When I was pregnant, Kerry, my spouse, and I would joke that our baby would be a football-playing-conservative-born-again-Christian as God’s punishment for our liberal, non-believer ways. So far, so good. Milo seems to be an anti-sports-liberal-atheist, just like his mama and papa. I guess this means we’ll end up in hell together! Yay!
I know for a fact you want your children to think and believe the same things you do. If not exactly the same things, then some close approximation. When it comes to sexuality I bet you’d like your children to believe much of what you do about this fundamental part of life.
But, because it’s sex and sex is complex and confusing and personal and political, you may be a bit out of your element when it comes to articulating your beliefs about it. In my last post I gave you my super secret sex talks formula – Facts + Values – so you can have easy and effective talks with your kids.
The “facts” part is easy. The “values” part, not so much. Here’s the deal, you MUST be clear about your sexual values because this is the one and only part of all the information about sexuality your children will get that you and only you can and should provide. Your values are what you believe to be right or true about something and your kids need to know what you believe.
When you know your sexual values and talk openly about them with your child, you will influence their thinking about sex. This means you will influence their decision making about sex. This means you will be IN THEIR HEADS when things get hot and heavy (the world’s biggest turn-off, I’d like to point out).
Let’s take “sex before marriage” as an example. Many, many, many people believe, really and truly believe, sex should only happen within heterosexual marriage. This is a very common value and one that only 5% of Americans manage to live.
But here’s the thing – saying you believe sex is for marriage isn’t good enough. You need to explain why it’s for marriage (and “god says so” isn’t an answer; it’s a cop out). What is it about marriage that is so special? What’s going on, in a marriage, that makes it the best time to do the deed?
I do not share this value. I happen to think it’s kind of nuts, but that’s just me and my values. I think sex, especially the first time a person has sex, should be with someone they love, are in a committed, exclusive relationship with, have protection and it’s a whole hearted YES! for both parties.
I also like it when the people who are considering having sex are over the age of 18. I rarely get my way on this one considering the average age of first intercourse is 17.
And if you think it’s wrong to share your values with your child because you “want them to make their own decisions” I would like you to consider what would happen if you left them to their own devices for every meal they eat. They would make shitty choices 90% of the time.
Just like you don’t share every value your parents ever crammed down your throat, your kids will develop their own values and beliefs anyway. If you talk about your sexual values chances are merely higher they will make better decisions about sex than you ever did.
I wrote a whole book about this very topic – clarifying your beliefs about sex, love and relationships. You can purchase the Kindle version here.