Negotiating sexuality during the adolescent years is a difficult task that can result in health-compromising outcomes if poor decisions are made. Experts, parents, and teens all believe that parents have an important role in providing sex education to their children and that such communication has the potential to help adolescents make good sexual decisions. However, parents find the task daunting; they often feel ill equipped, and teenagers feel uncomfortable and suspect parents of prying into their private lives. The last decade has witnessed important growth in research on family communications about sex and sexuality. This volume critically examines the assumption that parental communication plays an important role in helping children make good sexual decisions and act on them. It expands on earlier reviews by proposing a theoretical framework in a field that has largely been notable for its atheoretical approach, by providing methodological alternatives, by going beyond the expert-novice perspective to address communication from the young person's point of view, and by evaluating interventions designed to help parents become better communicators about this difficult, sensitive, and complex topic. It also presents new empirical work on the neglected topics of fathers' involvement in sex-related communications with their children and teen-initiated communications by gay youth as they inform their parents about their sexual orientation. This is the 97th issue of the Jossey-Bass series "New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development".