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Talking to your teenagers about anal sex

Many parents find it difficult to broach the topic of sex with their teenaged children, however with sufficient preparation the practical, matter of fact delivery of key information should be relatively straightforward and neither parents nor teenagers need be unduly embarrassed or uncomfortable. One central goal is to teach young people to think for themselves about the sexual experiences they want and also what they do not want.

It’s particularly important to convey to teenagers that peer pressure to participate in any activity may be strong, but that this should be resisted if they are unhappy about whatever is proposed. Also, young people need to know that sexual arousal is a highly emotional experience, during which it’s easy to forget the importance of safe sex, leading to the possibility of finding themselves in risky situations.

Sometimes, for example, young people are led to believe that anal sex is relatively risk-free because there is no chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. In fact, there is a greater risk of injury and infection due to anal sex as the thin tissues of the rectum and the anus can be damaged very easily allowing bacteria and viruses to cause infections, including HIV.

All sexual activity carries risk if the basic rules of cleanliness are not observed, particularly if individuals are engaging in different types of sexual activity with a number of partners. The penis should always be washed after anal sex and protection should be emphasised as essential; condoms should always be used for any kind of sexual activity, whether vaginal or anal, preferably with spermicide. Condoms are more likely to break during anal sex and HIV, which leads to AIDS, remains a major risk of unprotected sex.

Another myth that sometimes circulates is that practising anal sex means an individual is still technically a virgin, but the fact remains that penetrative sex is taking place.

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