Watching sex on tv can cause you to want to have sex. Go figure.

It’s another case of parents needing to know what their kids are watching on television. A new study shows that kids who watch movies with more sex scenes tend to lose their virginity at a younger age, have more sexual partners and report less condom use, according to a new study from Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine.

The article, “Greater Exposure to Sexual Content in Popular Movies Predicts Earlier Sexual Debut and Increased Risk Taking,” was published in the journal Psychological Science. It’s not rocket science but it does have some telling features for parents. Namely that young women especially think that sex is amazing right from the start, causes incredible orgasms and doesn’t require protection. Of all the women I polled about their teenage sex years, most had either mediocre or negative sexual experiences during adolescence.

Given that sexual images make most people more interested in sex, and teenagers have many of the same sexual feelings as adults the results seem consistent. Just because your child is 16, doesn’t mean they can’t be feeling the same sexual desires that adults can. You can hope they are late bloomers, but you need to plan for the contingency that they may blossom early.

Talk to your kids about healthy sexuality. Leave instructional books and videos around the house. Put an open box of condoms in the bathroom. Encourage your kids to get involved with sports. The UCLA study in 2009 suggests that teens who are active in sports are more likely to delay sexual activity. Be open with your kids about your sexual values, and make sure they have a doctor they can trust. And it seems, delay moving them off the Disney movies for as long as possible.

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