Sexual promiscuity among teenage girls can have many adverse consequences, including risks to their physical and emotional health, and unwanted pregnancies. Approximately 400,000 teenage girls gave birth during 2009, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Sexual promiscuity can be caused by depression, low self-esteem, anger or used as a means for coping with frustration. Although you might not be able to control your teenage girl, you can help make her aware of the dangers so she can choose better behavior.
Establish an open and honest dialogue in your home about sexual matters. Begin by asking your teenage girl to share her feelings about sex and having multiple partners. Show genuine interest by not arguing, lecturing, criticizing, attempting to control her or calling her derogatory names. Listen with empathy and understanding, even if you hold a different point of view. Criticizing her could cause her to feel shame and guilt, and lead her to refuse to talk to you in the future. Stress that you’re aware that she’s exploring her sexuality and you’ll always love her unconditionally. Teenagers whose parents show unconditional love and support have fewer sexual partners than other teens, according to Planned Parenthood.
Share your own values about love, sex and intimacy. Tell her about some of your early sexual experiences and any valuable lessons you learned. Explain how sex is more meaningful in committed, loving relationships than with many different partners. Let her know what a healthy relationship consists of — such as respect, honesty, trust, equality and sexual intimacy — and that those are the qualities you hope she finds in a partner. By stressing the value of saving sex for healthy relationships, you can strengthen her resolve to avoid engaging in sex for less important reasons, such as peer pressure, according to Terri Apter, PhD, a University of Cambridge researcher and mother/teen expert.
Inform her about the dangers of promiscuous sex, such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy. Quote some sobering facts — pregnant teens are more likely to be high school dropouts, suffer economic hardship and be unhappy, according to Planned Parenthood. STDs can lead to life-threatening illnesses, such as AIDS and genital cancers. Ask if she’s using birth control — if not, make an immediate appointment for her to see a gynecologist and also get tested for STDs. Each year, there are approximately 19 million cases of STDs — half of them appear in young people who are 15- to 24-years-old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Devise strategies to help her resist sexual pressure. Go through different situations and practice how she should say “no” to sexual propositions. If a boy propositions her, teach her to firmly say “no” and walk away. If she’s in a situation where she feels she’s losing control and in danger of succumbing to temptation, insist that she call you and you’ll pick her up. Suggest that she restrict her dates to public places, such as the mall, a restaurant or the movies.
For additional support and help, schedule an appointment for your teen with a psychiatrist, licensed psychologist or school guidance counselor to help her learn what the root causes are for her promiscuity, and receive treatment for it.