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.
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.
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.
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