I get discussion post assignments and honestly, it’s one of my favorite parts of class. I love not just giving my opinion but getting feedback from others and just bouncing ideas back and forth. Our most recent post was on having the sex talk with a child and who exactly should be the one to discuss the subject; the parent or the school?
Here was my response to the subject. I’d love to hear other points of view!
Honestly, I think the “sex talk” is one of the most hilarious and awkward conversations to ever take place. My mother was raised Catholic and while I wouldn’t say she was strict she definitely leans conservative with her religious views. I am the oldest of three girls and she had the sex talk with all of us multiple times and each time was highly uncomfortable. It was pretty much the typical “sex is a beautiful and wonderful thing that takes place between a husband and wife”. All I ever got out of the talks was that sex was supposedly great and I couldn’t partake until I was married. When I was younger I didn’t really know what any of it meant and I didn’t care. Once I got older and started looking at the opposite sex in a new light I began to wonder. Why do I have to wait? I understood the religious reasons because those were the only reasons ever actually given to me but to be honest despite my mother’s devout Catholicism, I’ve never been all that religious. I was curious about the reasons outside of God’s wrath. Luckily for me, middle school answered that question. If you have sex before marriage you will undoubtedly get herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis. All of them. Probably at the same time. Seriously, though, I can honestly say I have never been sat down and had a straightforward and healthy talk about sex. All sex talks really seemed to be is just a vague description and then a series of moral and health warnings. Truthfully, I learned about sex from the first guy I actually had sex with and imagine it’s like that for most people.
I’ve said it in a previous discussion post and I will say it here. “The more secret and taboo the subject of sex is treated then the more likely the child will want to experiment and engage in it. Telling someone how wonderful and special something is while also telling them they can’t engage in it tends to create a conflicting message and strong curiosity.” Literally quoted myself. I believe the approach my Mom took is the popular one with parents, especially the more conservative and religious parents. Another good example would be The Jonas Brothers, a boy band from a few years ago comprised of the religiously raised brothers that each took a “ring promise”. I am familiar with the ring ceremony because I took it myself when I was 13 with my best friend. Basically, it is a “promise” to remain a virgin until marriage, depending on the program there are a series of meetings and even a big ceremony congratulating the big decision. Comedian Russell Brand spoke about the boys and the promise they’d made on television, saying the entire problem with it is that rather than help young adults choose to not have sex before marriage all it really does is make the main focus about sex! The word sex is constantly being thrust into their brain that at some point it will be all they can think about. Brand received a big backlash saying he was not showing respect for the boy’s decisions. Problem was, he was right. Two out of the three boys have since blatantly come out and talked about their active sex lives, the third one successfully waited until marriage but actually got married fairly young to his childhood sweetheart. As for me? Well I kept my promise for another six years. The point is, the religious approach doesn’t really work, the parental approach comes off a little too authoritative and honestly hypocritical, and schools just show pictures of genitalia with STI’s. So, what is the right approach?
Well despite my own argument I really believe it should come from the parent, but I think the conservative approach is failing.
I’m not a parent, so the best I can do is say what I would do if I had children. And that is very little. I’m not saying I won’t have “the talk” but when I do, I’d like to approach it realistically. Sex should not be about marriage so much as love. I think if a parent is honest about what sex actually is, waits until a child is at the age when the hormones are getting antsy, and then lets them know they are an open book sex shouldn’t really be an issue because the taboo nature of it has been taken off the table. It shouldn’t be a dirty secret but a normal topic of conversation because it is a normal aspect of life. Once the conversation has been had, I plan to leave it alone. What’s the point in bringing it up over and over again other than paranoia that your child might be having sex?
It should be entirely up to the parent how and when the subject of sex is brought to their child but their approach is just as important as anyone else’s because it can and will drastically affect how the child views sex and their own sexuality.