When I was maybe 12-years old, my grandmother gave me the birds and bees talk in the car while driving me back to my parent’s house. There I was trapped with no where to run and all I really remember about the “talk” was my desire to melt away into the seat. Hearing my grandmother talk about such things made me all kinds of squeamish. Hey, I was 12-years old and my grandmother was talking to me about sex!
I also remember the “talk” at school given by our ancient PE teacher. She was like 185-years old and hearing her talk about sex was about as interesting as picking dried paint off a wall. She was all very technical, which, of course, made us all giggle and not pay attention to a word she was saying.
When my oldest turned of age to have the initial talk with her, I was nervous. It’s a very intimate conversation and I wondered how she would view me and her dad after explaining how she came into existence. I wondered if she’d be grossed out, clam up, ask lots of questions, or seem as if this was all old news to her. I took her to get Starbucks and then we sat outside and I gave her the very vanilla version so as not to overwhelm her with too much at first. I then invited her to ask questions, and she did ask a few. Afterwards, I told her that this was just the first of many talks about this topic, because it’s so important. I encouraged her to always come to me with any questions she had and even told her that if she felt weird asking, she could write it down for us.
That was several years ago now and I’ve just had the talk with my middle child. She took it well, but she’s a lot more sensitive, so I didn’t expect too many questions from her, yet.
Ahhhh, the joys of parenting.
I teach my kids about chastity. Usually when I say chastity, people raise their eyebrows and ask if I even like sex. They want to know where I keep my chastity belts for my kids. Chastity is a virtue that is greatly scorned by our culture.
“Chastity! That prudish, kill-joy, boring call to be abstinent?! No thanks!” yells the world.
It is so important how we present chastity to our kids. We can’t talk to them about sex as is if it is a dirty thing or bad. No, sex is a beautiful expression of love meant for the union of man and wife in marriage. This is outdated in the eyes of the world. Often the world thinks that we, as Catholics, don’t think enough about sex. But, I’ve heard it said that it’s the world that doesn’t think enough about sex, in fact, it thinks too little. The world boils it down to just a pleasurable experience between consenting people. It’s just a great thing to do. The Catholic Church actually thinks much more about sex. We see it as a sacred act meant to unite two souls into one. Through this free act of love, sometimes the couple is blessed with fruits of their love–children.
So, when we talk to our kids about sex, we must appeal to the beauty of the act and the loving, self-giving act of waiting for your spouse. I tell my girls that there is such freedom in being chaste for your spouse and with your spouse. You don’t have to worry about baggage, you don’t have to worry about diseases, and you don’t have to worry about children with someone who may not stick around. Fidelity in a marriage allows you to love each other faithfully, fruitfully, freely, and fully.
Girls love to hear about the beauty of waiting and why it means so much to their self-esteem and self-worth. They need to understand the bond that is created and why it is so special to give the gift of yourself. It is an act that says, “I loved you enough to give this part of me only to you.” I tell my girls that sex is a beautiful, good, wonderful thing that is meant to be enjoyed in the bond of the martial union. God created sex and He wants us to enjoy it, but not in the warped, twisted selfish way the world pushes.
“A person’s rightful due is to be treated as an object of love, not as an object for use.”
–Pope John Paul II
For boys, we have to appeal to chastity through strength, discipline, and heroism. Boys want a bar to rise to, but, sadly, our world sets the bar very low. If you can show them the heroic nature of disciplining themselves for their future spouse, they will want to rise to the occasion and accept the challenge. Sexual desire is very real and very strong and to sacrifice is heroic. It is easy to follow the world’s way, yet, the harder way is more rewarding. We can’t just say “Don’t have sex!” That rarely works with teens. We have to show them why it is so important to practice the virtue of chastity in a world that laughs in the face of anyone who tries.
“Take away from love the fullness of self surrender, the completeness of personal commitment, and what remains will be a total denial and negation of it.”
– Pope John Paul II
Teaching out kids about this is no easy task. That is why talks about sex have to happen with your teens frequently. We can’t be afraid to speak up about such things and show them that it’s not a taboo topic. In fact, sex is a very, very important topic. I’ve found that the more I talk about it with my kids, the easier it gets. We also have to show how the Catholic Church thinks that sex is a truly, beautiful sacred union; that it isn’t just a past time or recreational activity that involves pleasure. St. John Paul II’s writings on marriage and sex are off the charts amazing.
“Love between man and woman cannot be built without sacrifices and self-denial.”
–Pope John Paul II
When the world hears about chastity all it equates it with is puritanical rules and prudish outdated advice given by parents who want to forever control their kids. This is nonsense, of course, because if you’ve ever read the Church’s teachings on sex within marriage, you can’t help but walk away amazed at just how special the marital embrace really is. Our culture has sold us a bill of lies and it is up to us, as parents, to change the tune. I lived the ways of the culture in my late teenage years and it did not live up to what was hyped. Everyone told me what sex was, but nobody told me the importance of it. I don’t want that for my children and I must show them the truth of sex: That “living the Christian life is not a matter of repressing our desires, but of redeeming them.”—Christopher West
If you need more info as to how spot on the Catholic Church has got it, you can read this article published in the Federalist.
“Science finds that the basic boundaries for sex the Catholic Church teaches increase sex drive and satisfaction.”