive of us. Many kids might be dealing with feelings for the same sex, or many also might be interested in ways to be sexual with a partner without doing "the deed." And sexuality and relationships go hand in hand with sex education.

    So, should you provide condoms to your 14-year-old son? If he's already having sex, then YES. Should you take your daughter to the doctor if she asks to be put on the pill? YES (especially since the pill is commonly prescribed to high school women to treat PCOS or to regulate periods, not to prevent pregnancy). "They shouldn't be having sex!" doesn't do anything except increase the secrecy around having sex. Kids will still do it, even if (and probably partially because) you do not approve.

    Posted by sabend May 27, 09 01:09 PM
  1. I agree with poster #2 - Susan.
    It's TOO LATE to tell him not to have sex?
    This is the typical attitude - they're going to do it anyways, so might as well go along with it.

    POOR PARENTING, that's what it is.

    Posted by Shecky May 27, 09 01:33 PM
  1. No. They should buy their own.

    Posted by Nick Name May 27, 09 01:37 PM
  1. When do 14-year olds have time for sex without adults around to reallize what's going on?

    Posted by pepperlick May 27, 09 01:38 PM
  1. Perhaps a better question would be "would you help raise your grandchild so your child could finish high school?", "would you pay for and take your kid to an abortion?", "do you want to be the parent of a teenage parent?" or "how do you feel about putting your grandchild up for adoption?"

    Abstinence only education is a joke, and keeping the honest answers away from the kids only serves to let the incorrect ones in, which usually leaves somebody knocked up with a hard choice to make.

    Posted by O May 27, 09 01:42 PM
  1. Buying condoms certainly beats paying for an abortion or raising an unwanted child, paying to have genital warts removed, treating syphilis or gonorrhea, or relegating your child to a lifetime of antiretroviral therapy. Condoms should plentiful and free as should the discussion of the absolute necessity of their use, should one choose not to abstain from sex.

    Posted by Dave, Boston May 27, 09 02:15 PM
  1. "It takes a village. " You should certainly talk to the girlfriend's mother (or parents, however is most comfortable for you to approach). And also your son's friends, about any risky behavior that may or may not be going on, or tempting for your kids. Most other parents will be glad you opened up these lines of communication. And you want them to feel comfortable calling you if they have a valid concern or knowledge about something your own child may be involved with.

    And I agree, it's not too late to tell a 14 year old that they should stop having sex.

    Posted by Kelly May 27, 09 02:22 PM
  1. Condoms are cheaper than child support ... that's the motto in our house!

    Posted by suspin May 27, 09 02:25 PM
  1. I had planned on putting my daughter on birth control when she turned 16 year old. Unfortunately, at age 14 1/2 she was taken advantage by a boy at school and became pregnant. For any parent out there that "blames" everyone for what society has become, spend a couple of hours hanging around your Jr. High student's hallways and you will be appalled at what goes on! "I was shocked waiting to meet the principal one day to discuss what was going on in the schools these days". And don't even think it won't happen to your child. My daughter was a straight "A" student, active in the community and sports.

    Good luck!

    Posted by Tina May 27, 09 02:40 PM
  1. You cannot stick your head in the sand and make teen sex go away. My parents tried to no avail, I just lied and sneaked around. My son knows he can come to us about anything - even if it's something we disapprove of, and we will discuss it with him rationally. If he decides to have sex, we won't approve, but we won't pretend it's not going to happen; this is when we all get in the car and ride to the pharmacy and buy the condoms. And while we're there, we my stroll down the baby needs aisle, check out the prices of formula, food, diapers, and the like. It's a teaching opportunity.

    Posted by Lisa May 27, 09 03:00 PM
  1. Parents talking to kids about sex is fine, but why can't these kids buy their own condoms? If they are finding ways to get together to do the deed, they can find their way to the CVS. When I was a kid, my parents had very strict views on premarital sex and asking them to buy me condoms was outrageously out of the question. When I wanted to have sex, I went and bought my own condoms, and if anything that, taught me to be responsible for myself, because you had to say to yourself, "Self, OK, how badly do you want to do this that you're willing to risk embarassment at the drug store to go through with it?" Simply handing the condoms over DOES make the decision to have sex much easier for kids. At the very least, parents, drive the kid to the drugstore and make them make the purchase themselves.

