Doctors Talk to Kids About Safer Sex
Dr. Laura Berman
When I saw this headline -Due to Poor Sex Ed in Schools, Doctors Encouraged to Talk to Kids about Safer Sex, my first reaction was, why do doctors have to do this? Don’t parents, grandparents, and schools
Sex therapist and sex ed expert Dr. Laura Berman speaks on the AAP’s new guidelines for physicians
In a groundbreaking move, the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a new report in which they asked doctors to begin speaking to their adolescent patients about topics such as contraception, sexual consent, sexual orientation and gender identity. Critics, such as those who support abstinence-only sex education programs, are complaining that this is an abuse of a doctor’s authority and that teens should not be given information on how to have sex.
Dr. Laura Berman, sex ed expert and author of the classic book, “How to Talk to Your Kids about Sex,” says, “Most parents get very uncomfortable when the topic of sex comes up around their kids. They don’t even like to use anatomically correct terms when talking to their little ones, preferring to rely on euphemisms instead. Meanwhile, our school systems have faced political pressure to end sex ed courses or to insist upon a ‘Just say no’ approach. This has left millions of kids without the resources or education they need to make healthy sexual choices. No wonder a recent study from the Guttmacher Institute found that nearly half of teens do not know the correct way to use a condom.”
However, many people fear giving kids sex education could backfire, and make teens think they have a green light to be sexual. Dr. Berman disagrees, “Listen, our teens are having thoughts about sex. Probably a lot of them! Sex is already on their mind. Giving them sex education is not giving them permission to have sex, it is just about giving them the tools they need to make smart decisions when that time comes.”
Dr. Berman continues, “It is okay (and important) to teach the value of abstinence and waiting until one is old enough to handle the physical and emotional complications of sexual activity, but it’s better to do so through information and empowerment than through scare tactics. Kids are ready to listen—we just have to start the conversation. And thankfully, with the new AAP’s guidelines, many more kids will now be able to have this conversation with their doctors as well.”
About Dr. Laura Berman
Laura Berman, Ph.D., is a world-renowned sex and relationship educator and therapist; popular TV, radio and Internet host; New York Times best-selling author; and assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago. Considered a thought leader in her field, Dr. Berman has helped countless couples build stronger relationships, improve their sex lives, and achieve a heightened level of intimacy through her TV and radio shows, books, columns, and website, along with her private practice based in Chicago. Dr. Berman is a New York Times best-selling author of many books on sexual health and pleasure, a weekly columnist for the Chicago Sun Times, and host of the radio program “Uncovered with Dr. Laura Berman.” She has appeared on Fox News, CNN, and the TODAY Show, as well as in The New York Times, USA Today, and every major woman’s magazine. Dr. Berman serves on the advisory board for The Dr. Oz Show and is a regular guest on The Steve Harvey Show.