One reader posted some parental concerns as her favorite topic.
Listen to what she shared:
"How do we pass on good, healthy attitudes toward sex to our children? My parents meant well, but the little bit we learned was not passed on easily or well - and only from my father. We would love to encourage our sons and their spouses (1 present, 2 future) to enjoy each other to the fullest, and to understand the important role sex can (& should!) play in helping them create the most intimate and satisfying relationship possible.
They will be blessed in so many ways if they keep their sex life flourishing - but how do we express this in a non-offensive ("Oh, Mom! Yuck!), non-gross way? Our sex life has made everything else about our marriage so much better; the intimacy is incredible. They deserve the same. Do we just hope they figure it out for themselves? How have others approached this?"
A few thoughts of my own before you all respond---
Healthy attitudes about sex do not come about through osmosis. They will be "caught" but they also have to be "taught". Even with young married kids or single adult kids, there is no reason why parents can't sit them down and have an informative discussion about marital sex. Our kids are 21 and 18. They are still single and have never had sex. They've heard every embarrassing thing they could possibly hear from us on this topic but they will hear much more as time goes on. We even plan to discuss it with them and their future husbands to help assure that both of them get off on the right foot and on the same page. If they get embarrassed they will have to get over it.
GR and I have given marriage books as wedding gifts to nieces and nephews... some of the books recommended on TMB and even a few others. Some of their initial reactions expressed to their parents upon receiving these books were, "OMG, Aunt Gemma and Uncle GR sent marriage books. I can't believe they sent this!" To which their parents replied, "Well, duh... what do you think? They have sex like everybody else." Their parents tell us that their married kids read the books often.
How do we express this topic to our kids? In a very straight-forward, direct manner. (How else would I do it?) So, no, I wouldn't recommend sitting back and hoping that our married kids can figure it out. Look how many TMB members didn't figure it out with their spouse! Don't leave that to chance. Just deal with it.
For those concerned about teaching healthy sex ed to kids in their formative years---
This is a Christian series that we've used: "Let's Talk About Sex". The age range that each book is written for is as follows:
Why Boys & Girls are Different, ages 3-5
Where Do Babies Come From, ages 6-8
How You Are Changing, ages 8-11
Sex and the New You, ages 11-14
Love, Sex & God, ages 14 to young adult
Using a set of age-appropriate books like this gives you a guideline from little on up for how much detail to share. It's always best as an ongoing talk rather than "the talk". (I hate to hear a parent say, "We had the talk," as if one talk does it.) Pay attention to how your church presents marital sex to the teens. If kids only hear from church that "all sex is dirty" then the kids will make it dirty. But if they hear how wonderful sex is in the context of a healthy marriage, then they will believe the truth and look forward to the day when they are married and can "taste and see" for themselves.
I am so thankful that our church's clergy are totally comfortable in discussing these topics to groups of teens during retreats and summer camps. Most of our priests are married and the ones who oversee the teens' retreats embarrass the heck out of the kids but it's done in a positive way. They make no bones about telling the kids to wait until marriage and that marital sex is hot. By the time your kids are 18-20 years old these discussions should be second nature and by the time they are engaged, they are ready to hear the "dirty details" so they can apply it to their own marriage, lol.
I'm sure others have good things to share on this topic. Let's here it.