    Posted by lilmonkeybean May 27, 09 03:22 PM
  1. OK here is my thought on that..i think it is a really good idea..My best friends mom whom i call Mom #2 had the best regiment for all of us which resulted in none of us getting pregnat during our teenage years..mom2 had 5 of her own children 6 if you want to count myself out of the 5 3 were girls all of us were in our teenages years together with us all being a gap of 3 yrs max what she used to do is whenever we went out whether it was the mall football games parties she had a jar that was full of condoms and she would make sure each one of us would grab one and any friends that were over too now dont get me wrong it was not her way of saying its okay to ahve sex it was just she knew this is the real world adn if your going to have sex your going to she just wanted to maek sure all of us were safe adn protected whether they get used or not is our choice but at least she gave us the form to protect ourselves ..She used to tell us a story if someone offered ehr condoms when she was younger 2 of the 5 may not have been here and her life may have been alot different although she does not regret anything she has done or her children she doesnt want having sex to result in having children and not necessarily stop us from our hopes adn dreams but reroute them so i think that giving your children condoms is reasonable when your children go through highschool

    Posted by jae May 27, 09 03:51 PM
  1. Here in utah...... Its the mormons.

    Posted by Tiffany May 27, 09 05:01 PM
  1. A 14-year-old having sex is not a good idea...

    But, there are much worse consequences: HIV, other STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.

    Suggestion... Keep a supply of condoms in one of drawers in the bathroom vanity or the medicine cabinet. That way, they are available, if needed. Whoever needs one can just take it. Just like other personal products: Q-tips, new toothbrush, etc.

    I don't agree with a 14-year-old having sex, but if it is going to happen, then it is better if it is protected sex.

    Posted by vinca123 May 27, 09 05:03 PM
  1. I have a 13 year old boy and I can't help but just being totally shocked by the very thought of buying him a condom. And don't tell me my head is in the sand, he would never think to have sex, run around with some girl. I know where he is, he isn't hanging out for hour without adult supervision.

    Yes, at some point during highschool I'm sure this will be an issue, but 14 (and it sounds like this boy has been having sex for a while) is ridiculous. I think if kids are raised with good values and self esteem, they don't grow up this quickly and considering buying condoms at 14 is unnecessary.

    Posted by jay_mor May 27, 09 05:10 PM
  1. I had a serious talk about sex with my son, and separately with his girlfriend's mother. The kids were only 17 at the time and I thought they might be thinking about having sex - I should say I know my son was! The outcome was that I bought him condoms and told him that he shouldn't have sex with her until he knew she was saying yes, had talked with her mom about it, and had her own protection as well. His girlfriend's mom said her daughter hadn't asked for the pill, but she had brought it up to her and they discussed the pros and cons of taking it. We still talk about sexuality, love and sex. If parents and kids talk about this stuff openly, it's easier for everyone to be on the same page.

    Posted by BetsyConn May 27, 09 05:40 PM
  1. edw- Utah is 45th. North Dakota, Vermont, New Hampshire, Minnesota and Maine all have lower rates. Nevada is first, and Massachusetts is 40th.

    Posted by Alex G May 27, 09 05:59 PM
  1. I will most definitely make condoms available to my kids.

    Condoms...cheaper than an abortion or ruining your life.

    Posted by c May 27, 09 06:25 PM
  1. since young people consider anything other than vaginal intercourse okay within the 'abstinence' model it would behoove all of us involved in kid's lives to be as upfront and honest as possible, stepping out of our comfort zone for the sake of their wellbeing.

    Posted by keith douglas May 27, 09 10:07 PM
  1. I am a Southern Baptist Devout Christian and I guess a hypocrite. I bought condoms for my son. It was not an easy decision for me. As hard as it was I think it is better than him getting an incurable disease or getting some young girl pregnant.

    Bulldog87, I don't think you're a hypocrite. I think you're a realist. -- LMA

    Posted by bulldog87 May 27, 09 10:37 PM
  1. People need to get real.Sex is a part of our makeup,who we are ingrained in our gene code much like everything else,only the urge,and the feelings,are much more pronounced.It's no mistake these urges manifest themselves in the teen years,but therein lies the problem.Rather than have my child suffer the now even more dangerous after effects of exposure to STD's,I sat down explained everything I could and pleaded with them to never,ever NOT practice safe sex.When I was growing up we spoke only of two diseases caught from casual sex,both readily treatable.Now there are more than I can count,two that go on to cause fatal illness.I'm terrified for the kids.

