WELLNESS
12/18/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

6 Things Your Teen Needs to Know About Sex

As awkward as it may be, educating your daughter about sex can keep her healthy--and even save her life. Unfortunately, most teens have different views than their parents when it comes to what constitutes a sex talk. About 90% of parents nationwide say they've spoken to their teens about sex, according to a 2006 ABC News poll. But something is getting lost in translation, because only half of their teens agree. Here are six facts that every teen should know, along with specific ways to get your point across.

Talking point: Using a condom isn't as effective--or as easy--as you think.

Fact: In theory, condoms are 97% effective for preventing pregnancy--which is almost as effective as the Pill. But under real-life circumstances, so many people use them incorrectly or avoid them for one reason or another that the effectiveness of condoms drops to 86%.

Additional advice: "A couple may not put on a condom until the last minute," says Paul Fine, MD, associate professor of gynecology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, "and in the heat of passion, he might not have the control he usually has, so that's never foolproof." Besides, you can get pregnant before ejaculation; so-called pre-ejaculate is "loaded with sperm," says Dr. Fine. A 2002 study of college students documented typical condom misuse, slippage, and breakage. Of the men surveyed, 40% said that they had failed to leave space for ejaculate at the tip of a condom, for instance, and 15% had taken the condom off before completing intercourse.

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