Monday, July 1, 2013

Let's talk about sex

We had an awesome 5th Sunday lesson yesterday.  Our bishop taught us about teaching our children about sex.

Well, in fairness, he led with the law of chastity.  He observed that some of our youth could not adequately describe the law of chastity in a temple recommend interview.  (And he acknowledged that especially the younger youth could well be uncomfortable being asked to do so.)

He cited an awesome talk from Elder Ballard from the October2009 General Conference Priesthood Session  in which he said,

I am especially concerned that we communicate openly and clearly with our sons about sexual matters. Your sons are growing up in a world that openly embraces and flaunts early, casual, and thoughtless promiscuity. Your sons simply cannot avoid the blatant sexual imagery, messages, and enticements that are all around them. Fathers and Church leaders need to have open and frequent discussions that teach and clarify how young men of the priesthood handle this issue. Be positive about how wonderful and beautiful physical intimacy can be when it happens within the bounds the Lord has set, including temple covenants and commitments of eternal marriage. Studies show that the biggest deterrent to casual sexual activity is a wholesome attitude that connects such personal relationships with genuine commitment and mature love. Fathers, if you have not had this “big talk” with your sons, please do so, and do it soon.

Our bishop naturally extended this discussion to include mothers and daughters and fathers and daughters and mothers and sons, as well as others who may have influence in a young person’s life. 

In the ensuring discussion, we agreed that we need to start early, that one “big talk” is not enough, and that our children will be taught even if we choose not to do it, so it’s wise for parents to get their story in front of their kids early and often.

Our bishop referred us to A Parent’s Guide, available at lds.org , which offers excellent age-appropriate developmental information and teaching recommendations.  I first read A Parent’s Guide twenty years ago (it’s been around for nearly thirty), and we’ve referred to it many times in our parenting journey. 

Another incredible resource he pointed us to was completely new to me.  Nearly hidden away at the Mormon Channel is a series of videos about how and why to teach our children these things.  It’s called Family Conversations: Talking About Healthy Sexuality, and you can find the videos here.  The videos are moderated by a professional at LDS Family Services, and the two respondents are an LDS family therapist and a BYU professor.

And by the way, despite my post’s title, it’s about much more than sex.  It’s about intimacy, covenants, the Plan of Salvation, The Family: A Proclamation, our covenant relationship to our Father in Heaven and more.

And that’s the point.  This particular video (click here) was especially poignant to me.  In it we learn that studies show that when we teach our children about healthy sexuality, we help to protect them from abuse and from pornography.  And we also learn that our kids want the straight scoop, not just veiled metaphors in tired and worn out object lessons.

I’ve been a dad for 32 years, and I think we’ve done pretty well a lot of the time on this front.  But not always.  And I’m still learning.  And I’m thrilled by the resources that are available to us today.

(By the way, our awesome bishop also shared information about the church’s websites for addiction recovery, overcoming pornography and dealing with same-sex attraction.)












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