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The ‘Sex Talk’ Works

Photo credit: Vincent Diamante. Retrieved from Flickr via a Creative Commons license.

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Editor’s Note: Earlier versions of this article appeared in our print magazine, Accolades.

While it may make you cringe, having the “sex talk” with your kids works, according to new research led by psychology professor Laura Widman.

After reviewing 30 years of studies from psychology and the medical field, Widman found that sexual communication with parents is one factor that can boost safer behavior among teens, including the use of condoms and contraception.

Widman and her co-authors, whose meta-analysis covered 52 articles presenting data on more than 25,000 adolescents, say the association between communication and safer sex behavior was stronger for girls and for teens who discussed sex topics with their moms.

The research was highlighted by media outlets across the nation, including the New York Times, NBC News and Time.