Talking About Sex: With Our Kids, With Ourselves
Sex and Our Kids
Sex is one of the most important but least talked-about subjects in parenting. Many mothers and fathers dread talking about it with their children, and so they avoid the topic or rush through a one-time discussion. From the sex education survey I conducted in collaboration with Dr. Phil, I have learned that silence about sex is still prevalent and creates serious problems for many of us. Yet all parents want what's best for their children, and open communication about sex is vital to insuring that a child develops a healthy sexuality—one that honors the family's moral tradition and sees sex as a wholesome part of the larger phenomenon of love. We have to teach our children—contrary to the messsage they usually get from the media—that sex is more than bodily acts, that its meaning and its consequences go far beyond the physical. Honest talk that conveys such a message about sex not only protects a child from negative influences, but enriches and strengthens family bonds. In short, talking about sex is not just good for your kids—it's good for the whole family!
But how do you actually do it? What are the specific steps you should take, based upon your circumstances, to make sure that sex and love remaind connected for your child? It is to guide you in answering these questions that I wrote the book How to Talk with Your Kids about Sex In the book, I tackle the numerous issues that face parents and children—issues such as when to first talk about sex and how and what to say when confronted with difficult questions and situations, as well as how to prepare a child for the risks of sex in our complicated times. This book zeros in on specific issues and concrete situations from many different types of families, using my decades of experience as a psychologist, professor—and parent. At this website you can sample some of the information in the book, and learn more about the value both of developing your awareness of your own sexuality and of candid and loving discussions about sex with your child.
Sex and Ourselves
It can be very difficult for people to talk openly and honestly about sex with their kids if they are not honest and open with themselves. Of course, no one needs to wait to discuss sex until he or she has it all figured out—if we did, none of us would ever say a thing! But unresolved sexual issues can be not only an impediment to your own sexual health, but an obstacle to healthy conversations with your children. This website is also intended to serve you as a resource that complements How to Talk with Your Kids about Sex by helping you in your own personal quest for sexual self-understanding and happiness. Please browse around the information on the site to learn more about human sexuality and the ways to address and answer sexual problems. I hope that, in line with what you want to teach your children, you can discover for ourself that sex at every stage of life can be a meaningful, integral part of a healthy, loving person.
And, don't forget to contact me if I may answer any other questions that you have.
Dr. John Chirban
Old Before Their Time: Sex and Kids
A recent study in the Journal of Adolescence found that young adults between the ages of 12 and 19 feel older when they engage in sexual activities and other risky behaviors like drinking and drug use. It seems that teens sometimes use sex as a way to make themselves feel more mature and in control than their non-experienced peers.
The study suggests that seeking sexual experiences can be a coping mechanism for adolescents. Sexual acts in such circumstances are as much about feeling secure in an uncertain and pressure-filled environment than about satisfying mature sexual desires. Such a study also helps to explain why frank and loving communication about sex actually lowers the chances that a child will engage in sexual activity before he or she is ready: Knowing about sex can provide a kid with the sense of control and security that allows them to see that true sexual maturity is really about values and self-respect.
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For more information about the study, see “Sex, Drugs And Dating Make Teens Feel Older”.
Differing Sex Drives Between Men and Women?
Women in committed relationships want sex as much as men, a recent study conducted at the University of Florida has found. When in stable, intimate partnerships, both genders agree that sex is vital to a healthy relationship and a healthy sense of self.
But the common social stereotype that women are less interested in sex than men does contain a kernel of truth. When single, women do tend to engage in less sex than men. The reason, the study suggests, is not an innate difference between males and females, but the pressure of social expectations that push men to have sex and teach women not to.
The findings indicate that our society has a real effect on our sexual identity and our actions. Sometimes the effect is for the good, other times for the not-so-good, but in almost all cases we learn that sex is extraneous to a wholesome identity. Given this influence that can fracture a person’s sense of self, it becomes all the more important that we listen to the lessons our society gives about sex with some measure of caution. As the study indicates, a healthy sexuality is part of every healthy man and woman.
See “Study busts myth that women want less sex”.