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Let's Not Talk About Sex?

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Parents who feel uncomfortable talking about sex with their teens have it easier than they think. It’s your kids who are the ones having anxiety attacks about what you’re going to tell them.

A new Family Circle survey of 2,000 adults and adolescents ages 15-18 finds that a whopping 82 percent of youngsters feel some degree of discomfort when mom and dad sit them down for a talk about sex and relationships. Meanwhile, 50 percent of parents admit some unease about discussing these topics.

Nine out of ten teens tell Family Circle they prefer no more conferences with the folks about sex while over 16 percent concede their parents have never even broached the subject with them.

Parents may also be in the dark somewhat about the nature of their children’s sexual activity with 81 percent of those with teens who are sexually active saying they knew their kids had intercourse although just 45 percent with youngsters who admitted having oral sex were aware of it.

Family Circle editor-in-chief Linda Fears says that teens often cite embarrassment for the unease they feel when parents speak frankly about sex but often as well, they think lectures aren’t necessary because they already feel informed from the amount of sexual content available to them in the media, entertainment and pop culture.

There also may be some disconnect in other areas between adults and teens:

  • Forty-two percent of parents claim they’ve spoken many times about telling their children how to abstain from sex but only 27 percent of teens say they’ve gotten that talk.
  • Twenty-nine percent of parents tell the survey they’ve spoken many times about birth control methods but 35 percent of teens say they’ve never heard that from their folks or only had once.
  • Thirty-nine percent of parents say they’ve explained the risks of sexting (sending sexually explicit text messages) but 41 percent of teens claim their parents have never talked about it or did just once.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio