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Talking About Sex: It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

October 25, 2022

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OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLAHOMA, OCTOBER 25, 2022 – October is “Let’s Talk Month,” a month-long advocacy campaign promoting open dialogue between young people and their parents or a trusted adult about sexual health. The Central Oklahoma Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaboration and the Kirkpatrick Family Fund encourage parents, champions, and those with young people in their lives to seek out and engage them in important, healthy, age-appropriate conversations regarding sex, love, and relationships.

“Through extensive research and from our experience engaging the community to improve sexual health outcomes for youth, we find teens consistently say that parents – not peers, partners, or current culture – most influence their decisions about relationships and sex,” said Laura Lang, CEO of the Collaboration’s backbone organization. “We know when parents talk early and consistently about bodies, relationships, and sex with their children through age-appropriate conversations from kindergarten – 12th grade, children are much more likely to make healthy, long-lasting decisions that positively impact their future.”

The Collaboration has been working to reduce the teen birth rate in Oklahoma County since 2012. Today, it boasts over 40 organizations and 90 individuals who serve as community champions and change agents for adolescent sexual health. In 2019, the Collaboration announced its new goal to further reduce the teen birth rate in Oklahoma County by an additional 25% by 2025. Through their unique expertise and focus, partner organizations like Freedom City, Pivot, Teen emPower!, and Variety Care expand access to sexual health information and resources to their communities.

“We hope all Oklahomans who have a positive influence on young children take the opportunity to join us this month in having healthy conversations surrounding sexual health,” said Liz Eickman, director of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. “It truly does lay the foundation for lifelong positive sexual health outcomes.”

The Kirkpatrick Family Fund has been dedicated to teen pregnancy prevention for over a decade. “We’ve had funding and partners come and go, but the Family Fund has been the one constant driver,” said Lang. “Their investment has enabled the entire collaboration to sustain our teen pregnancy prevention activities while empowering us to be innovative, try new things, and pilot new projects. We just cannot overstate the importance of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund’s long-term funding and strategic vision for teen pregnancy prevention in central Oklahoma.”

The Collaboration wants parents and caring adults to know they don't need to be trained sex educators to begin an open dialogue, but they do have an opportunity through many local resources to learn how to talk to young adults about consent, bodily autonomy, healthy relationships, and sexuality. The Collaboration’s backbone and several partners have a plethora of information online designed to provide adults and young people the information and skills they need to safeguard their health - particularly their sexual health - develop healthy relationships, and grow into sexually healthy adults.

Talking Tips for Trusted Adults:

  • Start early and repeat, repeat, and repeat
  • Look for teachable moments and don’t be afraid to bring them up
  • Use correct terminology for body parts
  • Be honest. It’s okay not to know, take this as an opportunity to learn together
  • Listen and don’t assume questions mean action


For more ideas on ways to talk to your teens about sex, visit: FOR TRUSTED ADULTS | thriveokc.org

The Collaboration’s history is rich with tenacity, hard work, and a driving passion to improve the lives of young people in central Oklahoma, helping to reduce the teen birth rate in Oklahoma County by 53% since 2010. Despite impactful and inspiring progress, Oklahoma still has the 4th highest teen birth rate in the nation, and Oklahoma County still holds the highest number of teen births in the state. The 18 – 19-year old age group continues to represent the highest teen birth number and rate within Oklahoma County data. In 2020, the 18 – 19-year-old age group accounted for 72% of the teen births in Oklahoma County.

“It is unacceptable that Oklahoma still ranks in the top five, having the 4th highest teen birth rate in the country for 15-19-year-olds,” said Liz Eickman, director of the Kirkpatrick Family Fund. “By having regular, accurate, and positive conversations about sexual health, parents and trusted adults have the ability to help young people articulate, identify, and set goals they want to achieve throughout their lives.”

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Photo: Having worked together for more than a decade to reduce the teen birth rate in Oklahoma County, today the Collaboration boasts over 40 organizations, such as Teen mpower! Inc. Teen mpower! Presents high-quality sexual health education for middle and high school youth, helping them build healthy relationships, increase their decision-making skills, and manage the peer and social pressures during their adolescent years.

The Central Oklahoma Teen Pregnancy Prevention Collaboration actively works to build a movement to improve sexual health outcomes for youth in Oklahoma County. Our vision is to provide a culture in which opportunities for youth to pursue education, careers, and well-being are not limited by teen pregnancy.

For more ideas on ways to talk to your teens about sex, visit: FOR TRUSTED ADULTS | thriveokc.org

The Kirkpatrick Family Fund was founded by John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick in 1989 and is the largest affiliated fund in the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. The organization remains committed to adhering to the priorities and guiding principles of its founders through the leadership of Trustee and President Christian Keesee, the grandson of John and Eleanor Kirkpatrick.

To learn more about the Kirkpatrick Family Fund, visit www.kirkpatrickfamilyfund.org or call (405) 767-3702.

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