Let’s Talk About Sex

Let’s Talk About Sex

Please choose at least two per heading to answer and bring to class to debrief. (If there is only one question, then answer that one)

The following questions can guide discussions of Let’s Talk About Sex and are loosely broken

down in order of the film’s sections.


  • Kelsey and Her Mother
  1. Were you surprised when Kelsey revealed that she had had sex, but had never told her mom? Why or why not?


  1. For parents, do you think your teen would tell you they had had sex? For teens, would you tell your parents when you became sexually active? Why or why not?


  1. Do you think most parents and teens have frank discussions about sexuality? What factors might keep parents and teens from talking? How can teens and parents improve their communication about sex?


– FastFact Teens who have had a “good talk” about sexuality with their parents are more likely to practicesafer sex behaviors than teens that haven’t.


  • School for Pregnant/Parenting Teens
  1. Do you think sex education programs that stress abstinence as the only correct choice for teens are a good investment of education time and funds?

– FastFact The federal government has spent over $1.5 billion on abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.

Abstinence-only-until-marriage programs prohibit honest discussion of the health benefits of contraception for sexually active youth. Concurrently, they have repeatedly been proven ineffective – and to contain bias and inaccuracies.


  • Fayetteville, NC (DVD only)
  1. Members of the Fayetteville community have different opinions about when it’s OK for teens to have sex. Do you think it is realistic to expect young people to wait until marriage? If not, what factors should they consider when making the decision?

FastFact By age 19, 70 percent of young people have engaged in sexual activity. Ninety-five percent of Americans have sex before they are married.


  • Loaded Language Around Sex
  1. Does sex belong in the same category as an addiction or a contaminant? Have you noticed other trends in the words people use to discuss sex and sexuality?

FastFact Some abstinence-only-until-marriage programs associate sexual activity with contamination or filth by telling teens that having sex before marriage is like chewing someone else’s gum or drinking their spit.


  • The Dutch Approach toTeen Sexuality
  1. Would you feel comfortable discussing sexuality as openly with your parents, or your teens, as the Dutch do? Why or why not?

FastFact The U.S. teen pregnancy rate is over four times that of the Netherlands; the U.S. HIV rate is over three times that of the Netherlands.


  1. The film depicts “sleepovers,” teens being allowed to have partners sleep in the same room in their parents’ home. What are your thoughts? Are there any situations in which you think this practice might be a reasonable one?


  1. Do you think parents should make condoms and contraception available to teens? Why or why not?

FastFact Research has found that having condoms and contraception available does not make teens more likely to have sex.


  1. Do the teens you know carry condoms? What do you think of teens that carry condoms? What do you think of teens who don’t carry condoms?

FastFact Thirty-nine percent of sexually active high school students did not use a condom the last time they had sex.



  • Abstinence Messages
  1. Do you think virginity pledge programs are effective for young people? Why or why not?

FastFact Although virginity pledge programs do help some teens delay sex, more than 88 percent of pledgers break their pledge and have sex before marriage. Plus, once pledgers begin to have sex, they are less likely to use contraception than non-pledgers.


  1. Which approach do you think is a better societal investment: discouraging adolescents from having sex or teaching kids about safer sex? Is it really an either/or question?

FastFact Programs which include information about contraception and condoms, as well as abstinence, have been shown to help young people delay sexual initiation as well as protect themselves when they do have sex. Teens who receive comprehensive sex education are not more likely to have sex than those who do not receive comprehensive sex ed.


  • Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual , and Transgender (GLBT) Teens
  1. Do you think it is important that schools include GLBT teens in sex education lessons? Why or why not? How can parents make sure their needs are met?


  • HIV Outreach in Washington, DC
  1. Are the teens you know worried about getting HIV, or do they think it’s not a threat?

FastFact The CDC estimates that about 1/3 of new

HIV infections occur among youth under age 30.


  1. How does shame around sexuality contribute to poor sexual health outcomes?


  • Leah and Lizzie (Oregon)
  1. Do you agree with Lizzie’s approach that teaching about good relationships is the priority for young people, with whether or not they’re having sex less of an issue?


  1. The minister featured in this section of the film, and Oregon’s sex education policies, support open communication about sexuality in the school, houses of worship, and at home. Do you think Oregon is on the right track? Why or why not? Could your community adopt these practices? Why or why not?

FastFact Oregon’s rates of teen pregnancy, HIV, and STIs are much lower than national rates.


  • Conclusion
  1. Many adults believe that if you talk about sex, it encourages teens to go out and have sex. Do you believe that withholding information about sex protects kids and teens, or harms them?


  1. How can communities support parents’ communication with their kids?


  1. When it comes to sex education, do you think it’s possible to put politics and ideology aside?


  1. While this film addresses cultural attitudes about sex and their impact on teens, many other factors also affect teens’ sexual health, including poverty, lack of access to health care, and inequitable access to quality education and economic opportunities. Did the film address these issues? How do you think they affect young people’s sexual health? What could government and/or communities do to address these issues? Which factors do you think most fuel the teen sexual health crisis?


  1. What do you think should be done to improve sexual health in the U.S.?

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