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Using the Web to get ready for "The Talk"

By Sarah Klein

Growing up, I got a few different versions of "The Talk." I can't say any of them were particularly memorable. In fact, the conversations that stand out the most were more because of feelings of awkwardness and dread than any sense of enlightenment.

Broaching the subject for the first time with your tween or teen will undoubtedly be just as uncomfortable. But that's no reason to shy away. In a survey conducted earlier this year, Oprah and Seventeen magazines found that mothers still aren't talking to their daughters about sex enough.

The benefits of The Talk far outweigh the discomfort: the survey found that girls who discussed sex with their mothers were half as likely to get pregnant, more likely to practice safe sex, and far more likely to turn to their mothers for help with birth control and other sexual matters.

To limit the awkwardness, you need to know where to start, have access to the right information, and be comfortable in getting the message across.

As we've previously discussed, surfing the web is a great way to find answers to hard-to-ask questions. So when it comes to preparing for the Talk, the Internet is a good place to start.

Since Googling "sex websites" won't exactly get you the information you're looking for, we've done a little research. Whether you want to brush up on your facts before having The Talk, surf the web alongside them, or simply point them in the right direction for a little reading on their own, these three sites explain the birds, the bees, and everything in between.

  • TeensHealth – Part of KidsHealth, this site includes information about all aspects of a teen's healthy life, from food & fitness, to how to prevent the flu. But its extensive list of sexual health links still rivals other sites based solely on sex-ed. TeensHealth presents all the required information on birth control and STDs, but also covers a wide range of sexual development and body image issues, including answers to many of the most commonly asked puberty-related questions.
  • Teen Talk – Planned Parenthood has taken all their important information about birth control, testing, and health center locations and put a teen-friendly spin on it for this micro-site. Teen Talk presents information on sexual orientation, masturbation, and what role family plays in relationships. Be sure to check out the page devoted specifically to how to have the parent-child talk.
  • It's Your Sex Life –The popular teen TV station has partnered with the Kaiser Family Foundation to sponsor PSA-style commercials to promote safe sex. The site has in-depth articles about contraception, pregnancy, and STD testing, as well as popular message boards. Geared towards a slightly older audience, this site focuses on a different kind of "talk," the one your child should be having with a new or potential sex partner.

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