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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UGA chapter.

So you’re thinking about starting birth control? Whether it’s for health, protection, or your own personal reason, talking to family about contraceptives can be awkward and even scary. But sometimes, we need our family’s support, either emotionally or financially to guide us through making smart and safe decisions regarding sex. 

It’s completely natural to feel embarrassed about discussing your sex life with a member of your parents, but it’s important to know that your parents were once teenagers too! And if it’s safe to do so, starting the conversation with family can be a great stepping stool to finding the information you need to make educated decisions regarding your sexual health. It’s also completely normal to fear that your parents may be angry or disappointed if you discuss sex with them, but you might be surprised by their reactions. Most of the time, parents will be glad you came to them and willing to help you be responsible for protecting your health.

While it isn’t necessary to involve your parents in your sexual life, they can be very helpful assets in assisting your decision-making. Parents can be a great support in your journey to find birth control that’s right for you, and may even be able to go with you to an initial appointment with a gynecologist and they may willing to assist or completely cover the financial aspect as well. They can also be a very great support in difficult situations and risks that come along with being sexually active, like unplanned pregnancy, STDs, or sexual assault. 

However, no matter how much you may want to ask for support or advice, it can still be worrisome to start the initial conversation. But how do you bring up the topic of sex? Assuming it’s not a common dinner table convo, it can be a little stressful to bring up the sexual health convo out of the blue. 

  • Start by asking general questions, like “ Some of my friends are having sex, what are your thoughts about that?” Or “ How did you first learn about sex” (source).
  • You can urge them to start the conversation, by asking what sex was like at their age to gain trust and learn. You can also try starting with a conversation regarding something from a TV show or movie, especially ones that focus on sex in teenagers/college students.
  • Give them a heads up letting them know that you want to talk. Start with something like, “ Can we have a private talk tonight?” So that they can prepare and understand the seriousness and importance to you.
  • Acknowledge the awkwardness initially by letting them know that you aren’t entirely comfortable with this topic, but you’d like to have a discussion. Phrases like “  I feel uncomfortable talking about this, and you might too, but I want to ask about…” or “ I feel awkward about asking this but I would really appreciate your advice on…”
  • Don’t feel obligated to have the conversation in person, if you feel more comfortable over text, email, or on the phone, go for it!
  • Think of questions beforehand and maybe even write them down. Showing your preparedness will help emphasize the importance of the conversation.
  • Let them know why you’re asking, whether it be to make a decision, for help/resources, or for financial/emotional support. By letting them know why you want help, you can reduce their ability to make assumptions about you or your sex life.

Though sometimes, tips and tricks like this still won’t be enough to get over the sex talk hurdle. Tradition, political or religious views, culture, and more can be barriers in the conversation. If you ever feel threatened or you may be in danger from talking about sex,  then don’t do it. While having support from your parents can be a huge relief and a sense of security and safety, there are still tons of ways to find support and help outside of your household.

Try reaching out to another trusted adult, like a doctor, guidance counselor, or other trusted family member if you feel uncomfortable speaking with your parents.

In Georgia, (and many other states), even if you’re under 18, it’s possible to get birth control with a parent’s permission. Look into clinics called “ Title X Clinics”  or “ Title Ten Clinics” if you’re looking for a completely confidential appointment and prescription. They also provide the opportunity to pay on a sliding-scale fee basis — which means you pay what you can afford and you’re also given the option to pay in cash, which can help avoid your family seeing a bill from a family plan health insurance. You can use this tool to locate Title X Clinics near you to fit your needs. 

When making an appointment for health care, make sure to ask questions about the confidential rules like;

  • Can I get services at your office without my parent’s permission?
  • Can my parent(s) have access to my records?
  • Will my parent(s) see the bill?

If you do need to use a health insurance policy under someone else’s name, such as a parent, you can call the company to find out about their privacy policies. You can usually find a contact phone number on the back of your insurance card, or you can do a quick google search.

There are millions of others in your shoes that are looking for the same advice and support when discussing birth control and other sexual topics, and it’s important to know that there are resources out there for you to take advantage of like planned parenthood and the Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine can be great resources.

At the end of the day, your sexual health is YOUR decision and there are tons of resources you can find online and by asking your doctor to ensure that you have the knowledge to make educated decisions about your body.

Hannah is currently a Fisheries & Wildlife major pursuing a certificate in Environmental Education. When she's not writing for Her Campus, she can usually be found watching TikToks or looking at animals somewhere.