Twelve Talks to

Have With Teens

Sex & Consent

​Jefferson County teens report that while adults discuss the physical aspects of sex with them, adults aren’t providing needed guidance to teens about creating healthy relationships, sexual consent, use of alcohol as a “date rape” drug, sending nude photos and making sexual comments about others.

  • Jefferson County youth report that adults and teachers cover the physical aspects of sex, but often seem to feel uncomfortable talking about the emotional and relationship dynamics that are part of sexual interactions. The reality is that talking about sexual relationships and consent with a teen can be uncomfortable. Talk about it even if it's uncomfortable. Don't count on sex ed at school to cover all the information your teen needs to know or has questions about. 


  • Alcohol is a common "date rape" drug. Jefferson County youth report that sexual assaults in Jefferson County, most of which occur in people's homes or cars, nearly always involve alcohol. The alcohol used is either provided by, or stolen from, an adult they know. All Jefferson County youth deserve to be taught that combining sex with alcohol or drugs is not acceptable. 


  • Youth need to hear from adults that harassment includes any kind of unwanted touching, making comments about other people's bodies, talking about others in a sexual way and social media posts that include anything sexual about another person.


  • Asking for, or sending, nude photos is an important topic to discuss with young people. Taking a naked "selfie" and sharing it with one friend may seem harmless; however, these photos are often shared with friends and friends of friends, or may be posted on social media. The teen in the photo has no control over who sees the photo or where it may end up. In addition to being illegal in Colorado, possessing or exchanging nude photos can haunt them later in life by resurfacing during a college or employment application process.

What kinds of sex-related stuff do people talk about at school?

How is offering a cup of tea similar to consenting to sex?? Watch this video to find out! (2:49)

Conversation starters

  • Ask open ended questions that cannot be answered "yes," "no," or with a single word: 

    • What kinds of sex-related stuff do people at school talk about?

    • What do you think people your age consider sexual harassment? What types of sexual harassment have you seen at school/work?

    • What problems could happen when people send or pass on nude pictures? What would you do if you got one? Why do you think teens send them? 

    • There is something I've been wanting to talk with you about. It might be a little uncomfortable, but I really want you to be safe. So, I want to talk about  __________, (filling in the blank with consent, sexting, sexually transmitted diseases, getting birth control, LQBTQ+ issues or sexual harassment). 



  • When a news story, meme, movie, TV program or music video raises issues about sex or consent, use it as an opportunity for discussion.

Ask yourself

  • ​Do you bring up this topic often enough? The "sex talk" is not just one talk. It's a series of talks that take place multiple times and cover many topics including boundaries, pressure to have sex, consent, birth control, protection from sexually transmitted diseases — and also answer any questions that come up.

    • Don't avoid talking about sex and consent just because  you feel strongly that your teen should not have sex. You may decide to preface your comments with, "I hope you don't have sex, but if you do..."

    • Include information about asking for, sending or passing along nude photographs. In addition to family boundaries about sexting, encourage your teen to understand what is and isn’t legal in Colorado.

  • Have you discussed consent with your teen? Talk specifically and directly about what consent is — explicit, verbal permission to initiate and continue sexual contact. Also talk about what is not consent, including:

    • Implied permission or previous permission

    • Silence

    • Pressuring someone or tricking them

    • If either party is intoxicated


  • Have you told them directly that combining sex — of any type — with alcohol or other drugs is not acceptable? They should not have sex with someone who has been drinking or taking drugs, and they need to stop others from hooking up with someone who is intoxicated. No one can give consent if they have taken, or may have taken, any type of alcohol or drugs.

Things to Do


  • For help with birth control or sexually transmitted disease prevention and treatment, visit the Jefferson County Public Health Clinic Services.

  • The Blue Bench is a metro-Denver resource offering help to survivors of sexual assault and abuse. Blue Bench provides individual and group therapy including yoga and art programs, case management and more to survivors age 13 or older. Their confidential hotline numbers are: English 303-322-7273   Spanish 303-329-0031   TTY 303-329-0023 

  • The Jefferson County Sheriff's Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations Unit, known as Cheezo, can be contacted with concerns or questions about your teen being approached online, or to book a presentation about internet safety.

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* Healthy Kids Colorado Survey 2019, Jefferson County data; **Jefferson County CTC Youth Town Hall data 2019 & 2020.


This project was created by the Jefferson County Communities That Care coalition and is housed within Jefferson County Public HealthThis resource was developed with funding from a Communities That Care grant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, a grant from Community First Foundation and a Drug-Free Communities grant from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the grant providers.