Teens are very interested to learn about sex, but the typical teenager knows very little about what all of it means. Sadly, they know basically nothing about what happens after sexual intercourse, if an egg meets a sperm. It is important that we add this information into the talks we have with them about sex.
Learn What Can Happen AFTER Sex
Conception is the moment that a sperm joins an egg. In this anatomy figure from my book, I’m a Boy, Hormones!, you can see sperm swimming up the vagina, into the uterus, and ultimately into the fallopian tube (on the right) where the egg is waiting. Timing is everything. Sperm cannot wait very long for the egg to arrive before they die. Likewise, the egg will not wait very long for sperm to arrive before the egg continues its journey to the uterus.
As our teens are considering a sexual relationship that includes sexual intercourse, it would be helpful for them to learn a little bit about conception and the development of a baby. I am not someone who wants to scare them out of having sex because I just don’t think that has worked. But it is important for them to know a couple of important pieces of information that will help them to be informed about the decision they are making.
- The reproductive system is stacked in favor of making a baby. About 250 million sperm are released with each ejaculation in the hope that one sperm will be victorious in its quest to find the egg tucked away at the beginning of the fallopian tube. The sperm have to survive many obstacles to get to the egg and only a small number actually make it.
- Within 22-23 days after sexual intercourse, if the sperm has found the egg and conception has happened, the heart begins to beat inside the rapidly growing embryo. This is always very surprising to teens. Most of them haven’t put it together yet that the biological purpose of sexual intercourse is to form a baby.
Create a Positive and Supportive Atmosphere Around Sex
These are not easy conversations to have with your teenager, but if you create a positive and supportive atmosphere that is informative and not judgmental, it is more likely they will want to learn from you.
There is so much to say about responsible sexual choices and I look forward to future blogs with more helpful information for parents and as you teach your kids.