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Monday, April 03, 2006 

Spring must be bunny time

Does Britney Spears help influence the first time your child has sex? Reuters reports on a study in the current issue of Pediatrics "Sexy Media Matter: Exposure to Sexual Content in Music, Movies, Television, and Magazines Predicts Black and White Adolescents' Sexual Behavior", finding that more exposure to "sexy" media means earlier they are doin' it. An excerpt from the yahoo news story:

The teenage pregnancy rate in the United States is three to 10 times higher than that found in other industrialized nations, making that and exposure to sexually transmitted infections a major public health concern, the study said.

At the same time parents tend not to talk about sex with their children in a timely and comprehensive way, leaving a vacuum in which the media may become a powerful sex educator, providing "frequent and compelling portraits of sex as fun and risk free."

"Interestingly one of the strongest predictors of risk for early sexual intercourse for both black and white teens (in the study) was the perception that his or her peers were having sex," the report said.

I'm bringing up my children a "bit" differently from how I was brought up, and this is one huge difference. My dad to this day, my mother jokes, can't bring himself to face the fact that his older sister has ever had sex, much less his daughters.

Our kids are at risk due to religions peddling the sex is bad meme, and its backlash, our culture's obsession with strange teenage-boy fantasy worlds. How does one navigate the waters, with abstinence-only programs failing (unless you think gonorrhea of the throat is a good outcome), while girls are becoming fertile earlier every year?

But, instead of feeling like a unmoored boat bobbing in the waves when it comes to teaching my child about sex, there are good books such as Everything You Never Wanted Your Kids to Know About Sex, but Were Afraid They'd Ask: The Secrets to Surviving Your Child's Sexual Development from Birth to the Teens to guide the way. Another book I have is the Yellow Dyno book, which gave me the courage to start using the p-word (penis). I can now say it without blushing, a huge step away from my Catholic upbringing. If you can't even say the word, how do you give your children the skills they need to protect themselves against predators?

My husband and I have raised our kids ot be able to talk to us about ANYTHING and they have brought up stuff over the years that would have made my mother just keel over in embarrassment. But if the line of communication isn't kept open, that is when kids get their ideas and information from other sources that may not be correct. Open communication is extremely important in all areas, not just sex. We never set special times or anything like that...it was an open-door discussion policy and very free and flexible. They still come to us to talk about stuff and they are in their 20s.

Excellent post. This is such an important issue, if not the most important, when it comes to our kids.
My mother began teaching me about human bodies and sex as far back as I can remember. Sex in our home was something that we could discuss at the dinner table. My parents did not fool themselves when it came to teenagers having sex. I was encouraged to come to them first for birth control, no matter what, no questions asked. I plan on doing the same for my boys.

"strange teenage-boy fantasy worlds"? Could you please explain.

you know, the obsession with youth and boobies (but not boobies being used to nurse), and did I mention youth? Any TV or magazine article has women that any 16 year old heterosexual male would drool over. I could care less, except for the challenge of bringing up my daughter without giving her a body image problem.

Europeans are much less uptight about being nekkid. That's all I meant. Thanks for reading!

cassandra, you wouldn't have believed what a repressed house mine seems in comparison :)

stardust, you give me courage that I'll get through the teen-aged years...

Freethoughtmom - the teenage years are a challenge, but if you keep the communication lines open, things will be fine and you will have a very open and close relationship with your kids always. :)

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  • I'm the freethoughtmom from New England. Welcome!
  • The word rational means having the ability to reason. Reasoning takes time. Giving yourself the space to think is practically a luxury in our society.

    My father is a logical engineer, my mother a caring nurturer. My handwriting with my dominate hand resembles that of my father, the other, my mother. I feel lucky to have both sides to draw from.
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