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Sexual Morality And Kids
Why parents need to stop being paranoid and begin to educate their kids about sex.
I sincerely appreciate how difficult it is to watch your child try-on their sexualityóespecially when itís so in your face. Yet, itís probably the same way your parents fretted when you listened to Madonna, Led Zepplin, Elvis or whatever music, movie or fashion you were into at the time.
Kids figuring out their sexuality is an age-old parent/ teenager dilemma. It certainly doesnít help that at least once a year, headlines blare about the latest thing that will compromise your daughterís sexual morality. (Please note: thereís rarely anything in the news about your sonís sexual morality. Is it just me or is there something fundamentally wrong here?)
Just recently, Sharlene Azam got a lot of press with her new book, "The New Goodnight Kiss." She writes about an "alarming" trend in middle-class Canadian families where "teenage girls are trading sex forÖ just about anything."
Problem is Azamís findings are not based on any research or scientific data. Rather, theyíre based on her investigative journalist skills, as well as what she captured in her documentary film of the same name.
How many times have I come across a story or book that can have such a profound impact, which is based on nothing but biased observation? Unfortunately, the average fearful parent gobbles this type of story up, thereby perpetuating harmful and unfounded dogmas. The end result becomes another generation of parents who are unnecessarily paranoid about their childís sexual conduct. Yet, another generation of young women carry a ton of shame about their sexuality for the rest of their life.
Then again, Iím a bit zealous about womenís sexual rights.
To get a balanced perspective, I spoke with Sexologist, Brian Parker, Ph.D. who has been teaching sex education in high schools and universities for many years. I asked him if kids are more sexual and/ or more sexually active than they were ten years ago.
An emphatic, "No" followed with, "Studies show todayís teenagers are no more sexually active than teenagers of the last few decades. The average age of first intercourse is 16 years old."
Parents would undoubtedly argue that we are living in a hyper-sexualized society. That kids have more access to sexual information than any generation before them. (By the way, every generation of parent has probably said something similar.)
Parker agrees and cautions parents about two things. The first is to be age appropriate, "If a seven-year-old is provocatively dancing to Britany Spears, they probably donít understand what theyíre doing. If itís an eleven year old, they probably do. Itís important to ask your child, 'Why are you doing that?'"
The second gem from Parker is, "During your ongoing conversation about sex, make sure your kids understand what your morals and values are. Donít assume they will mirror what you want or believe. And donít just say 'Thatís inappropriate,' tell your kids why."
Sex education starts at birth and goes until your kids are out of your home. You must cram the maximum amount of information into their heads before they turn 13 when their friends become their reference point.
Appreciate that as much as you would like to protect your teenager from getting an STD, becoming pregnant or getting a bad reputation; they will most likely have sex with or without your knowledge.
Take heart, research proves a comprehensive sex education will keep them safe and making the best choices for them self, their body and sexual self-esteem.
In the end, I donít know why I bother battling against this prehistoric belief system. Itís an emotional, not logical, issue. The "teenage girls trade sex forÖ just about anything" type of headlines will forever fuel parental insecurities.
I canít help but wonder though, what would happen if we trusted our youth and guided rather than interfered with their normal sexual development.
Dr. Trina Read has a doctorate in human sexuality. Dr. Read is also an international speaker and offers free sex tips on her website www.bestsextipsever.com. To order her book, "Til Sex Do Us Part," click here.
You can also hear more from Dr. Trina Read on the Hitched Podcast.
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