Full disclaimer here: I am VERY OPEN about sex with my kids. I never used made-up words to reference their genitals and I am completely open and frank about all sex acts. No- I do not sit at the dinner table with them and launch into long soliloquies about the nuts and bolts of performing fellatio but by the same token- NO CONVERSATIONS OR QUESTIONS are off the proverbial table. I think a lot of my frank talk about sex with my kids is fueled by my desire to give them the facts in a way that is not frightening nor laden with guilt (as my mother unfortunately did to me).
And here are the cold hard facts; high profile shows like MTV’s Teen Mom prove one very salient point-teens do not conceive via immaculate conception. With that being said perhaps one way to curtail teen pregnancies, and prevent them from contracting STD’s as well as being bale to develop healthy sexual relationships with another human being lies in a parent being in the loop about what’s on their teen’s radar including, but not limited to, their friendships, feelings and relationships with the opposite sex.
Which is why I was THRILLED to have the opportunity to chat with Dr. Lisa Masterson from The Doctors about a campaign and information hub she’s launching with Monistat called “It’s Time for TMI”
In fact they recently released survey findings showing that the majority of the women in the U.S. ages 16-24 don’t have all of the information they need about their body and health. For example, 81% of women polled thought having sex was the primary cause of yeast infections and 52% blame laptops for their pain. It’s can be difficult for mothers to speak with their daughters about certain health matters, and the survey results show how uninformed some young women are about their bodies. Keep reading for Some of Dr. Masterson’s Tips for helping mothers and daughters to have the talk about sexual health and their bodies!
1. Why are some moms so squeamish about talking sex and vaginal health with their daughters?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: They’re squeamish because it’s a private subject, and they’re also acknowledging that their daughters are sexual beings. Moms may have their own ideas about sex and sexuality, which may play into why it can be uncomfortable to talk about.
Moms shouldn’t be squeamish because it’s very healthy to have this discussion with their daughters. But, if a mom doesn’t feel comfortable talking about this, they should find someone who is, because it’s important for their daughter to have accurate information. That’s why it’s good to have educational websites like ItsTimeForTMI.com.
A lot of times moms need back up; their teenage daughters don’t want to believe they know what they are talking about. ItsTimeforTMI.com can be that support system and evidence that moms have “been there, dealt with that.
2. What are your top three tips for helping moms initiate the sex conversation with their daughters? Are there any best practices, props, books, or scenarios that are conducive to engaging in a healthy and meaningful dialogue about sex?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: Be comfortable. If you don’t feel comfortable having a conversation about sex, your daughter can sense it, and she won’t feel comfortable having the conversation either. You can use a book, or a website like ItsTimeforTMI.com, to give your daughter accurate information.
Personalize it. If you personalize the discussion and share your own stories, it makes it easier to discuss.
Don’t be ashamed. Present your personal stories with pride. It’s important to show your daughter that you have a sense of pride in your body, and she will as well.
3. When it comes to health “down there” what are some tips the Doctor Can share to help moms have an open dialogue with their daughters? And are there certain tests and routines moms should make their daughters aware of when it comes to preventative as well as maintaining their vaginal health and well-being?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: Celebrate your health. Be able to celebrate each stage and health milestone, such as her first period.
It’s recommended that you take your daughter to the gynecologist between the ages of 13-15, so she can have an open dialogue with her doctor as well. She doesn’t necessarily need an exam, but it’s great to start a dialogue to learn about clinical ramifications.
This also goes back to my point about finding accurate information, especially on the internet. There’s so much misinformation out there about vaginal health. Did you know that 3 out of 4 women will experience a yeast infection in their lifetime, and over half of women don’t know how to deal with them? Her doctor can recommend websites like ItsTimeforTMI.com for accurate information. There are also great period apps out there, so girls can get to know their bodies and see it in a positive way.
4. Ultimately what are the benefits of moms being open about their daughter’s sexuality and health and why do moms need to stop being embarrassed and start talking?
Dr. Lisa Masterson: Studies show that girls who are educated about their bodies and health have a decreased risk of STDs and teen pregnancy. It’s good for young girls to feel positively about their bodies when they’re very young.
And once you’ve had THE TALK Here are four fun ways parents can connect with their teens, which at the very least, can act as a springboard for opening the lines of communication.
Eating: Go to Chinatown or Little Italy. Check out a farmer’s market. Take a trip to a new ice cream shop.
Movies: Check out some movies that teens definitely will enjoy such as “Towelhead,” “Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist” and “The Secret Life of Bees.” You’re together, but sitting in the dark and not talking. Then afterward, you have a neutral subject (the movie) to discuss.
Working out: No reason why you can’t exercise together. You may even like some of the music your teen works out with. Anytime you can find common ground, jump on it.
Watching their sports events: They may never look up to the bleachers, but every kid knows when his parents are in the crowd. If you can’t attend a meet or game, make sure to get a blow-by-blow recap.
This post is part of a sponsored conversation with ItsTimeforTMI.com but as is always the case all opinions expressed are my own.