Our expert says:
A highly controversial and complex question. As CT mom points out, below the age of legal consent, it is a criminal matter, whether or not you think it potentially harmless, so it needs avoidance from that point of view.
Them there's the point that there's really no such thing as Safe sex, only Safer sex --- ways of doing it which are safer than some other ways. There are still risks of STD, HIV, pregnancy.
To me there are other significant issues. One becomes physically capable of sex LONG before one is emotionally mature and competent enough to handle the feeling that inevitably arise, or to avoid exploiation. And it also rushes one into the arid plains of adulthood and diminishes the already shrinking time spent on the important tasks of childhood. Maybe this is one reason we nowadays see so many people, into their 30's or later, behaving like irresponsible pre-adolescents.
You cannot strictly prevent it happening, and being too fierce about forbidding it may simply make it secretive and more likely to end in grief. Best maintain communications as open as possible, to remain able to help. Make sure they are fully informed about the many possible consequences. And in this as in other contexts, encourage them to feel free to resist peer pressure, and not to do anything they don't really want to do, just because " everyone else is doing it".
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