    Posted by rick smith May 28, 09 06:29 AM
  1. I am glad I discovered your site! As an adolescent medicine physician, I would like to comment that even if kids have engaged in intercourse, they can still choose to abstain or pull back on sexual activity. All is not lost as the mother in your post fears. For many teens that first experience is not so great and they sometimes need permission to "say no the next time" until they feel more prepared. It is never too late to talk about it, usually on a more realistic level once intercourse has happened.

    Posted by http://www.AnnEngellandMD.blogspot.com May 28, 09 09:04 AM
  1. A great post!

    My daughter is still very young, but I intend to do what my mother did. She talked w/us early and often about sex in general and about why premarital sex is a bad idea. She shared w/us all of her beliefs about it (not religious, more around vulnerability, changes a relationship, too young to handle those types of feelings, etc.). She also shared w/us the health consequences of unprotected sex. Then she said this: I don't want you to have sex before you're in a long-term committed relationship and you're older, but *if you choose to have sex before that*, please come to me, and I'll help you get condoms, the pill, etc., b/c the consequences can be dire if you don't.

    It went two ways w/the two girls in our family. One had her first intercourse at 15, the other not 'til 20. Both used contraceptives regularly, neither got an STD or got pregnant, and we're both happily married now, many years later, and ready to repeat the cycle with our own children.

    Cheers, Lylah.

    Posted by Caring Mother May 28, 09 12:32 PM
  1. Massachusetts has a much lower teen birth rate than Utah.
    Look at page 3
    http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/national-data/pdf/STBYST07.pdf

    why would we talk to kids about "abstinence"? that sounds like a drug message. Don't we really mean "delay"?

    We want them to have positive and happy and health sex lives when they are mature enough to enjoy it.

    Posted by June Path May 28, 09 01:08 PM
  1. there is no right time to talk to your kids about sex. each kid is different and will experience it at different times. i think the best thing to do is just talk a little at a time and have condoms and birth control ready. its better if they tell you then them sneaking around you. if you tell them not to, do you think they'll really listen? they'll just do it behind your back.

    Posted by molly June 3, 09 09:00 PM
  1. Premarital sex is a part of our lives and our society. I never would have married my husband without testing the waters first. I am going to tell my kids the truth. When they are ready, they are free do it and they should protect themselves. Sex can be wonderful and intimate and I want them to experience all the joys in life. It also brings great consequences and they should feel prepared for that. There's no "right" or "wrong" path here. The choices are all theirs. They would never ask for permission as teenagers and I would be appauled if they did.

    Posted by Sabs June 5, 09 02:03 PM
  1. My name's Anthony, and I'm 16 years old which means so far it looks like I'm the only adolescent posting here. Let me provide you with a window of what you are really dealing with:

    I've been raised into the "Abstinance-only" system: school-sponsored sex ed classes starting in fourth-grade that litter the brain with images of herpes and pubic warts, gruesome videos of child birth, and explicite descriptions of the conciquences of sex including heartbreak, failure and the destruction of every hope and dream you've ever had.

    But Alas- there is one, and ONLY one way to escape from all these dreadful conciquences! Don't let those two sexual parts come in contact. Don't have "Sexual intercourse."

    The definition fo "sexual intercourse" is very loosely defined. Most girls i've talked to HAVE given handjobs. Many HAVE given or recieved oral, and some have even tried anal intercourse because they still believe it preserves their virginity.

    These disturbing videos and one-sided talks from the edjucators of these abstinance-only programs have had a very negative effect on the youth- it's not that we're scared of having sex, it's that we're scared that if you lose your virginity before marriage you'll be shunned by society. Kids are having sex, you can't stop that. We just don't talk about it and come up with flawed methods of hiding it because we either don't know about, or are too emberassed to practice safer sex.

    I think that parents should edjucate kids- schools are doing a horrible job at it. It's not that it's any less comfertable having sex, we just don't feel comfertable talking about it and are thusforth less likely to use contraception. The age when kids should be edjucated: Before it's too late. When a kid is old enough to have sex on their mind, they need to know about the act. When a kid is old enough to think about doing it, they need to know their options of protection, because chances are they're going to do it.

    I'm 16. I buy my own condoms. But I'd like parents to know that buying condoms or birth control isn't encouraging sex, it's encouraging safety and responsibility. Sex is totally accepted in society nowadays, it's either keep your kid safe and in-the-know or prepare for grand kids and very expensive std medications. That's all there is to it.

