If you have a teenager, odds are she is sexually active. Whether this is a surprise or not, she still needs your love and guidance.
Unless you catch her in the act, or find a condom in her room, it’s almost impossible to know for sure. However, there are some signs that can help.
1. She’s Asking for More Privacy
When your daughter asks for more privacy, it could mean that she wants some alone time or that she’s hiding something. If you notice her wearing more revealing clothing, changing her style dramatically, or being overly affectionate toward boys, it could be a sign that she is sexually active.
Discovering that your teenage daughter is sexually active can send shockwaves throughout the family. The way that parents respond to this discovery will vary greatly, depending on their perspective and experiences. Whatever the situation, it’s important to remember that you can promote healthy conversation through love and understanding. This means avoiding accusations and focusing on responding to your daughter instead of reacting to her behavior. Also, promoting healthy communication about modesty, choice in clothing, and other issues that might arise during her sexual exploration.
2. She’s Asking Questions About Sex
If your daughter is becoming secretive or if she uses passworded phones, or only makes phone calls in front of you to family members, it could be a sign that she’s exploring her sexuality. This behavior is also often accompanied by moodiness and an unwillingness to talk about relationships and sex with parents.
Learning that your teenage daughter is sexually active can be a shock to many parents. But it’s important to remember that your job as a parent is to love your child. And that includes addressing these issues, even when they are uncomfortable and awkward. It’s important to communicate your love through open communication and a healthy approach to body safety. Learn how to approach these topics in a sex-positive way by visiting Focus on the Family’s comprehensive guide.
3. She’s Asking to Wash Her Own Clothes
Knowing your teenage daughter’s every move is impossible, but if you notice her clothes start to smell different or she begins to take more privacy seriously, it might be a sign that she’s experimenting with sex. It’s important to remember that sex can bring about brokenness and hurt. This is why it’s important to respond to her with empathy and grace rather than blaming and judging.
It can also be a warning sign when you see condoms or other contraceptives in her room. This is a great opportunity to talk with her about how to avoid unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Learn how to approach these conversations in a safe, open, and honest way with Focus on the Family’s parenting resources. You can also contact a Focus on the Family counselor for help.
4. She’s Changing Her Style
When your daughter dramatically changes her style to a more revealing wardrobe or starts insisting that makeup is a prerequisite before leaving the house, this could be an indicator of sexual experimentation. She might be dressing more sexy to attract boys’ attention or she may be trying to hide a pregnancy or STD from her parents. Drastic changes in her behavior or grades can be warning signs as well.
Learning that your daughter is sexually active can trigger a whirlwind of questions and emotions. But as a parent, you have an opportunity to respond with grace and love. Remind her that her value and identity are not based on her actions but on her status as God’s image bearer. Focus on the Family offers resources that can help you address this topic with your teen.
5. She’s Asking to Stay Over at Friend’s Houses
Your daughter might be getting to the point where she is interested in sexual relationships with boys. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if you notice her being secretive and not wanting to share where she’s going, this could be a sign that she’s already started dating someone.
Teens often start dating around this time, so it’s important to make sure that you have a conversation with her and set up boundaries for how she should behave in these situations. This means being consistent with your values and rules, and making sure that she knows that you’re there for her. It also means not jumping to conclusions and being ready to talk about anything she says or does. Learn more about how to parent a teen daughter.
6. She’s Asking You to Make a Doctor’s Appointment
If your daughter is asking you to make her a doctor’s appointment, it may be time for a talk. Doctors often ask if you are sexually active to ensure they can perform the necessary examinations and tests to prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases. This includes performing a visual exam of the genitals, pelvic exam, and Pap smear.
This is one of the most critical signs that your teen is sexually active. While many parents will lash out in anger and fear when they discover their child’s sexual activity, this is not the best course of action. Instead, take some time to consider how you want to approach the conversation and what is realistic for your situation. Talk to a trusted family member or counselor for support.
7. She’s Asking You to Talk About Sex
It may not be your daughter’s intention to cause a sex scandal, but her interest in sex can cause a number of changes in her life. This includes more public displays of affection towards boys or girls. It may also include a change in her dress style to more revealing options. Drastic changes like these can be a red flag.
Melistas advises parents to have age-appropriate conversations about sex starting in preschool. She recommends discussing things like a girl’s body, the emotional consequences of being sexually active, pregnancy and STDs. She also encourages parents to let doctors be a source of health information, and to take advantage of one-on-one time with their kids during regular doctor visits.