Dutch parents underestimate their children’s sex lives

Dutch parents have little clue about their teenage children’s sex lives and underestimate how sexually active they are, according to research by parenting magazine J/M voor Ouders.

For example, just 8% thought their 12 or 13-year-old had visited a porn website, but in reality around 22% have done so. By the time they are 16, parents think 44% have seen online porn but in reality the figure is 95%.

Some 16% of parents also thought their child had lost their virginity at the age of 16 but 43% of 16-year-olds claim to slept with a partner. The comparative figures come from a survey last year by the Rutgers sexual health foundation.


The research also shows three-quarters of parents think children get involved with sex at too-young an age and one-third refuse to discuss homosexuality with their offspring.

In addition, one third of fathers would consider it unacceptable if their child, particularly a son, was gay.

The research was based on a representative sample of almost 700 parents, the magazine said.


Hanneke de Graaf, a spokeswoman for the Rutgers foundation, said Dutch parents are relatively open about sex. ‘They accept that it is part of life, but do make conditions. Their offspring should not be too young, they should be in a relationship and they should keep it safe,’ she said.

A random survey of teenagers hanging out at a swimming pool in Huizen by the Volkskrant revealed mixed attitudes to parental involvement.

One 15-year-old complained his mother had put condoms by his bed when a girl came over to stay. ‘She was just a friend I had known for 13 years. It was so embarassing,’ the boy said.

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