Someone is teaching your kids about sex, that someone should be you!
Sex is no longer discussed only behind closed doors and in privacy. Television, movies and talk shows have brought the discussion out in the open. In this sexually charged culture, parents can help abuse-proof their kids by teaching them what it means to be sexually responsible. It’s always best if you be the teacher rather than the Internet or their pals at school.
A good question you may want to ask yourself is: “Where do I want my child getting their information about sex from?” If they’re not getting it from you, you really have no idea what sexual values are being formed in your child’s mind.
You would be wise to clarify your own values about sex first. Be aware that your modeling of sexual values is the first point of reference your child will have, and that out of this modeling, the rest of the formation of your child’s own values will begin taking form.
“Before you even begin thinking about talking to your kids about sex, get really clear on what your own attitudes are and perspectives, and that could mean asking yourself, ‘what is the ideal circumstance under which I want my child to have their first sexual experience?'” says Laura Berman, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Talking to Your Kids about Sex: Turning “The Talk” Into a Conversation for Life. Ultimately, parents “want their child to have loving, intimate sex that’s satisfying.” Once you and your partner reach an understanding of the optimal context for your child, those values frame your conversations, she explains. “You can’t just shoot from the hip.”
Children get mixed messages via television, the Internet and their friends at school. This has traditionally come in the form of different standards and expectations offered to our sons and daughters. It also comes in the form of a “do as I say, not as I do” mentality. Teach your child about the possible emotional, physical, and psychological effects of sexual interaction.
This topic is not about “the birds and the bees,” it’s about sex! What’s wrong with this “birds and bees” picture? Everything. “We’re left with a centuries-old legacy that has made sex taboo,” says Deborah Roffman, teen sexuality expert and author of Talk To Me First: Everything You Need to Know to Become Your Kids’ “Go-To” Person About Sex. “However, kids who grow up in families where sexuality is openly discussed are not just healthier and happier, but they also postpone participation in a range of risky behaviors including sexual activity,” Roffman says. “Talking with your kids is protective… a buffer against what goes on around them.”
The most common, and most damaging, misconception about teaching kids about sex is the idea of “The Talk.” Waiting for your child to be “ready” is most likely never going to work. Make things easier by making use of resources. Sometimes offering your child a book on the topic and inviting discussion may cause less resistance than a head-on discussion with your child.
Another lesson is to be sure that they know the distinction between having sex and making love. They are not the same. Having sex is something that doesn’t often involve real feelings or even a committed relationship, e.g., one night stands – it’s only the pleasure of the act; a means to an end to help satisfy a sexual urge. Just having sex usually means that all inhibitions go out the window and you put your own desires first. This seems to be the one that gets most teens in trouble.
“When two people who are in love with each other, and who share that emotional bond with one another, they care very much about making their partner feel cherished and taken care of. When someone who is in love makes love to their partner, they take care of all their needs, not just sexually. They will take time by doing foreplay and making their lover feel loved. They are attentive to their partners every needs and desires. They get more joy out of satisfying them then they do themselves. Often times, they do not always need to be satisfied while making love. Making love between two people who are in love is often slow and intimate.” ~ Dawn Fuller
Married couples can choose to make love or have sex just for the fun of it. Making love is fun and pleasure is good for you! Having sex can be unromantic and quick, however, making love is all about understanding – understanding your own needs and those of your partner.
Children who report having good conversations with their parents about sex are more likely to delay sexual activity, have fewer partners, and use condoms and other contraceptives when they do have sex. Sexuality includes a wide range of topics including male and female bodies and how they work, human development, reproduction, types of relationships, what makes a relationship healthy or unhealthy, sexual behavior, and how to prevent pregnancy and STDs.
I’m certain that providing good sex education for your children is a challenging assignment, one that will take much time, energy, and vigilance on your part. Watch for those golden, teachable moments. When is the best time to talk about sex to your children? Anytime, and especially when they begin to ask about it. It’s important to remember that you probably aren’t telling them anything that they haven’t already heard from their friends. Now they get your version.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes; kids will forgive mistakes. Just be faithful in teaching your children about sex, and especially in teaching the sacred value of sex and the need for respect and dignity toward all sexual issues. Later on, if not now, your children will love you for your efforts.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s books, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Larry James is a professional speaker, author, relationship coach and an award winning nondenominational Wedding Officiant. He performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere. Something NEW about relationships is posted every 4th day on this Relationships BLOG.
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