Talking to your parents about healthy relationships and sex can be hard.
Have you had a conversation with your parents about sexual health? Has it felt like the right moment?
In our community, talking about sex has never been easy for both parents and teenagers (and sometimes, even children as adults!). We all have different reasons for why we delay talking about sexual health with our families, but it’s important that both sides understand why it’s important to talk about these things.
Why should we talk about sexual health?
Talking to your parents about sexual health can open up a space to have important conversations about your overall health and future. These conversations can also help you feel like you can live more openly with your family.
As young people, we tend to experiment on our own when we are curious about something, and want to learn more about it. We also have access to so much information online and this can be really overwhelming, and we don’t always know what to do with it. We want to get out in the world and learn about what things are true, what works for us, and what we like.
Wouldn’t it be better if we could have conversations beforehand with our parents to better prepare everyone for new relationships and experiences?
Talking about sexual health with your family gives everyone the opportunity to ask questions, clear up misconceptions, talk about respect, how to set boundaries and expectations, and find better ways to protect everyone, emotionally and physically.
It may be awkward and uncomfortable for everyone at first (or even for a while)… But in the long run, if we are courageous enough to take this first step, we can significantly improve our sexual health and overall health, and learn to develop healthy relationships.
To have a healthy relationship, there needs to be respect, honesty, trust, openness, communication, and love.
In a healthy relationship, mutual respect is key. It is important that each person trusts one another, respects one another, and loves openly and honestly.
If we don’t allow ourselves to create the spaces in our families to talk about these things, our sexual health suffers. It is important that when we talk about sexual health in our families, both parents and teenagers understand that they play a role in setting the tone and boundaries of the conversation.
Ultimately, these conversations can help improve our relationships and health.
CANFAR partnered with the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention (ASAAP) on Heart to Heart, a project that aims to foster conversation around sexual health among South Asian youth and their families.
This video shows how teenagers feel talking about sexual health with their parents. Some families are not open to talking about sexual health – they would prefer that schools teach their kids. And then there are some families that are open, but perhaps to an extent.
In the South Asian community, not all families are educated or have the medical knowledge to speak to their children. We hope that this video can be used as a resource to help you think about what healthy relationships mean, what sexual myths you’ve been told, and what parents can do to help initiate or have the conversation of healthy relationships and sexual health with their children.