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12-Year-Olds Are Having Sex

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What can moms do to prevent our kids from taking the same path?

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A newly released study is completely freaking us out.

Middle school youth are engaging in sexual intercourse as early as age 12, according to the study by researchers at The University of Texas School of Public Health. According to their research, by age 12, 12 percent of students had already engaged in vaginal sex, 7.9 percent in oral sex, 6.5 percent in anal sex and 4 percent in all three types of intercourse.

Results from this study are published in the April issue of Journal of School Health.

The study found one-third of sexually active students reported engaging in vaginal or anal sex without a condom within the past three months, and one-fourth had four or more partners.

"We need to develop prevention programs that address the needs of students who are not yet sexually active in order to promote skills and attitudes to help them wait until they are older to have sex," Christine Markham, Ph.D., assistant professor of behavioral science at the UT School of Public Health said in a press release. "And we need to provide skills and knowledge related to condoms and contraception for youth who are already sexually active."

These findings clearly indicate the need for open discussion about sexual health at the middle school level, Markham said. "It is critical that health education teachers and school nurses feel comfortable addressing these issues with their students and that their efforts are supported by parents and the school administration," she added.

But of course some of the responsibility lies on us as parents, too. It's important to create an open dialogue, but talking to your teens about sex is never easy. But these five tips from psychologist Pamela Varady can help parents get the ball rolling.

Start early.
The earlier you talk to your kids about sex, the more informed your child will be and the more comfortable they will feel about coming to you with questions. Plus, future conversations will be much, much easier if you start young.

Let them know your values.
Teenagers want guidance from their parents, whether they admit it or not. Don't be afraid to tell them your own views on sex.

Teach teens about emotional intimacy, too.
Sex talks tend to focus on the physical. But you can also tell your child that you feel sex should occur in the context of an intimate relationship, and why.

Don't lecture.
A lecture instantly turns the conversation from two-way to one-way. Talking to your teen about sex effectively has to be a give-and-take. Remember to ask a lot of questions, and encourage your teen to do the same.

Relieve the pressure.
If your child has difficulty opening up, try initiating the conversation while you're doing something else, such as taking a walk or shooting hoops. Being involved in an activity while you talk will take a lot of the pressure off.

Parents of tweens and teens: What do you think about this study?

next: Note from School: Your Kid's Fat!
84 comments so far | Post a comment now
Anonymous January 10, 2010, 2:15 PM

make sure they know about condoms

Gracie January 14, 2010, 7:05 PM

I’m 12 and I’m soon to start having sex. I am ready and I have found this amazing guy who I love, he has lost his virginity so he knows what he’s doing :) but I’m sorta scared but I can push through it.
I think 12-17 yr old should have sex cause all it means is that were growing up that’s all, yes we know about the risks and things that could happen but we don’t need our sex lives run by parents.
So just let us do what we thinks right. Plus were going to have it sooner or later. :)

Storm February 3, 2010, 4:42 PM

Im 12 i Had Vaginal Sex and oral Sex…

John G. February 11, 2010, 12:05 AM

U guys r late im sexually active im bi can u change it no so save ur child from sex….Hell no sex ROCKS

John G. February 11, 2010, 12:06 AM

U guys r late im sexually active im bi can u change it no so save ur child from sex….Hell no sex ROCKS

John G. February 11, 2010, 12:06 AM

U guys r late im sexually active im bi can u change it no so save ur child from sex….Hell no sex ROCKS

ramesh February 14, 2010, 12:00 AM

sex ok,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,s

Anonymous February 15, 2010, 9:40 PM

i had sex

vendenburg February 21, 2010, 2:19 AM

hye there

Anonymous April 14, 2010, 9:13 PM

fuk u bro

Anonymous May 14, 2010, 9:06 PM

i want to have sex

SlayAlphaHunter May 23, 2010, 5:16 PM

It’s nature, and we are humans.

So let your kids have sex. lol

kkkkk June 7, 2010, 5:08 PM

i have had sex 2 times i loved it

An adult June 21, 2010, 3:29 PM

I pray to God that those posting saying they are 12 really aren’t. Kids should not be having sex. Period. They are not financially, emotionally, or mentally ready for it, even if they think they are. I did some stuff when I was a kid and it still haunts my memories.

I have a 12-year old brother who I am TERRIFIED will end up in a stupid, stupid, stupid situation. I was raised in a Christian household and do believe that although sex is supposed to be for marriage, it’s extremely hard to wait. I was an early adult when I gave my virginity away. Children- think I’m still with him? Nope. Do I regret it? Yes and no- I learned from my mistake but I gave a sacred part of myself to someone who really didn’t give a damn. And that hurt will never leave me. I’ve gotten over him, but still feel like I compromised myself.
Yes, both parents and schools need to set boundaries and be open and honest.
And kids need to know they are cared about in their home, or they are bound to look for love “elsewhere” and I’ll bet you it won’t fill that void in their life.

If kids really are out there having sex as they claim they do, adults in the world need to grow some cahones and sit those kids down and have a looooong chat. Adults who feel kids should be able to do whatever they hell feel like need some serious parenting classes.

zohaib July 5, 2010, 8:36 PM

i am zohaib

Ella July 8, 2010, 9:13 AM

hi im 29 and theres a boy my child like anna invited him to our house they went upstairs and had sex they done it lots of times my children got prenant now shes in the hospital to take the baby out i was really angry.

kyla July 8, 2010, 2:12 PM

i say if u really like them then its ok but at least be older than 12!! im 14 i met a guy it was love at first sight i met him when i was 11…..and we had sex a week ago it truely was amazing!

Randy13 August 1, 2010, 12:22 PM

Oh yeah i wish i have sex with girls i mean i have girlfiriends but they just say are you crazy i dont want to be pregnant i say i could use condoms but no i am shy to buy condoms because i am only 13

ANTHONY August 14, 2010, 1:22 PM

look i’m 13 sure sex may sound fun but your bodies are not ready and there HIV’s and STD’s but if u won’t listen with reason then use a condom.

Anonymous August 24, 2010, 12:52 AM

I’m 12 and I know allot about sex. I’ve never had sex but I know allot. I haven’t had the sex talk with my parents but I’m going to try and wait until I’m married. I’m definitely not going to do it before I’m 14 if I do it before I’m married but I just think sex should be about love and not just doing it. I think that parents should have the sex talk and just warn the teen about all of the things that might happen if they aren’t careful and let them be. If they get pregnant it’s there own fault for not using protection but be supportive. I don’t mean to upset anyone with my comments but it’s the way I feel and I figured I would put it out there. Sex is about love not for the heck of it. Plus, I would think it would be allot more special if you did it on your wedding night with the person you are absolutely in love with instead of someone you most likely won’t stay with that long anyways. Thanks for reading this far :P

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