“Oh my gosh! I can’t handle this right now!” she said as she stormed off into the back of the apartment and refused to come out for the rest of the evening. All because I made a “that’s what she said” joke.
Too often, in our culture, people refuse to talk about the s-word. Or s-word related things, like masturbation. In the example I just gave, it made someone so uncomfortable she had to leave the room.
This isn’t healthy. Sex is a natural thing in this world, and if we can’t talk about it, our children will know nothing — a disease too common in our culture.
When my fiancée was in the Provo Missionary Training Center, they were being taught how to teach the law of chastity. As everything got written on the board, they were asked if they knew what all of it meant. Looking up there, she thought to herself, “I don’t know what masturbation is,” but why would she say that in a room full of immature teenage boys and her awkward male teacher?
So she waited until she got back to her room where she could ask her companions, which led to a very detailed, mildly uncomfortable conversation about what masturbation is.
Now what would have happened if her parents actually talked to her about sex? Not that, that’s for sure.
And that is not the first example I’ve heard or known personally. My dad used to be in the bishopric and when he was interviewing youth for their temple recommends, he had to ask the oh-so-comfy question “Do you live the law of chastity?” they didn’t even know what he was talking about.
As they were preparing to enter the temple, a place where covenants of this nature are made, they had to be taught the details of their promises. They should have known this when they were baptized because that’s when they first agreed to live a chaste life.
Those aren’t the only examples I have. Once I was talking with a family about sex. The father of the household told us about a missionary he met that didn’t know women have vaginas. I’ve heard another story about a man that thought women got pregnant by having sex in the bellybutton.
What would happen if we actually talked about sex? What would happen if it’s no longer taboo? What would happen if we realize that sex is natural and not a satanic ritual that can only be discussed in the confines of our old age?
My family and friends talked about it all the time growing up. So it’s a normal thing for me. I’ve had to educate so many people about sex since I came to college, and they always get so uncomfortable and embarrassed because I have to tell them about the human anatomy they weren’t even aware of.
In fact, when I didn’t know something growing up, I had no problem going to my parents to ask because we made it such a normal thing in our house. Why don’t more people do this?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention even said when parents talk to their children about sex, it makes a difference.
“Most teens also say they share their parents’ values about sex, and making decisions about delaying sex would be easier if they could talk openly and honestly with their parents,” according to the CDC.
But how would these teens know their parents’ values if they aren’t openly shared?
At a time in adulthood when a lot of us are reaching that point of parenthood, we need to make sure we are comfortable with sex and conversations about it, so we don’t shut down when our children ask what masturbation is or think that pregnancy comes from putting it in the bellybutton.