Sexual health week - do your kids know the facts of life?

Sex education, teen pregnancies, the rise in STIs - these are subjects that regularly make the news these days but many parents struggle to talk to their children about the realities of growing up.

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In fact, the Family Planning Association (FPA) reports that a recent survey found 44 per cent of parents had given their children little or no information about sex and relationships.

This year they hope to change all that with their Facts of Life campaign.

As part of Sexual Health Week (12 - 18 September), the FPA is raising awareness of the advice on offer for parents keen to discuss such matters with their children but who are uncertain of where to start.

Though a child's questions about sex may embarrass you initially, the FPA suggests that kids are able to talk openly with their parents are better equipped to cope with and understand puberty and relationships, and less likely to succumb to the inevitable peer pressure.

Even if you are uncomfortable talking about sex, your child may benefit from learning. Okay, so maybe the supermarket checkout isn't the best place for it but answering their questions, correcting misconceptions and even using their favourite soap opera as a starting point will help to set both yours and your child's mind at ease.

For those who really struggle though, the FPA is keen to help.

At, there are tips and advice on how and when to start talking to your child, and how to deal with increasing levels of sexual imagery in music, TV, gaming and on the internet.

As well as the wealth of information available online, the FPA has a host of other resources available - their Speakeasy book was developed in consultation with parents while Speakeasy courses, run across the UK, have already helped more than 10,000 families to talk frankly about sex.

So if you have so far avoided the issue or are unsure how to go about talking to your child about sex, contraception, STIs or other relationship issues, why not start during Sexual Health Week and help your teen to stay safe.