Sexual Responsibility for Our Youth

Our teens and tweens are set up to fail.  They are given terrible training in what to expect in romantic and sex relationships.

As a teenager over twenty years ago, I remember being moved by my emotions and hormones without reason.  I also remember getting social reinforcement from peers and pop culture.

Unfortunately, pop culture still propagates some goofy ideas about romance and sex.

The other night I started watching a few minutes of “The Secret Life of the American Teen” and was in tears before I turned it off.  The first scene was a teenager finding out she is pregnant.  The next scene was of another girl and her new boyfriend talking in the hall, he was pressuring her to have sex with him that night.  She relented merely because he persisted.

Despite what we are shown time and again on television, having sex with someone simply because they want to is not a good enough reason.

When watching that show, my heart broke because so many of my young friends in high school also succumbed to the same unfounded argument—that they “should” sleep with someone because that someone happened to be interested in them.

This topic is a hot button for me.  We give our girls and boys a story that this is “just how it is” when really, there is so much more to sex and romance.  This is not about morality.  This is an issue of well-being and self-respect.

Any mother of a tween can tell you that the clothing options for girls are racy.  During this delicate time, girls often feel especially awkward and their need for acceptance is through the roof.  If the accepted norm is to dress revealingly and become sexually active, we are creating a legacy of girls with low self-esteem that grow into confused and unfulfilled women.

Our boys are set up to fail, too.  What are they to do about their raging hormones?  If they are untrained to utilize their new energy in empowering ways, many of the will go the path of least resistance: using up our girls in a socially sanctioned revolving door of inappropriate sex.

So what do we do about it?  How do we set our youth up to win?  The answers are enough to fill volumes but we can make a beginning here: We introduce and embody the idea that our bodies are temples, not amusement parks.*  That sex is wonderful and natural but is not the beginning of a relationship.  Instead, it can be the culmination of cultivated intimacy and real commitment.  Our girls are powerful beyond measure and that power is not a commodity to be thrown away or swapped for attention, affection, or approval.

Our talks with our children must go beyond the mechanics of sex and expand to the emotional, physical, and spiritual responsibilities that accompany this greatest act of surrender.

Your Assignment: Take a look at how you view your own sexuality and how can you be a great example to our young ones?  Did you buy the bill of goods that movies and television offered?  If so, do you need some health and healing as well?  If so, you are not alone and there is plenty of help available to support you so that you may become an even greater force for good.

*This great analogy comes from my friend and mentor, Debrena Jackson-Gandy.

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