How do you judge your knowledge about sex? Do you think you know enough about sexuality to guide your child? Having the facts straight is a big step toward helping parents feel confident about opening up that box of tightly guarded secrets with their kids. Studies confirm that our kids want and need to talk with us about sex. Are you ready?
Parents have several reasons for feeling uncomfortable talking with their kids about sex. One of their biggest fears is uncertainty of having accurate information. The following brief self-assessment will help you size up your sexual I.Q.
Answer the following questions T (true) or F (false).
____ 1. Sperm and semen are different substances.
____ 2. Women experience nocturnal orgasms.
____ 3. It is possible for women to ejaculate semen.
____ 4. If a woman’s hymen is broken, it means she is not a virgin.
____ 5. Sexual desire naturally decreases a lot after 40 or 50.
____ 6. Imbalance in sexual hormones is the main cause of homosexuality.
____ 7. Infants experience vaginal lubrication and erection.
____ 8. Masturbation can be harmful if it occurs more than twice a week.
____ 9. Genital herpes can be cured.
____ 10. A female cannot become pregnant the first time she has sexual intercourse.
____ 11. A person may infect someone with the HIV virus even if he or she has not yet tested positive for HIV.
____ 12. Approximately 25 percent of males have a homosexual experience in their teen or adult years.
____ 13. A woman will not get pregnant if a man withdraws his penis before he ejaculates.
____ 14. To screen for cancer, teenage boys and men should examine their testicles for bumps as often as girls and women examine their breasts.
____ 15. The average length of a man’s erect penis is 7 inches.
____ 16. Athletic performance is not affected negatively by sex before a game.
____ 17. As a result of AIDS, the term STI is preferred over the term STD.
____ 18. Alcohol does not inhibit sex drives.
____ 19. Urination after a woman has sex prevents pregnancy.
____ 20. Sexually provocative material causes people to commit sex crimes.
1. True. 2. True. 3.False. 4.False. 5.False. 6.False. 7.True. 8.False. 9. False.10.False.11True. 12.True. 13.False. 14.True. 15.False. 16.True. 17.False. 18.False.19.False. 20.False.
For a more complete explanation of these answers, please see How to Talk With Your Kids about Sex.
18 to 20 correct—You are well informed.
15 to 17 correct—You’re fairly up to date.
Fewer than 16 correct—You may need to brush up!
While having facts accurate is important and will assure your confidence, keep in mind that the most important part of helping your child develop a positive understanding of sex is through your ongoing relationship. Even if you don’t have details exact, what is most important is your desire to help your child by seeking answers with him or her. Your relationship will lead you and to more than fact-finding and toward a fuller and deeper understanding of sexuality.
John T. Chirban, Ph.D., Th.D. is a clinical instructor in psychology at Harvard Medical School and author of How to Talk With Your Kids About Sex (Thomas Nelson, 2012) that explains what kids need from parents at each stage of their sexual development and how parents can effectively communicate. For more information, go to dr.chirban.com and sexual problems.com.