Parents are teens' sexual role models

Parents are increasingly viewed as sexual role models in the eyes of teenagers, new research has found. The study goes against many stereotypes relating to parent and child sexuality, said Dr Jean-Yves Frappier, a researcher at the University of Montreal's affiliated CHU Sainte-Justine Hospital Research Centre.

Dr Frappier is to present the findings - which revealed 45 per cent of teens consider their mother and father to be their sexual role models - at the Canadian Paediatric Society's 88th Annual Conference, being held in Quebec City between June 15th and 18th.

Conducted as an online survey, the investigation showed only 32 per cent of respondents look at their friends in this light and just 15 per cent take their cues from celebrities.

Dr Frappier noted: "Good communication within families and especially around sexual health issues is associated with more responsible behaviour."

The research also showed that awareness of the consequences and risks regarding sexually transmitted infections was higher among families that openly discussed sexual matters.

Dr Lynne Jordan, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "The concept internal working models springs to mind. We know that we tend to internalise early on templates of living, beliefs, values and ways of thinking of ourselves, others and the world from people who are our caregivers. This may or may not be parents. 

"Sexuality is only one other part of this. However does this include sexual orientation? This is known to be far more complex with biological factors to also take into account.

"Good communication is known to be a vital feature in any relationships, particularly in our close personal relationships and between those who live together. So ... sexual matters would be included in this of course!"