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Safer Sex Guidelines

What is "safe" sex?

Picture of male, latex condom

The only safe sex is no sex, according to most healthcare providers. Abstinence may be the only true form of "safe" sex, as all forms of sexual contact carry some risk. However, certain precautions and safe behaviors can minimize a person's risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease. As a parent, you can teach your child about safer sex before he/she becomes sexually active.

Talking to your teen about safe sex:

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents start talking to children about sex when they first ask where babies come from, usually between the ages of 3 and 4. Although many adolescents may say they know everything about sex, studies have found that many adolescents are incompletely informed about sex and sexually transmitted diseases.

As a parent, you are the best source of accurate information for your adolescent. However, many parents are unsure how to begin talking about safe sex with their adolescents. The following are some tips on how to approach the topic of safe sex with your adolescent:

Picture of a female condom made of polyurethane

Other people who can help talk to your adolescent about sex may include your adolescent's physician, a relative, or a religious counselor. Books on the topic may also be helpful in addressing uncomfortable questions.

Some misconceptions about "safe" sex:

Guidelines for safer sex:

Limit your sexual activity to only one partner who is having sex only with you to reduce exposure to disease-causing organisms. Follow these guidelines, which may provide for safer sex:

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