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Ask Dr. K

I am a mom of two boys, ages 14 and 16. Last week, my 14-year-old came home from school with a hickey on his neck. I knew he had a 'girlfriend' in school, but did not know it was going that far.

This past weekend I spoke to both the boys. We have a very open relationship and this topic wasn't out of the ordinary. I know my older son is NOT active and neither is the younger one. After talking, it seems that my younger son is closer to that intimate situation than my older son. My older son said that he wants condoms just in case, which I respect. However my younger son just asked me for them also, which at 14 I know he isn't ready for. What should I do?

When I had the sex talk with my older son at 15, we went to the doctor and had a physical exam and blood work. Now that they both asked, I don't know what to do. Should I take my younger son to the doctor's and give them BOTH condoms? I push and preach about abstinence but I don't want my children to die from AIDS or get any STDs. Thank you for your time and for your advice!

Congratulations for trying to balance your feelings of wanting your boys to remain abstinent, yet also recognizing that they are human and have minds and sex drives that may lead them to other decisions. It sounds like you're on the right track. The boys may feel awkward about having their mom purchase condoms for them, yet they may not do it by themselves, so it's important to follow-through.

Some parents have suggested purchasing condoms and leaving them in the child’s room without mentioning it. Since you have good lines of communication open with your sons, I would suggest a doctor's visit for the younger son, and a talk with both sons about how to use a condom correctly. (Click here for details about condoms.)

Remember sex is normal, natural, healthy and fun activity. We all have to help others learn skills to do it safely. Teaching our children to have sex only when they are ready, how to use condoms and have open conversations with partners and their doctors about sex are just a few important steps. By asking questions and showing your interest in their lives all the time, conversations about sex should come a lot easier.

To your health,
Dr. K

Last modified on Thursday, November 19, 2009.
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