Talking with Teens About Sex

We developed a 28 page “script”, Talking With Teens About Sex, to provide information and encouragement to health, counseling and school staff so they can more confidently counsel teens about their sex lives and relationships.

 

We invite you to download and use the Talking with Teens About Sex script, making whatever changes or additions that best serve your needs.

Whether teens are watching television, listening to music or surfing the internet, they cannot avoid constant sexual images, attitudes and behaviors.  It is imperative that we, as adults, provide a balance to what they see in the media in order to help them stay safe and healthy.  The vision of the Somerset County Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program is that every teen have the information and support he or she needs to make healthy decisions about sexual behavior and relationships, and the support and guidance of a caring adult.

We urge the teens we teach and counsel to talk to their parents, but many do not feel that they can.  If parents are not available, we hope another caring adult will step up to the challenge.

Intended users: the Talking With Teens About Sex script is meant for use by school faculty and support staff, the school nurse and guidance counselors, and physicians and other medical personnel who know and are trusted by teens.  We know that talking with teens about sex can be very challenging for many adults.  Even physicians have told us that they don’t feel confident in this area, and many professionals think it would be difficult to add these discussions to the other necessary interactions they must have with teens.

Goals: Therefore, our goal in the “Script” project is to put the essential information about teen sex and relationships in one document and provide a series of questions that will open and direct discussions/guidance of key topics.

Development process: Talking with Teens About Sex  is a 28 page document developed by our collaborator, Kennebec Valley Community Action Program’s Health Services Department, with grants from Maine-based foundations.  We reviewed it in a rehearsal with our Advisory Board and two teens, revised it, and developed a half-hour training for it.  We conducted the training with a variety of audiences including social service providers, school nurses, school support staff and faculty, physicians, and health and counseling center staff.  Feedback from surveys of those we trained and anecdotal reports from users of the Script are highly positive.

Content: The first part of the Script is in the format of questions to start the conversation and then material on how to proceed and what guidance/information to provide.  This format starts with questions to bring up the subject of sexual activity, then proceeds to questions to discuss birth control, barriers to using birth control, sexually transmitted disease prevention, and romantic relationships.

The middle section of the Script includes information about Maine laws relating to sex and pregnancy and information about the local family planning clinic.

The last section of the Script includes resources in cases of domestic violence/sexual assault, teaching material that supports abstinence decisions by teens, information about sexually transmitted diseases and birth control options,

We invite you to download and use the Script, making whatever changes or additions that best serve your needs.

In addition, we promote use of the Project Connect Safety Cards about healthy relationships to Script users.  The Safety Cards are a project of the Futures Without Violence program, Project Connect: A Coordinated Public Health Initiative to Prevent Violence against Women.  Project Connect  is a national initiative authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 2005 and funded by the Office on Women’s Health with support from the Administration for Children and Families.  Project Connet’s goal is to change how adolescent health, reproductive health, and home visiting programs respond to sexual and domestic violence.  Maine is one of nine states funded by project Connect to implement these changes, thus the safety cards for teens are available to us.