Monday, July 29, 2013

Teaching Children about Sex and Their Personal Worth

I recently read an Article about Abstinence-Only sex education highlighting Elizabeth Smart's feelings on the matter. I'm sure you all remember Elizabeth Smart's story- abducted from her bedroom in 2002 at the tender age of 14 and held in captivity for 9 long months mostly in the mountains behind her home in Salt Lake City Utah.
I lived in Utah at the time and when she was found and I, along with much of the world I imagine, wondered- "why didn't she just run away from her captures? She had so many opportunities and she was so close to home."
Utah has a high Conservative Christian population and I believe still teaches Abstinence-only sex education in schools. I myself am Christian... however, I, like Elizabeth Smart, have developed strong feelings about abstinence-only education due to the unfortunate fact that I myself am proof of the statistics listed below and personally know the dangers abstinence only education can put a young woman in. And it is even more important to me now that I have children of my own.

Elizabeth Smart says it best:
"“I remember in school one time, I had a teacher who was talking about abstinence and she said, ‘Imagine you’re a stick of gum. When you engage in sex, that’s like getting chewed. And if you do that lots of times, you’re going to become an old piece of gum, and who is going to want you after that?’ Well, that’s terrible. No one should ever say that. But for me, I thought,
My beef with this analogy is that this message usually falls harder on girls: 

If one person is the gum, the other person chews. This is a VICTIM based analogy. The same goes for all of the other “tips” that put the pressure on the victim to prevent rape. "When we teach teenagers to dress modestly, abstain from alcohol and certainly never engage in sex, we’re not actually helping them prevent rape—but we are telling them that when they are victimized, they are partially to blame." - Amanda Hess,

Current statistics on sexual abuse and rape are staggering and these statistics should emphasize the importance of proper sex education to children and teenagers:

In my opinion proper sex education should teach:

You are ALWAYS of worth no matter what happens, and no matter what you decide. Teaching this is essential to protecting not only their bodies- but their sense of worth and their self esteem. I've personally witnessed and gone through the horrible depression you can experience once you lose your self worth and self esteem. 

Sex is not "one person chewing and one person being chewed". It is and always should be mutual and equal.

-Your body is YOURS and YOURS ALONE. Children need to learn that they have permission to fight back, and that requires them to know that they are of worth and that they have value EVEN AFTER the attack. NO MATTER WHAT. 

And most importantly- Sex education should start as young as possible and should go hand in hand with teachings of empowerment, value, worth, and respect. Children need to learn that sex is not a bad thing. It is not worth shaming. It is a topic that needs to be discussed and they need to feel comfortable enough to talk to you about it. 

So, I'd like to know... what are your feelings on the matter? Do you believe in abstinence-only education? Do you believe that it is a topic that should be taught at home and/or in school? Personally, I have mixed feelings on the matter that are rather complicated- to lengthy to discuss here. But I'm curious as to what you think and how you all teach it to your children.



  1. i believe in abstinence only sex education, but not in the chewed piece of gum way. that is pretty harsh. we teach our girls that it is not shameful or bad, but beautiful and sacred as long as it is with the right person, at the right time with whom you are legally married. if they choose otherwise i would never condemn them or make them feel worthless, but i hope they chose not to engage in sex before marriage. it can really complicate their lives in so many different ways.

    i guess i am kinda old school in my way of thinking regarding this topic, but i really feel strongly about it.

    i also, feel that it is my responsibility as a parent to teach them proper sex education and not the public school system. unfortunately, not every student has the same support system as my children and at least they are being educated somehow.

    also, each of my children have been ready at different ages to get the "sex talk". they each have matured at different rates therefore have gotten "the talk" at different times in their lives.

  2. I just found this blog and I find this view from a Christian refreshing. I myself am a Christian as well. Nice to see I'm not alone in feeling this way.