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Ask The Expert: I Think My 15-Year-Old Wants to Have Sex

Dear Your Teen:

My 15-year-old daughter has a boyfriend and I think that it might be getting more physical. Specifically, I believe she is considering having sex with her boyfriend sometime soon. I personally think she is too young for this kind of intimacy — and I am freaking out. Do you have any advice? What should I do? What should I say?

EXPERT | Sari Cooper, CST, LCSW

The first step is to take a breath and calm down. When you’re in a calm state, try to articulate to yourself why you feel that your daughter is too young for a sexual relationship.

  • Is it that you think her reputation will be ruined?
  • Is it because you believe she is too young?
  • Is it because you don’t think she has the emotional maturity to handle the feelings that may come up when she becomes more sexually active with this particular partner?
  • Is it that you fear she will not use protection properly and get an STI or become pregnant?

Once you have thought through your reasons, talk calmly with your daughter about the decision to have sex with her boyfriend. All of these concerns are legitimate and need to be articulated. Help educate your daughter on predicting possible consequences to her behavior. Teens tend to lack this ability. And then offer her guidance on how to set boundaries for behaviors she wants or doesn’t want to engage in.

At the same time, recognize that your ability to control what she ultimately does here is limited. Make sure she understands how to stay safe if and when it comes to sexual activity.

If your daughter asks questions, she needs a calm, assured parent to give her the information she needs to make this choice.

Help her sort through the feelings that might get stirred up and the risks of each behavior so that she can make wise, responsible decisions.

Sari Cooper, LCSW

Sari Cooper is a licensed individual and couples therapist, a certified sex therapist, speaker and writer in New York City. Cooper runs Sexuality Workshops to help parents talk to their children about sex. Learn more at saricooper.com.