As parents, the most difficult thing to imagine is our children engaging in risky sexual behaviors. Our efforts in teaching them thus far have focused on encouraging them to abstain, and promoting the use of protection to prevent disease.
However, the social and sexual behaviors of our teenagers have drastically changed in the last decade, making the battle for parents trying to protect and educate our children, a bit more complex.
In 2015, 60% of teenage boys and girls (ages 15-19) reported that they have already engaged in oral sex. Many reports of oral sex are being seen in children as young as age 11. There is a message being sent to our kids that oral sex does not count as sex, and has been coined by teenagers as the safe alternative to sex.
Engaging in oral sex increases the risk for a number of sexually transmitted diseases, including the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). The increase in oral sex among teens is contributing to the increase in diagnosed HPV, which can cause several cancers, such as cervical, penile, anal, and oral cancers. HPV also can cause genital infections, like genital warts.
This program is designed to educate parents of teens on the risks associated with these early sexual behaviors. We will focus on the health risks of HPV, and the very real risk of cancer. We will discuss the HPV vaccine, review how it works, when it should be administered, and the possible risks involved. We will conclude with tips on how to open a dialogue with our teens, that focus on the many risks involved with early sexual behaviors.