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Sexual health Kids and oral sex

A manicurist in Minneapolis says many of her clients who are parents of teens are talking about kids and oral sex. “They don’t know how to address this,” Diane says.

Honest conversations between young people and their parents, as tough as it might be, helps kids make smart choices. Consider these facts:

Talk early and often
• Oral sex is common among some young people by eighth and ninth grade.1

• Preteens and teens say their main sources of information about sex, HIV/AIDS, violence, and drugs and alcohol are entertainment media – television, movies and music.2 Watch for everyday opportunities to talk about sexual health so you can share your values.

Kids want to talk
• Sixty-six percent of 10- to 12-year olds wanted to know more about STDs.3

• Fifty four percent of 10- to 12-year olds wanted to know more about when they will be ready to have a sexual relationship. 4

Parents can make a difference
• Seventy-seven percent of parents of eight- to 12-year olds say families do not talk enough about relationships and becoming sexually active. 5

• When parents talk with their children about sexuality, and their conversations include topics such as values, relationships and birth control, those young people are more likely to delay sexual intercourse.6

The book Words Can Work: When Talking With Kids About Sexual Health offers questions to help open up a conversation with children about sex, values, relationships, oral sex, sexually transmitted infections, and more.

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1. New York Times, Friends With Benefits May 30, 2004
2, 3, 4, 5. Kaiser Family Foundation and Children Now. National Surveys 1997.
6. Miller KS, Levin ML, Whitaker DJ, Xu X, American Journal of Public Health, VOL 88, pp. 1542-1544

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Words Can Work: When Talking With Kids About Sexual Health - Book
Families tell true stories about discussing sexual health. Teens, in first-person accounts, take readers into their world.
In Our Own Words: Teens and AIDS - VHS/DVD
Teens infected with HIV through unprotected intercourse discuss denial, condoms, postponing sex, and how alcohol affects decision-making.
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