Jessica Weiner, author of A Very Hungry Girl, says things have changed and that teens and pre-teens are engaging in sexual behavior at much earlier ages than their parents or older siblings.
She points largely to media influence and easy access to the Internet. "Practically every teenager that I talk to now has not a clue why they're having oral sex, but [says] that it's no big deal. It's becoming incredibly casual."
Jessica says sex needs to become a larger part of everyday discourse between parents and children. "There is no harm in education—nothing poor ever comes from education," Jessica says. "These kids, once they're educated, they become empowered and they want to make the right decision. We need to give them the tools to do that."
Jessica offers some tips for parents who want to begin talking with their children:
Successful dialogues between parents and children are those that happen continually. "It's a constant conversation," Jessica says, and should be integrated into your life in all areas.
All the sex that airs on television—those are teachable moments. Use those moments to open up dialogue.
Conversations will be messy. "It's not going to be a Hallmark moment," Jessica says.
Let the conversation flow—don't shy away from topics you think may be uncomfortable. Be open, honest and real.