Written by Spencer Board and KayReah Warner

Physical intimacy is a sacred part of Heavenly Father’s plan of happiness; however, there are those who think sex is a taboo topic.

Kevin Green, a marriage and family counseling instructor specializing in pornography addiction, said although sex is sacred, parents have the responsibility to talk about it often with their children.

Jennifer Schneider, a physician certified in Addiction Medicine, said sex often is a difficult subject for parents to discuss with their children because they fear that the information might harm them in the long run, according to her website.

“A child exposed to pornography does not mean that child will be addicted to it,” Green said. “Certainly, how a parent reacts to the child can drive curiosity.”

Green said there are two approaches parents can take with sex education: being reactive and being proactive. He suggests the proactive approach.

“(I think) sex should be viewed in the way God sees it — special and sacred,” said McKenna Cotton, a freshman studying psychology.

Cotton said people should not view sex as a joke, but, instead, the subject should be addressed. She said there should be a balance between talking about it too much and not talking about it enough.

SHANE MURPHEY | Scroll Illustration

“Some parents are very awkward about this topic,” Green said. “They don’t know where to start, how to approach or how to talk to a child about this topic.”

Green suggested parents be proactive in educating their children about sex. However, an aggressive reaction may cause the child to experiment on his or her own. If the child cannot turn to a parent, he or she will go to the internet.

“(I think) in the home, it needs to be talked about,” Cotton said. “Kids shouldn’t be ashamed to ask questions. If parents don’t talk to them about it, they will go to other sources.”

Kristell Nielson, a wife and mother, said sex education should start in the home, and children should be taught about the topic little by little.

“I don’t want my daughter to look for information in other places,” said Nielson. “I don’t want her to have a question and be so worried to come to me that she goes to the internet.”

Nielson said parents should be open to talking about it and answering their children’s questions.

“It is better to use the proper terms rather than the slang alternatives in sex education,” Green said. “Slang alternatives can do more harm to the child.”

In an interview conducted by NPR with Nora Gelperin, a director of training at the sex education-promoting organization Answer, Gelperin said many students will be confused when taught about sex education because they only know the slang terms. She said she encourages teachers to increase the students’ awareness of the medically accurate terms.

“It’s kind of like a bad word nowadays, like, you’re vulgar if you talk about it,” Nielson said. “I didn’t grow up in in the Church, and so I wasn’t as naive. I wasn’t as scared about it.”

Elizabeth Smart, a child safety activist, said The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints should stop focusing on shaming youth so they will follow the commandments, according to LDS Smile.

Smart said those who are affected by sexual behaviors, either of their own accord or of another’s, can be pushed farther away if the response is not appropriate, according to LDS Smile.

Often, the focus of parents is teaching children to avoid sex out of wedlock, according to the church manual Strengthening Marriage. However, they often neglect helping children understand sex is positive within marriage.

Green said parents should keep in mind the effects age, consistency and verbiage will play on how their sex education may play into a pornography addiction or not.