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Oct 04, 2017

Let's Talk About Sex

Written by Dr. Caroline Leaf

The emotional/chemical bonding that a relationship produces in our brains is certainly wonderful, but it can be challenging for teenagers who are casually dating, especially when it comes to sexual intimacy.

It is incredibly important to be open and understanding when it comes to talking about sex. We need to have honest conversations with our children. We need to listen, and respond, in love.

But where do you, as a parent or guardian, start? How do you talk about something that is intimate, private and, well, challenging to talk about? Science is always a great way to begin the discussion. Talking about the why, rather than merely issuing commands or threats, allows you to truly have a loving conversation with your child.

Below are some great brainy tips to get the discussion started:  

1. Listen- let your teenager talk without adding your opinion in and without judgement. This will help foster conversation and ultimately trust. When your teenager knows that they can trust you they will come to you for help and advice.

2. Talk about science. Teaching your teenager about chemicals, for example, can help them to make wiser choices. Here are some interesting facts to talk about:

  • Before the age of 18, a twenty-second hug can trigger a series of chemical reactions and sexual arousal. Teenagers don’t have mature “extension cords” running from the amygdala to the prefrontal cortex, so their ability to control their passion is limited.
  • The intensity of sexual activity among teenagers, once triggered, outweighs their ability to control them, since their brains are not fully developed.
  • Multiple relationships at a young age can be confusing in the long-run. Your brain gets confused, since every time you have sex with someone a chemical bond is formed, which can impact future relationships. 
  • Sex is incredibly psychological. Unlike the movies, someone’s first time can be fearful and painful (especially for females) due to stress, worry or fear. It doesn’t always feel like “magic."  
  • Thoughts and emotions can dramatically affect the amount of sexual pleasure involved in the act of sex, particularly if there is the fear of getting caught, pregnant or contracting a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).
3. Be open about your own experineces. Your children will appreciate your honesty more than you can imagine, and will be more willing to open up to you about their feelings and experineces. 

 

For more on relationships, check out Who Switched off Your Brain. A digital download is also available.

Blessings,

Caroline

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