Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

How effective is communication about sex?

Skip Navigation




Additional Links


Sexual Activity
Sex is uncommon among very young teens, however becomes more common in the later teenage years.
Sexual Activity

Table from: GUTTMACHER (2006). Facts on American Teens’ Sexual and Reproductive Health

In 2005, a research study on Hispanic female teens found that 77% of pregnant females described having their first sexual experience by the 10th grade, compared to 20% of the non-pregnant teens (Adolph, Ramos, Linton, & Grimes, 2005). Between these Hispanic young women, the pregnant teenagers had considerably poorer communication with their parents than their non-pregnant peers (Adolph, Ramos, Linton, & Grimes, 2005).

Research suggests that children who talk with their parents about sexuality are more likely to postpone the initiation of sexual intercourse and more likely to use some form of birth control when they become sexually active. To support this belief a study on sexually active adolescents demonstrated that from the ages 12-18 adolescents were more likely to report that they felt not as close to their parents as non-active adolescents (O'Sullivan, Jaramillo, Moreau, & Meyer-Bahlburg, 1999). These findings suggest that having conversations about sexuality will more likely assure adolescents that their parents care about their future becausing they are actively engaging in open conversations regarding sex.

Adolescent Latinos have different patterns of sexual activity (Driscoll, Brindis, Biggs, & Valderrama, 2002). Latino males are a bit more likely than Latino females to have ever had sexual intercourse (Driscoll, Brindis, Biggs, & Valderrama, 2002). Because we know that different patterns exist between Latino males and females it is important to begin the ‘sex talk’ as early as possible or when the adolescents begin showing interest in their sexuality. Research has shown a connection between parent-child communication and adolescent sexual behavior and positively demonstrated that open parent-child communication tends to delay the initiation of sexual intercourse (O'Sullivan, Jaramillo, Moreau, & Meyer-Bahlburg, 1999).These studies suggest that if we want our children to engage in protective sex at a later time in their life it is important to try and open that channel of communication so that accurate and comprehensive information is given to them so they can make healthy choices throughout their lives.

Image created by Margaret Garcia obtained at

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.