Teach Your Children the “Whole Truth” About Sex

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Today many voices in the world are shouting at us about the meaning of sex—what’s “acceptable,” “normal,” or “cool.” Nowhere is that voice louder, more abundant and “in your face” than when it comes from the media: TV, movies, music, magazines and the Internet. Unfortunately, this version of “sex-ed” is rarely based on logic, reason or scientific facts. The media promoters of illicit sex and pornography present their wares in a way that entices and excites the senses, as opposed to the intellect. And like the Sirens of Greek mythology, they have deceived and lured many into their trap. In fact, the media has become so prevalent and powerful, that many children, teens and young adults look to it as their primary source of sex education.

As an author, Mark has written 5 books, with additional titles under way. As a researcher, Mark is recognized in the U.S. and Japan for his writing and training in the mind-body science field, following in the footsteps of his mentor, world-renowned neuropsychologist, Dr. Page Bailey. Mark has received national and international acclaim for his extensive work in the field of pornography/sexual addiction prevention and recovery. His book The Drug of the New Millennium is widely cited and utilized by therapists, counselors and clergy.

In this blog/podcast, I want to talk to parents, and anyone else who desires to teach the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about sex to our young people.

Sexual Intimacy is a Gift

First of all, if our message about sex is “It’s dirty, evil and forbidden—and by the way, save it for someone you really love,” we will never be able to compete with the alluring “let yourself go!” and “if it feels good do it!” messages of Hollywood and pornographers.

Instead, we must teach that sexual intimacy is a precious gift from our Creator. This gift is built right into our very nature as human beings. Sexual intimacy is good; it’s a beautiful gift; it’s intended to be powerful. Each of us is born with this beautiful and glorious gift built in to our bodies—the power to create life—human life and the life of a relationship. As an integral part of this gift, our Creator placed within us powerful feelings, emotions and attractions. This was purposely done to motivate each of us to join together as husband and wife and become “one” in every way. But with this power comes limits and boundaries. Why? Because its use triggers an overwhelming neuro-chemical and biological response in the brain and the rest of the body. Like other natural powers and forces, the responsible “right-use” of this gift brings positive consequences—the joy and fulfillment of an ever-increasing love, intimacy, and “one-ness.” However, like any other power governed by natural laws, it’s “wrong-use” triggers a host of negative consequences. When it comes to human sexuality, the majority of our modern-day media are dead wrong! They’re promoting sexuality in a way that is directly contrary to physical, mental and emotional health, loving family relationships, and overall success and happiness.

Parents have a special stewardship to teach their children how wonderful this sacred gift is. It is not something to be feared or ashamed of, but rather something to bridle and keep in reserve for the right time, place and special person. Much more than just a physical act, sexual intimacy is the ultimate expression of full commitment—“I am fully committed to your growth, happiness, and adding to your value.” Young people today need to know that reserving sexual intimacy for this full commitment is worth the wait; they need to know that it will be one of the most marvelous and fulfilling experiences of their lives.

In essence, we want to present sexuality in such a way that, when faced with the counterfeit offer of pornography and illicit sex, our youth declare, “Why would I settle for this, when I can have that (the joy of a total union and full commitment in marriage)?” When our youth see sex portrayed in the media, we want them to respond, “These people don’t have a clue about what sexual intimacy means, but I do.” As parents, we have a responsibility to clothe the truth as attractively as possible—to combat the glittery wrapping employed by pornographers and the sexual media.

The Purpose for Moral Teachings

When we try to “cram morality down our children’s throats,” they often rebel because they believe we are taking away their freedom of choice. Teach the truth about chastity and morality—these are millennia-tested universal principles of living designed to protect us from the deceptions and pitfalls of the world. Ask your teens if they know anyone at school who has exercised their freedom of choice and started smoking, drinking, taking drugs, looking at porn, or having sex, only to find themselves hooked, pregnant, with an STD; their freedom to choose forfeit. While we can choose our initial behaviors, we cannot choose the consequences. Moral principles are not designed to enslave us, but rather to keep us free, all of our options open. It has been said, “You cannot break universal laws, but only break yourself against them.”

Why do we teach our young people to reserve sexual intimacy only for marriage? Because we know by experience of its enormous power to create immense joy or great misery.

Open Communication

My parents grew up in the 1940s and ‘50s. Being of that generation, Mom and Dad never felt comfortable openly discussing sex. So I was left to learn about intimacy from my friends and peers, not the most accurate and desirable source.

