Paul Opondo, an anthropologist gives the following tips for addressing teenage sexuality.
Always start early: Make sex education something continuous, and which addresses the curiosity of children from an early age. As they transit into teenage-hood, they develop newer curiosities that you should monitor and address in good time. Start as early as when they are five years of age. This will make things easier when they are teenagers.
Teach by example: Morality and sex lessons are best taught by example. Teenagers learn by observing the attitudes and behaviour of parents and those they look up to. Parents need to be caring and send the strongest message possible about sex, and be role-models in what they do and say.
Take their feelings seriously: Adolescents have feelings. And they scarcely know how to manage these feelings. When adults take teenagers for granted, they sulk, and this can be detrimental. Adults need to identify and monitor adolescents’ moods, and determine what is driving them. This is the age at which young people build their esteem, and their sex life is integral to their esteem. Let us bolster it, by being sensitive to their feelings.
Be positive in the instructions: Many a time, we associate sex with unwanted pregnancies and scary sexually transmitted diseases, and we rarely talk about the benefits of sex, when it is done at the right time and the right place. Focusing on the negative has not been a sufficient deterrent. We should teach children the essence of proper timing and the right partner. Let us not make them feel guilty about any sexual experiment, but rather guide them towards proper sexual etiquette. We should not frown upon inappropriate behaviour if we bust them. We should teach them that sex is an expression of love and is supposed to be fun and fulfilling.
Do it the old way: It pays to be old fashioned, but not in a rigid way. When it comes to sex, there is no such thing as ‘old fashioned’. Teenagers know the limits, but it is better if you remind them. They tend to embrace the rules more if you offer direction. We should focus on introducing sex to young ones when they are old enough and teaching them values so that they can respect their bodies. And so that boys do not grow up looking at girls as play things.
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