    Posted by Anthony August 25, 09 03:13 AM
  1. I agree with Anthony.

    I myself am only fourteen... and have lost my virginity to my boyfriend, who's also fourteen, and was also a virgin when we chose to have sex. Before that we did just about everything except actual intercourse.

    Some may say that we're too young, but that doesn't bother me. It was my decision, as well as his.

    In my shcool, they don't teach you about birth control until grade 9. This year I'm going into grade 9, and before the school had the oppurtunity to "teach" me about these things, I became sexually active. I don't think I'm the only one.

    Is 9th grade the REALLY the "right" time to be teaching us? In 8th grade, I had NO form of sex ed at all, because of switching schools.. (I was going to learn about sex ed at one school, but before I could, I switched into another school that had already had their three day long sex ed unit)

    I still feel like I'm really well educated about birth control and the risks of having sex. It's because I felt curious, and wanted to feel more informed. So I researched different birth control methods, how effective they are, and about STDs.

    My parents never really talked to me about safe sex. Just told me not to "go too far" with a boy. Meaning not going beyond holding hands and hugging and occasional kissing. When I started dating, they were especially sure to tell me over and over "no sex. remember that" I'd nod and say, "Yeah ok, I know.." though I never really had much intention to listen to them. And needless to say, they'd never provide me with condoms.

    At some point, my boyfriend got his hands on a condom.
    We didn't use it right away. But as time went on, we got more intimate, and felt closer to each other, and when we were together one night, sort of "fooling around", one thing led to another, and we had sex. Protected sex.

    Here's my point:
    In our situation, if we didn't have a condom, we would not have had sex, no matter how badly we wanted to.
    In another situation, teenagers might NOT be that responsible, and they'll have sex anyway, possibly with misguided conceptions that getting pregnant or catching and STD can't happen after your first time having sex, or that "pulling out" is effective enough to avoid pregnancy.

    So teens should be educated as early as possible. There isn't a certain age where teens are most likely to become sexually active; everyone is different.

    Schools don't provide the best sex ed, so parents NEED to talk to their kids. Even if they're uncomfortable, then seriously - suck it up and just talk to them, unless you want them, and yourself, to have to deal with the extreme consequences.

    Let your kids be able to talk to you openly about their sex life. I'd love it if I could talk about these things with my mom, but sadly, that doesn't feel possible. Sneaking around behind her back isn't that fun. But it also goes to show that, just because you ignore an issue, doesn't mean that it's not there. If someone wants to have sex, they will, whether you want them to or not, or even realize that they are.

    As far as actually providing condoms:
    If I didn't have condoms, I wouldn't have sex. I've only had sex once, when I did have a condom. I AM planning on having sex again, and so I am going to go buy condoms myself. I could never ask my mom to get them for me, and she'd never openly provide them from me.
    However, something that people need to realize:
    Just because I chose to be responsible in that way, doesn't mean other teens will choose to do the same. If they wanted to do it, yet had no protection, and fel ashamed to get it themselvesSo I think providing condoms, as well as having open communication is ideal with teens and sex. Don't even try to force abstinence. Everyone makes this choice on their own. Let teens feel secure, and let them know that they have options, and freedom to choose when they have sex. I think that's what we all want... no one LIKES sneaking around behind their parents back, but we will if we feel that's our only option.

    Posted by Nicole August 26, 09 02:09 AM
  1. im 14 and im always getting whistled at out of cars and everyone says im really pretty. i have a boyfriend and we have been together for a month but were friends for a year before we started dating and i want to go on birth control but i cant buy it without parents permission. i think that is wrong. a lot of people tell u to be precations and use condoms and birth control and all these other things. but the teens these days are sexually active very young some are only 10 or 11 !!! and no one under the age 18 can buy birth control thats wrong since most of the teens these days have already had sex more than once by the age of 18. People wonder why more and more teens are pregnant and this is one of the reasons why... they dont have access to all the precations and if they ask there parents most of them wont be allowed it or some will get beat for this.teens should be able to have access to these things without having to ask for an adults permission.

    Posted by Merlin September 29, 09 12:09 AM
  1. i think that boys who are 14,15,......they should just ask the school nurse for condoms or if not go to your health care center and ask the doctors or nurses for brown bag special.....its that easy!!!all you need to do is think!!!!

    Posted by Joey May 12, 10 12:35 PM
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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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