Talking about sex to children: that's why it's important


In Del Paese there is no sex education at school (except for sporadic initiatives), and even in the family sex is still basically a taboo. But whether we like it or not, sooner or later, our children will also experience the season of first loves and the fateful first time will come for them too. To avoid that they rely only on the internet and word of mouth it is important to find the right words to talk about sex, so that they can live it more consciously and without running risks (unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases).

Parents and children do not confront each other on sexual issues

According to a survey carried out by the Del Paesena Society of Gynecology and Obstetrics (Sigo), sexuality and contraception remain taboo in one in three Del Paesena families. And parents are not very aware of their children's sex life: the vast majority are convinced that they have not yet had sexual intercourse even if in reality they are already sexually active (not all of them, of course). But being sexually active doesn't mean being properly prepared for the importance of having safe intercourse.

Teens failed the safe sex exam

A survey of 1400 young people carried out in 2022 by the National Observatory on Childhood and Adolescent Health (Paidòss) revealed that Del Paeseni adolescents discover sex more and more precociously but they are essentially unprepared when they experience their first sexual experiences (before the age of 14 in 19% of cases): they know little about sexually transmitted infections and how to protect themselves. Far less than half (35% of males and 29% of females) use condoms, for example. “The condom, on the other hand, should be a habit - affirms Paolo Scollo, president of Sigo -, a normal protection measure. Yet taboos still resist, in the family as well as at school ”. With the result that misinformation and misbehavior increase the risk of unwanted pregnancies and contracting diseases.

A study carried out by the Ca 'Foscari University of Venice has highlighted, for example, that the adolescents Del Paeseni they are quite confused about AIDS: 37,5% of the 14-18 year olds surveyed believe that mosquitoes can transmit HIV (although they believe it rarely happens), while 36,5% consider the pill and spiral to be effective alternatives to condoms to prevent the contagion. “In short, there is a need for sex education, but sex education is a divisive issue. Again ”points out the gynecologist, who has just presented to the undersecretary of MIUR, Davide Faraone, an educational project, for middle and high schools, for the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases.


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Do not postpone the confrontation with your children on issues related to sexuality

We must therefore overcome the embarrassment of addressing the subject and stop believing that, after all, it is too early to talk about sex. As Anna Oliverio Ferraris, professor of developmental psychology at Sapienza di della città explains, in the book "Your son and sex" (Bur 2022), sexuality is an aspect of development that involves the person at various levels - sensorial, social, cognitive, affective, moral and emotional - and it cannot be afforded to ignore it in the course of raising children. "Educating about sexuality does not mean giving children and adolescents precise indications, rules and constraints, but it means helping them to follow their path with positivity and naturalness". Therefore, find the best way to explain that there are personal boundaries and social norms to be respected, to make free and responsible choices towards oneself and others and establish equal relationships, in mutual respect between partners: for example, you cannot touch anyone yes, no one should feel obliged to do what they don't feel like doing and, in other words, no compulsion should be at the basis of a sexual relationship. It means, therefore, teach respect for oneself and for others, guide them to discover their own body (which changes during puberty) and their feelings, educate to affectivity, explain "the dangers that can be run and the risks of early and unprotected sexual intercourse". A single unprotected relationship is enough - recalls Oliverio Ferraris - to contract a sexual disease, including AIDS. Therefore, even the first time, the necessary precautions must be taken ". As for the condom, the psychologist reiterates, the message to be passed on is simple: "you have to use it".

Dialogue promotes safe sex

From this point of view, dialogue seems to bear fruit. In fact, an article published in Jama Pediatrics highlighted that communication between parents and children, that is, discussing problems and aspects concerning sex, is a factor that can contribute to developing more responsible behaviors, as regards the use of contraception and condoms.

By reviewing data collected over the past 30 years in 52 studies involving over 25.000 adolescents, researchers at North Carolina State University found a positive effect in terms of safe sex among adolescents, particularly among girls. , who have discussed sex with their parents, mothers in particular.

Research has also dispelled fears that sex education could lead young people to have a more intense or earlier sex life. On the contrary. The Unesco report The International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education clearly indicates that sex education tends to delay the first sexual experiences, it reduces the frequency of intercourse with different partners and promotes greater prevention in favor of health.

In short, sex shouldn't be a taboo between parents and children.

After all, "only through knowledge, awareness and adequate education can serious health problems be avoided and sexuality lived to the fullest", reiterates Scollo, who also recalls the role of gynecologists in helping parents to calmly deal with their own children and accompanying young people to experience sex safely.

See also the video: teens between sex and love

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