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Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

Categories of Questions About Sex--Final Post

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

The fourth and fifth types of questions kids ask about sex include shock questions and questions about personal behaviors and beliefs.

Shock question

Shock questions are those questions that sometimes a young person will ask just to shock the teacher, the whole class, an adult friend or parent. It is sometimes difficult to discern if the student really wants to shock everyone, or if he/she truly doesn't know the correct vocabulary to ask the question appropriately. An example of a shock question is when a student uses slang, vulgarity or street language.

Personal Behaviors/Beliefs

If you are a teacher, sharing your personal sexual experiences are never appropriate topics of discussion with students, even when you made healthy choices or the outcome was positive. If you are a parent, it is still ok to not answer these types of questions. You can simply state that there are some things about your life that you would like to keep to yourself. But, as a parent, if you want to answer the question, you certainly can. Just know that answering one question about personal behaviors will likely open the door to more questions that you may prefer not to answer. An example of a personal behaviors question might include something like, "Did you have sex as a teen?"

Young people are sometimes interested in adults' personal opinions about controversial sexual health issues. If you are a teacher, be sure to remember your role in the classroom. If what you share could ostracize a segment of the population of your classroom, consider not sharing it. However, if the answer will support responsible sexual choices, such as choosing abstinence or using a condom to prevent STI, then the answer could include facts and teacher opinion. It's important that the teacher's opinion in this case is expressed as concern rather than judgment. Examples of questions about personal beliefs might include "Isn't oral sex gross?" and "Are you pro-choice or pro-life?"

Be sure to check in for tips and techniques for answering all five types of  questions.

Source: Barth, R.P. (2011). Reducing the risk: Building skills to prevent pregnancy, STD and HIV. ETR Associates: Scotts Valley, CA.


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