Most faith traditions talk about sexuality as a gift of God – something to be respected and in which to find joy.

Still others talk about values and beliefs without discussing religion or spirituality at all.

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It is important, therefore, to start the conversation early, and to make it clear to your children that you are always willing to talk about sexuality – whenever questions come up for them, or when a "teachable moment" occurs. Sexuality, in most of its aspects, can be a joyful topic for discussion in the family.

Remember to keep your sense of humor throughout conversations with your child – the conversation doesn't have to be tense and uncomfortable unless you make it that way.

Before you speak with your child about sexuality, think about what your values are. It also provides an opportunity to explain that there are different beliefs in the community, that people are allowed to disagree with each other, and that differing views should be respected – as long as those views are based on ethics, responsibility, justice, equality, and nonviolence. Young people often find it confusing when parents talk about a value regarding sexuality and then act in a way that does not support that value.

Some common values about sexuality and relationships that most people support include honesty, equality, responsibility, and respect for differences.

While it does take some forethought, parents can provide accurate information to their children about sexuality and reinforce their spiritual or religious values.

Many families belong to particular religious denominations, while others have a strong sense of spirituality without belonging to an organized faith community.

Back to top The following is a list of important topics relating to sex and sexuality.

Although your teen may have some concept of these topics due to the media, school, friends, etc.

Talking about sexuality with your children can be a challenge.

Sometimes parents are fearful about saying too much, too soon (although there's no evidence that this should be a concern).

Back to top Some parents believe that talking about sex will lead to teens having sex.