I wrote an e-mail to a friend last week, and mentioned to the recipient that if she was interested in knowing more about my perspective on sex education and how parents figure into that, she could come to this blog. She did. The next time we talked, she pointed out that while my blog was interesting and that she enjoyed reading it, she didn’t actually get much from it about my actual perspective.
So here we go, boys and girls: This week is going to be all about what I think about sex education and parents. I thought about doing a Top Ten list, but really there’s just three critical points. So I have a Top Three List instead:
- Parents have to talk to their kids about sex. Before the kids start asking (because by then it’s too late).
- Everyone has sex. Just not all teenagers. But all teenagers do need to learn the facts about sex. It’ll come in useful at some point. Promise.
- Sex is not all bad. Even for teenagers. In order to maintain credibility, parents have to acknowledge that fact.
This is going to be a 3-part series. Once I have written the other parts, they’ll be linked from the comments section at the bottom of this page.
So the #1, parents “have” to talk to their kids about sex. What happens if you don’t do something you “have” to do?
(For other readers, the entire extent of my parents talking to me about sex consisted of my dad saying to me once when I was 12, “Pretty soon boys are going to start wanting to have sex with you. SAY NO, no matter what. Sex is only for having babies.”)
Well, when parents don’t talk with their kids about sex, the kids can feel ostracized from their parents on the subject of sex and sexuality.
The kids – and then the teenagers and then the adults – often aren’t able to be honest with their parents about their sexuality, and aren’t able to get help from their parents about sexually-related-issues. That can include unplanned pregnancies, STIs, sexual abuse or harassment, etc.
Even parents who don’t talk about sex with their children often want their children to come to them when they need help. But if the parents haven’t made the topic of sex and sexuality an acceptable topic in the household, their children will often go to some lengths to avoid starting the conversation, particularly under unhappy circumstances.
Great post, I agree, I wish more parents understood those 3 points. Barb
My early sex education consisted of my father handing me a pamphlet about reproduction. At the end of reading it, I asked my best friend (because I didn’t feel I could ask my father), “But how does the sperm from the man get to the egg of the woman?” The major concepts that were omitted from my early sex education were these:What is sexual intercourse, how does it take place, and what makes sex so enjoyable that people want to do it?
My father was a good man doing his best. But I would have expected more from him, because he was an ob/gyn M.D. and saw plenty of girls “in trouble” (as we called it then) because they didn’t know the REAL facts about sex.
author of Better Than I Ever Expected: Straight Talk about Sex After Sixty (http://www.joanprice.com/BetterThanExpected.htm)
Join us — we’re talking about ageless sexuality at http://www.betterthanieverexpected.blogspot.com
I might change #1 to read – Kids will learn about sex. If parents want it be from them, then they should speak up. My parental chat was more like Alice’s. “Here’s a book. Read it, and let us know if you have any questions.” At least it was a fun book “Where Did I Come From?” Highly recommended (but please do include a bit more discussion with it…)
I look forward to reading the other posts of this series. They would be a very good permanent intro to add to your site.
Robert, when I was a teenager (long after a friend told me about sex when I was 8), I found the book “Where Did I Come From?” stuck in a shelf in our den. I guess my parents never had the courage to give it to me.
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