Talk to Your Daughter

Your little girl is growing up. Now it's time to arm her with the information she needs to stay safe. 

Talking Points

Contraception is worth it. 

Over half of teens surveyed think that it doesn’t matter if you use birth control or not. Girls thinking “it’s not worth the trouble” to use contraception should know that there are methods that are up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

Don’t warn that “all guys want is sex.” 

Villainizing teen boys may seem like an easy way to get your daughter to be cautious about her sexual decisions, but unfortunately, this trope often has the opposite effect. If your daughter is taught that guys only want one thing, then it’s no big surprise that when she really likes a guy, she might try to get him to reciprocate those feelings by offering him the “only thing” she thinks he wants. 

Teach your daughter that men have feelings too, and that any guy worthy of her will value her companionship, her intelligence, and her sense of humor as much as her body. If indeed, the only thing a guy wants her for is sex, and he doesn’t show that he values her in other ways, teach her that she should run in the opposite direction. 

Making guys out to be single-minded horndogs also has another, unintended consequence: it encourages the “hookup” culture of casual sex. When girls think that boys don’t want an actual relationship with them, only sex, they sometimes think their best bet is to have casual sex “like a guy” so they won’t be vulnerable. If they were never invested in a relationship, then they can’t be sad when a relationship ends. 

Praise her for attributes other than her appearance. 

Most of the positive messages young women receive are about their appearance. Make sure your daughter knows that she has many different talents and strengths so that she doesn’t think her sexuality is the only thing she has to offer. 

Having sex with someone won’t make them love you. 

Let her know that if a relationship isn’t strong before sex, sex won’t magically change the way her partner feels about her or make him fall in love with her. Sex might intensify feelings sometimes, but it will not create them. 

Asking a guy to use a condom won’t change the way he feels. 

If he likes her, he won’t stop liking her just because she wants him to wear a condom. 

The consequences of unprotected sex go beyond pregnancy. 

Safer sex should be a given for guys and girls, but unfortunately, the consequences for reckless sexual behavior can affect all aspects of your daughter’s life. Women are much more likely to contract an STI from unsafe sex than men are. Not only that, if she does get pregnant, she’s less likely to finish high school, more likely to live in poverty, and her child is more likely to have a low birth weight. For these reasons, girls often have to be their own best advocates when it comes to safer sex, and she shouldn’t just rely on her partner to have a condom handy. 

What does she already know?

There are some things that your daughter will learn in her sex-ed class in school. Make sure you're filling in the gaps.