There is plenty of help available via books for how to sex ed.

However, how could a parent include educating on STDs in such a way that the child is educated about it but at the same time the parent is not making the kids' future interactions awkward.

Parent wouldn't want the child to get an STD but wrong education could end up with the child (in the future) asking each of their potential partners if they have STDs before kissing/intercourse ? This is the pain point.

That'd be awkward and has no guarantee the other party is telling the truth.

  • Hi folks - a reminder, answers should not be left in the comments. Please feel free to leave those as answers! Also, we all know this is a subject that is touchy for some and there are very significant differences of opinion as far as the morality of different choices. Please try to keep the discussion civil, and make your point without insulting others. Thanks!
    – Joe
    Oct 16, 2018 at 14:09
  • @OP - Can you clarify further why you don't want your child asking each potential partner? That is a common recommendation from a public health point of view, so it's important for you to further explain why that's an issue so we can best answer your question.
    – Joe
    Oct 16, 2018 at 14:11
  • @Joe I feel it may be awkward as 1) I (and all my mates) have never asked this question and by chance have been lucky to not be infected. 2) I think the childs potential (sexual) partner would be put off by the child asking this question (indicating the other person to be of loose/morally lower character)? 3) None of the movies (which is the most influential on youth) show this happening. Oct 16, 2018 at 22:20
  • The safest way would be to wait until you find the one you want to marry. Then make an appoint for yourselves as a couple, for complete physicals. Both get tested and both see the results.
    – Bread
    Dec 2, 2018 at 12:17
  • 1
    @Bread Yes it is the safest way. Only problem is that it's extremely unlikely a teenage is going to do that. Studies say nine out of ten individuals, possibly more, have premarital sex. So teaching a child realistic steps they can take to protect themselves if they have sex before marriage seems a far safer option then setting expectations on a child that they most likely won't live up to and having the child not know how to protect themselves, or feel comfortable telling their parents they are sexually active and need protection, when they do engage in sex.
    – dsollen
    Dec 4, 2018 at 21:25

3 Answers 3


"Awkward" should be the least of your worries! In fact, it could be good to teach them how not to be awkward when discussing anything to do with sexual health - this could save them from illness, pain, disability or death (possibly) in future.

What you should be doing is educating your child in the risks of unprotected sex. Yes, it is a good idea to help them understand that communication with their future partners is valuable, actually essential, but more importantly help them understand how to protect themselves.

No matter what a partner says, they may not know, or they may lie, so good protection or abstinence are the only safe ways to be sure.

Teach them about alternatives to penetrative sex, but assume that at some point they may have sexual partners, so teach them about condoms and other barrier devices.

  • By awkward, I mean, a boy meets a girl (or vice versa) and when he wants to kiss her, wont asking the girl if she has STDs (spread via saliva) be awkward ? The boy/girl know about the dangers - but that isn't going to make this conversation less awkward ? - Sorry if I am sounding confused - because I am. Oct 16, 2018 at 6:19
  • 1
    Uhm, what kinds of STDs do you have in mind that spread via kissing? Maybe framing the discussion as a judgement of risks involved might help. For example, kissing might transmit Herpes, but you don't have to worry about HIV if you don't have any open sores in your mouth. Kissing might give you Syphilis if there are any sores (chancres), but it's treatable when discovered early on. Kissing is fairly low-risk activity. So the "awkward" question might reasonably be delayed up to the point where the teens actually decide to go further than touching and kissing, and by then it won't be so awkward. Oct 16, 2018 at 21:51
  • @Pascal Discovering an STD early on and getting medical advice is something I will include in the sex ed. The quest is to enable the child to protect him/herself from getting infected in the first place - without restricting sexual attraction. Oct 16, 2018 at 22:23

Perhaps it's best to just offer to discuss sex and answer any potential questions when they are ready. Most kids initially react with 'ewww gross', reinforce that you won't get into their business, but you want them to know what kind of danger(s) to watch for (because you love them).

Key point being: "you won't be ready to have sex until you are ready to talk about it". Goes hand in hand with: "don't have sex with someone who won't talk with you about it first".

Much better than my "Son, always keep a condom in your wallet" approach!


Any contact with anything else living is risky, but it’s part of day to day life. I think you should approach this by explaining the concept of risk and infection. Just as we wash our hands at certain times to avoid getting sick, step back from people sneezing and coughing, and just as we make choices not to swim in the sewer, so we make similar choices about kissing, holding hands, and sexual contact.

Your child has choices you need to explain to them. They could avoid human contact altogether, permit it to some degree, or all out ignore the risks. Most people strike a balance.

You shouldn’t educate that it’s going to be awkward to talk to partners about STDs. You won’t limit them in their sexual experience by explaining the risks. Their own sexual drive is going to be stronger than your words. You should IMO teach them that they can ask someone about STDs and, regardless of the reply, make their choice on what to do next.

No matter what a partner says, they could lie, or be ignorant of reality anyway. You have to explain that, and let the child decide what they’ll do.

You have a chance to express your family values, open communication, respect, courage, risk taking, and discuss the mutual values a child might expect from a future partner and why that might be important.

Your question seems like you have a conflict between protection, risk, and limitation. That’s exactly the conflict you need the child to understand and make their own decision on, so explore it with them. They will need to protect their body from infection, take some risks if they want to have sex, and self-control their own actions and emotions to stay safe. If they’re not able to understand that decision, they should decide what to do (and that should probably be not to have sex yet).

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