Talking with Your Teens About Sexual Consent

Teens today have more and more exposure to conversations around sexual assault. Whether in the classroom or among peers, teens are trying to figure out what their values are around sex, and they are going to hear a variety of perspectives around this topic.

It is important they have a safe and healthy environment to have conversations about sex and consent. 

It is especially important that your teen understands consent before going to college. Statistically, at least one in five women and one in ten men will experience sexual assault in college. The sad reality is that your kids will be in class with survivors of sexual assault whether they know it or not.

Knowledge of consent can also decrease your teens likelihood of perpetuating assault. 

So what should your teen know about consent?

– They should know that it is always important to ask their partner what they are ok with before engaging in any kind of sexual contact (kissing, touching, intercourse, etc.).

– They should know that sexual assault is never the victim’s fault.

– They should know who is not able to give proper consent: anyone who is intoxicated, passed out, etc.

– It is important that they know not to pressure anyone to do something they are not comfortable with.

– Your teen should know that no matter what someone does or says, they do not owe anyone any kind of sexual favors. 

For many reasons, it is important that teens have a solid understanding of sexual consent. As uncomfortable as it may be to talk about sex with your kids, their knowledge of sex and sexual consent is crucial to their development as well as their ability to have healthy relationships.

Your teen should know that they deserve to be respected and feel safe. If your teen knows that they can talk to you about sex and consent, they are more likely to come to you if they need help or have questions.

Elizabeth Kraich