Tips To Talking To Your Daughter About Sexual Health in College
If your daughter is getting ready to leave for college, or has already started classes, it is time for “the talk”. The talk is equally dreaded by teens and parents a like, but it is extremely important in ensuring your daughter is well versed in sexual health as she leaves the nest. You have most likely had the “birds and the bees” discussion when she was younger, but as your daughter leaves home for the first time in her life, the conversation needs to evolve.
Understand there is only so much you can control.
No parent wants to admit that they can’t control every decision their daughter is going to make once moving out. You can tell her not to have sex all you want, but you must understand that this doesn’t mean she won’t engage in sex. As her parent, it is your responsibility to guide her and explain to her why she should wait, but also let her know that she can confide in you.
By providing her with information, facts, and a little guidance, you will set your daughter up for a safe college experience. You cannot control whether or not your daughter decides to have sex in college, but you can give her all the facts and information to make her own, educated decisions.
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You might be thinking, “I thought we were talking about sex, not drinking!” Well, these two topics are often intertwined in college. By teaching your daughter about safe drinking practices, it will also aid in the prevention of her engaging in sexual intercourse that is often regretted the next day, and help her to make smart decisions. Some important topics to hit on include:
· Not overindulging in alcohol. Stop after a couple drinks.
· Never leave a drink unattended or take an open drink from someone you don’t know.
· Don’t give in to the pressure to “hook-up” during a party.
· Don’t allow a man to take you anywhere to be alone.
· Use the buddy system.
Make sure she knows it is her decision.
Regardless of the pressure she might feel so have sex, make sure your daughter knows she can say “NO” at any point. Whether she is dating someone, having a casual hookup, or in the middle of intercourse, make sure she knows that if she feels uncomfortable at any point, she can say “no”. And if her partner doesn’t listen to her, then she needs to tell someone. Sexual intercourse should ALWAYS be consensual, but unfortunately that is not always the case.
Tell her the facts.
Sometimes the facts are alarming and scary, but your daughter needs to be aware of the statistics for herself and for her friends.
· 1 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted in college, but more that 90% of these cases go unreported.
· 1 in 4 college students have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI)
· STIs can still be transmitted through vaginal, anal, and oral sex.
The average student has 3-4 sexual partners- meaning you may not be the only one sleeping with them.
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If your daughter does decide to engage in sexual activities, she needs to ensure that she is smart about it. With an alarming amount of STIs among college students, she needs to use protection. It only takes one sexual experience to pass on an STI, and condoms are the best defense against this- even with oral sex. If her partner doesn’t like using condoms, then you can bet he is not using them with any of his other partners, so don’t risk it.
Women also have to protect themselves against pregnancy. A condom will do the trick, but another backup method to consider is the pill. Make sure your daughter knows she can come with you with any questions about protection. She also should know that she could go to her campus health center at any time to get the information and resources she needs if she doesn’t want to get into the details with you. Don’t take it personally.
Finally, something you have a little control over. Make it of the utmost importance that your daughter goes in for a yearly gynecological exam. This will ensure that she does not have any STIs or more serious gynecological diseases.
Be there for her.
Tell your daughter that she can come to you with absolutely any questions. Establish an open dialogue and judgment-free environment so that she is compelled to be honest with you. Your daughter’s sexual health is a part of her overall health, so she needs the proper information when leaving the nest for the first time. Contact Dr. Quartell & Associates if you have any questions about our gynecological services.