A recent study has shown that while teenage sexual activity has gone down overall in the U.S., one-third of high school students (equally male and female) are engaging in sexual activity. And with hormones running rampant, teenage girls can discover they can use their sexuality to get what they want.
However, utilizing their body as a form of currency will create a warped sense of self in your daughter. So whether your daughter is using her sexuality to get people to like her, or more dangerously using her body to gain access to illegal substances at parties, you need to take steps to de-weaponize your daughter’s sexuality and help her learn how to develop a healthy relationship with herself and others.
Open Up The Lines Of Communication
To uncover potentially dangerous or misguided sexual activity in your teen, there are a number of topics you can discuss with her to open a healthy and safe dialogue between the two of you. It’s important to remember that increased sexual activity doesn’t come out of no where; there are often underlying issues of low self-esteem, trust, or simply a lack of understanding. These conversations will help you to uncover the root of your teens sexual activity so you can help them (or find them help) heal and grow to a more rewarding potential.
- Physical Affects of Sex – Before you dive deep into the many sexual health-related topics that you can cover with your daughter, make sure she understands the mechanics behind the physical affects of sex. Along with going over sexually transmitted disease and pregnancy, also go over prevention methods. Even if your home promotes sexual abstinence before marriage, it is best for your teenage daughters to be completely informed on how to protect themselves if they choose to behave differently. That way they can stay physically safe from some of the affects of sex.
- Emotional Affects of Sex – While your daughter’s health class may briefly go over the physical dangers of sex, many teens learn too late about the emotional effects of sex. Teenage girls who engaged in sex most of the time find that they develop deep feelings of attachments to their sexual partner. However, with young men, the strength of attachment can be very much one-way. Even when the young woman’s feelings are reciprocated, it can be detrimental to both parties. By forming deep attachments so early in life, the couple can cut themselves off from feeling the need to make other friends outside the relationship, which in turn can lead to other problems.
- Unhealthy Sexual Relationships – Teenage relationships, where both parties are still discovering themselves and dealing with high emotions, can lead to unhealthy relationships both sexually or non-sexual. One in three teens are abused by a romantic partner in one way or another. That is a horrifyingly high number. Go over the facts with your daughter and make sure she knows how to recognize an unhealthy relationship.
- Healthy Sexual Relationships – Along with knowing the darker side of sexual relationships, you will want to discuss with your daughter what a healthy sexual relationship looks like. Talk about how to set boundaries and discuss preferences with their sexual partner. Have conversations about consent: what it is and who is able to give consent.
- Self Worth – Girls can often fall into the trap of believing their bodies are their selling point for finding acceptance when really their brains, talents, abilities, empathy, and emotional strength are priceless. This can be a multi-faceted conversation that can branch into you helping your daughter find ways to build her self-esteem. Be sure she understands that the healthiest sexual relationships are when both parties have strong senses of their individual self-worth.
If You Need Help Talking To Your Teen…
There are resources to help you and your daughter as you work together to recognize and change damaging behavior. Some of the things you might do are:
- Therapy (individual and family)
- Church youth program involvement
- Therapeutic boarding school
- Parenting groups (online or in-person)
- Change schools/new environment
Should your daughter be deeply engaged in activities that you feel are beyond your current resources, we here at Help Your Teen Now are ready to help. You don’t have to do this on your own.