Today’s youth have it far worse. The Internet and other media form an extremely vocal and easily available supply of “sex education” in our society. In 2001, Media Scope conducted a poll among middle-school students and found that teens age 13-15 rank entertainment media as the top source of information about sexuality and sexual health. Imagine, Hollywood teaching our teens about sexual intimacy!

As a modern parent, you must overcome your hesitation, awkwardness and embarrassment, and establish open, honest, positive communication with your children regarding sexual issues. This does not mean “pulpit pounding,” “preaching” or “lecturing,” approaches that only create shame and drive your child away from you to other, less desirable sources of information and influence.

As I have conducted training for teens, many have expressed the fear that “If my mom knew what I’ve seen on the Internet, she’d kill me!” or “If my dad found out about the sexual stuff my friends are doing, he’d go ballistic!” We need to help our kids feel comfortable and “safe” talking to us about these issues. (For help with how to talk with your kids about sex, visit http://www.sexandyoungamerica.com.) If you doubt you can make a difference in your teen’s attitude and decisions about sex, consider this recent statistic: 91% of teens ages 15-17 that have not had sex said they were influenced by what their parents have taught them about sex.

Please keep in mind that in order to have open, healthy communication with your teens regarding sex, you must make the “emotional bank account deposits” along the way. Too often as parents we wait until there is some kind of crisis to engage in any really deep or serious conversation with our teenagers. Develop a close, personal communication along the way and you will find it far easier and more productive to have conversations about sexual issues.

Show Faith in Our Young People

A prominent number of psychologists, educators and legislators among us believe that our young people “can’t control themselves” that expecting teenagers to be abstinent is naïve and irresponsible. This camp is convinced that birth control and condoms, or what they deceptively label “safe sex,” is the only answer. In a nutshell, they believe that our youth are basically “animals”—slaves to their sexual appetites and impulses.

I strongly disagree. I find it naïve and preposterous to believe that our Creator would design our youth to begin experiencing these powerful urges and appetites at puberty, but give them no abilities or resources to control them. Would He purposely condemn them to failure? Of course not. That’s absurd.

Not only am I certain that our Creator has provided our youth—and us adults—with everything we need to control and direct this sacred power, I believe that our current generation of young people is the greatest in the history of the world. The “safe sex” crowd has forged a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy: tell teens they can’t control themselves; teach them how to use condoms and birth control; instruct them in sexual techniques; bombard them with sexualized media and messages. Do these things long enough, and you create a crop of pitifully weak youth, each in the image of his corrupt creators.

However, a growing number of teens are standing up and challenging this scenario. In December, 2003, a Washington Times article reported on a survey conducted for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The study revealed that two-thirds of U.S. teens who have had sexual relations wish they had waited. In fact, according to the survey, the number of those who wish they had waited rose 4% from three years prior. Such regret clearly demonstrates a complete contradiction to Kinsey’s assertion that sexual satisfaction is a childhood goal. The new data also determined that 85% of teens believe sex should only occur in long-term, committed relationships.

Our youth can do it! We need to speak up and demonstrate our faith and confidence in them. We need to lovingly set positive limits and boundaries, give them the necessary knowledge and tools, then show them how to honor those boundaries. Just as the promoters of illicit sex and pornography have done, we can create for our youth our own positive “self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Teach Youth They Can “Bridle” This Sacred Power

Telling teenagers not to feel attracted toward the opposite sex or never to feel arousal, is like telling a cloud, “Don’t you dare rain.” These powers and feelings are built into every cell of their bodies, their very genetic make-up. Teaching them to deny these feelings or telling them they are evil only creates shame and often drives teens to act out sexually. Instead, we can teach teens that they can bridle their passions and attractions.

The rider of a powerful horse does not permit the horse to run wild, unrestrained and without controls. Doing so places the rider in great peril. Rather, the rider uses reins attached to a bridle to harness and direct the horse’s power for productive and positive purposes. A skilled horseman knows when to hold the animal back and when to turn it loose, and how to direct it along desired paths, arriving at the intended destination.

We should teach our teens that these stirrings they feel are normal and good, placed within them for very special and sacred purposes. Rather than denying and completely shutting these feelings down, teens have the power to bridle, control and direct these sacred powers in healthy and appropriate ways. Taking the reins, they can travel the pathways of proper dating relationships, courtship and eventually marriage. At the right time and place, united with the love of their life in the sacred bonds of marriage, they can let the horse run free and it will be an exhilarating and beautiful experience.

Today, like no other generation of parents before us, when it comes to the sex education of our children, we are in competition with incredibly powerful influences—TV, Internet, movies, music, cell phones and the like. But, armed with unconditional love, honest and open communication, and telling the “whole truth” about human sexuality, we can win this battle!



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