Unfortunately, talking to teenagers about sex has become very convoluted. Some people say openness about sex has led to higher promiscuity levels amongst teens while others claim that communication on the subject deters dangerous experimentation. Starting early by fostering open, honest communication with your child will prepare you both for this conversation. Hiding the truths about sex will only lead your child to find the answers elsewhere.
Approach your child about sex before they have a chance to find out elsewhere. This may mean starting early with explaining to young children that it happens between consenting adults. As a teen, confront them honestly, let them know how you feel and offer to answer any of their questions. Even if those questions lead into your past. Let your mistakes be their example of what not to do.
Parents are the single most important influence on their teenagers. Use that influence to explain to them the issues surrounding sex. Explain safe sexual practices, appropriate sex, and the role of love in sex. Explain how their actions can affect their life long health. Just remember, it is never too late to talk to your teen about sex.