Talking to Your Daughter About Bad Sexual Conduct

Have you held a conversation with your daughter about good and bad sexual conduct? We'll offer you some advice to help you address this important subject.
Talking to Your Daughter About Bad Sexual Conduct
María José Roldán

Written and verified by the psychopedagogue María José Roldán.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

When your children grow older and start experiencing sexual interest, it’s important for parents to talk to them about the subject. You need to discuss the issue of sex with them so that they know the difference between good and bad sexual conduct. With that in mind, we want to give you some tips about talking to your teenage daughter.

We’re referring to having a talk with your daughter about consent, how to say no, and how to make sure others know she means it. And we’re referring to talking to her about what to do if someone makes her feel uncomfortable when it comes to actions of a sexual nature.

Try not to make this conversation too uncomfortable. Rather, try to be as natural as possible when you talk to her.

What you need to know about the subject

Teens find information and misinformation regarding sex from a number of different sources – for example, from friends, culture, the media, etc. And the most important information that teens get about sex comes from their parents.

What’s more, you don’t need to be an expert on sexuality in order to have influential conversations with your teens. Talk to them about facts. And, at the same time, incorporate your personal and family values regarding being considerate of others, sexuality, and sexual health concerns.

Talking to Your Daughter About Bad Sexual Conduct

Make sure your daughter takes you seriously

Stay calm and positive as you encourage your daughter to listen as well as talk. It’s a conversation, not a conference! Give her permission to disagree with you and to explore.

Think about how your expectations will change regarding your adolescent daughter’s behavior. You can say something like: “I’d prefer that you wait to drink and have sex, but I know your decisions might be different than mine. And no matter what, I’ll be there for you when you need me.”

The key to getting teenagers to listen to you is to listen rather than preach. Turn this talk into a thoughtful dialogue, not a conference. Your child is an emerging adult, and you need to treat her as such. So, respect her intelligence and her ability to reflect.

If you try to impose your ideas, she’ll close off emotionally and stop listening to anything you have to say. But, if you truly show interest in her perspective, it will leave her thinking.

Furthermore, assume she knows a lot about sex, whether she’s had sex or not. More than likely, she’s already talked about it with her friends and has probably even seen pornography.

Just the same, she may not be giving a lot of thought to the impact of her sexual choices. Remind her that, when she’s with someone in her bedroom, no one will be there to supervise her sexual behavior. Therefore, it’s up to her and her partner to choose what’s right for them.

You could say something like: “If you don’t want to have sex with someone, then I really hope you don’t do it. Think about what you could say to someone that’s pressuring you. Have a sort of script in mind to make it easier to say no in the heat of the moment. And if you want to say yes, then you should really mean it. Don’t do something at night that you’ll regret in the morning.”

Eliminate the discomfort when talking to your daughter about bad sexual conduct

In reality, it’s okay if these conversations are uncomfortable. We don’t have serious conversations about sex every day, and it’s not something most of us feel comfortable about.

So, do all you can to stay calm when you talk to your teenage daughter. However, if you do feel uncomfortable, don’t worry too much. Have the talk just the same.

Talking to Your Daughter About Bad Sexual Conduct

Allow the conversation to occur naturally. Take advantage of teachable moments by paying attention to your daughter’s favorite music, for example. Or start by talking about the issues that her favorite television programs are addressing.

Teenagers often feel more comfortable talking about a third party rather about themselves. So, you can begin the conversation by saying something like: “If a guy and a girl go home together after a party, what do you think they want? Does it mean they’re going to have sex ?”

About bad sexual conduct

It’s essential that children – boys and girls – have a clear understanding of consent and sexual aggression. They need to understand that it’s important to establish limits in order to avoid problems with those who aren’t aware of what good sexual conduct is. It’s also useful to establish your expectations regarding how you want your child to treat others.

It probably won’t work to tell her not to have sex, even if you really don’t want her to. But you can say, for example, that if she has sex, she should always use a condom, as well as another form of birth control and protection against sexually transmitted diseases. This protects both partners. Adapt the conversation to the interests and knowledge of your teenage daughter.


This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.