[Sex and contraceptive information for adolescents].

  • Caroline Lacoste
  • Published 1985 in
    Soins. Gynécologie, obstétrique, puériculture…


A midwife with 6 years of experience in a family planning center serving many adolescent patients describes contraceptive information and education programs for adolescents. A meeting of school nurses and social assistants in 1978 to discuss the problems of adolescent contraceptive usage led to development of the current program of information visits to schools and provision of services in the center. A very active team of physicians, nurses, and social assistants has organized expositions and health debates to encourage student participation. The type of training needed for providers of contraceptive information to adolescents is difficult to specify. The author reports benefitting most from books, articles, and conferences, especially a training course on the French family planning movement with family counsellors and secondary school teachers, and a 1-year course on the theme of adolescence and maternity led by a multidisciplinary team. Provision of information on sex and contraception should be tailored to the needs of adolescents. It should be delivered in a way that respects their feelings, educational level, and right to speak. Attempts should be made to correct erroneous ideas, such as the common belief that pregnancy cannot occur at the 1st intercourse. Adolescents are often hesitant to discuss sexual topics with their parents. Parental fears of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and hypersexuality hinder free conversation. Parents may be embarrassed to use descriptive words in discussions about sex with their children. Adolescents able to communicate freely with their parents probably have no need of the family planning center, but a place should be provided for others to obtain information. The counselor should maintain the adult role and not try to act like a contemporary of the adolescent. In individual sessions, rapport should be established with the adolescent and efforts made to understand what he is seeking. It is better to avoid a complete anatomy course in favor of a personalized dialogue. The discussion of contraception should come after the adolescent's confidence has been gained. More personal questions about sexuality are often difficult for adolescents to ask. Answers to questions should be clear and reassuring. At the end of the interview an appointment can be made for a contraceptive consultation. Group discussions of sex and contraception are held monthly for adolescents. Information provided in schools varies depending on the age and grade level of the students. Descriptions of the genital organs and their functioning can lead to a discussion of the transformations of puberty for young groups. The discussion is easier for older students. Audiovisual aids of different kinds may be helpful but are not indispensable.

Cite this paper

@article{Lacoste1985SexAC, title={[Sex and contraceptive information for adolescents].}, author={Caroline Lacoste}, journal={Soins. Gynécologie, obstétrique, puériculture, pédiatrie}, year={1985}, volume={53}, pages={7-10} }