Pleasurable Advice for Teens

There’s no use denying the pleasure of sex—even when it comes to talking with teens about sexual health. Not talking about why people have sex is not approaching the subject honestly, and therefore not a smart way to approach sexual education.

So why are parents in the UK—and now columnists in the US—so opposed to pleasure being brought up with teens? Don’t they know that when teens finally do have sex, they’re going to realize it for themselves?

According to a Salon “Broadsheet” article last week, a new pamphlet published by the National Health Service in England promotes masturbation, honest conversations about both sex and sexuality between parents and teens.

“Beyond having the audacity to suggest that educators tell students that sex can feel pleasurable, the booklet says that teenagers have ‘a right’ to sexual satisfaction, so long as it is in a safe and consensual situation. It also advises honesty about masturbation being perfectly healthy — it winkingly says that ‘an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away,” which strikes me as a cheesy attempt to be cool — and that sex isn’t always about procreation.”

Yesterday, Susie Wilson wrote on New Jersey Newsroom that, were there the introduction of such a pamphlet to the US, “all hell would break loose.”

 “In America, the P-word draws lightening whenever you join the topics teens and sex. Many people here – as I’m surprised to learn in the U.K., too – think that any mention of the word ‘pleasure’ in a talk about sex with young people sends the wrong message – whether it’s one taking place between parents and their kids or between students and their teachers using a classroom curriculum. That message? That talking about pleasure encourages young people to have sex.”

Unfortunately, she’s probably right that many in this country are afraid of sex, and therefore afraid of talking with their children about it. Another unfortunate fact: once teens find out how much fun sex really is, they’re going to conveniently forget all that American abstinence-only education that’s been rammed down their throats—and have little accurate knowledge to fall back on.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

For more information or to schedule an interview with contact

  • crowepps

    Lying to teens is never, ever a good idea, because they’re capable of catching the lie. Considering the enormous number of books, movies, television shows, songs, internet sites, etc., that talk about how wonderful sex is, and the number of products that are marketed by linking sex to the sell, our culture makes it crystal clear that sex is linked to pleasure.

    Trying to hide or ignore this obvious truth when teaching about reproduction and responsibility makes it difficult for teens to believe that they’ve been told the truth about anything else. That alone would be reason to include it.