Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Communicating comprehensive & appropriate sexual education
in the Latino Community

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¡Lets Talk About Sex!

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People say, “If you tell kids about sex, they will do it" (Gordon, 1980). Stop and think where would your children learn about sex if it does not come from parents, educators or physicians? It is probable that they will learn from magazines, television, or their friends, which is most likely not accurate sexual health information.

“If you prohibit them from having sex, they are still going to do it regardless” (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006). If you believe that children will eventually engage in the act of sex, why not talk to them about the consequences of engaging early in sexual intercourse.

Parents or caregivers are capable of teaching children how to make responsible choices about their sexuality. Parents must encourage their children to make decisions from the youngest ages for children to make healthy choices throughout their lives (Davis & Johnsen, 2007).

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In creating a channel of parent-child communication, it is helpful to do the following (Kempner & Rodriguez, 2005):

• Listen
• Make eye contact
• Ask for clarification
• Give positive nonverbal messages
• Talk for yourself by using statements that start with “I”
• State your feelings
• Try to understand
• Offer possible answers to a problem


In the Latino culture, sexuality and sexual behaviors are less likely to be discussed for many reasons such as lack of accurate knowledge on parent’s side and even the child’s discomfort or embarrassment can be obstacle in effective communication regarding sex topics (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006).

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Taking a familismo approach can help parents and their children initiate the conversation about sex. One way that the ‘sex talk’ can be initiated is by parents encouraging their children to write down questions they may have regarding sex topics that they are uncomfortable talking about in person (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006). This way parents can look over the sex topic and be more aware of accurate information before they talk it over with their children. Once a parent knows what sex topics their children are curious about, the parents will more likely feel capable of delivering accurate sex information.

Disclaimer to Hispanic Parents!

Latino children want you to know that their discomfort will lessen if:
• There isn't fear of parental punishment. Your children may not want to engage in conversation if they fear what may come of such discussions. When engaging with your children over sex topics, do not jump to conclusions (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006).
• Set up an environment that encourages approachable parent-child communication (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006). Creating a nice atmosphere will make both children and parent more comfortable to speak with confianza.
• Listen closely to what your child says by finding out what your child already 'knows' about sex and related topics to sex (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006).


¡Saber es Poder!- Knowledge is power!

• After understanding what your child knows, adjust any misconceptions about their knowledge of sex by modifying the ‘sex talk’ in a way that they can understand (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006). That is, fix any misunderstandings that your child may have.
• It is also helpful to try and initiate the ‘sex talk’ through various ways. The approach you take is important. The use of videos and educational pamphlets can make the ‘sex talk’ an easier conversation (Guilam-Ramis, Dittus, Jaccard, Goldberg, Casillas, & Bouris, 2006).

Need additional help?

Yolanda Chavez, a Sexual Health Educator, can help answer any question you may have. She is with Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern Arizona which is located in Phoenix, AZ. She holds classes for parents and their children on initiating the ‘sex talk’. She can help you start an open conversation about sex and sexuality with your child.

For more information, in Phoenix please contact Yolanda Chávez at (602) 263-4230 or

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Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Mariana Garay in fulfillment of requirements for the course TCL 323 : Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Fall 2009.