Most parents are in denial when it comes to the idea that their teenage children may be interested in sex.
According to new research by sociologists at North Carolina State University, the majority of mums and dads don’t think their offspring are sexually active.
However, they have different views of other people’s sons and daughters, seeing them as highly sexual or even "sexually predatory".
"Parents have a very hard time thinking about their own teen children as sexually desiring subjects," explained Dr Sinikka Elliot.
She said that by taking this view, parents are able to blame peer pressure and coercion if they do find out their kids are having sex.
For example, parents of boys think teenage girls may use intercourse to trick their sons and reinforce relationships, while those with girls are worried that their daughters will be taken advantage of by hormone-driven teenage boys.
Perhaps their fears are not totally unfounded. Anastasia Powell, a sociologist at La Trobe University in Australia, told the Sydney Morning Herald recently that young women in western countries are coming under increased pressure to have sex before they are ready.