I’ve long heard about parents having a talk with their kids about “the birds and the bees.” Why specifically birds and bees? I doubt any parent discussing with their progeny ever truly mentioned either. My parents never had “the talk” at all. My mother gave me a book. It was uninformative, wasted paper and ink. I’d learned more as a farm boy watching cattle, dogs, and other animals mating than by any other method. Life observations can sometimes provide a better education about a physical act than anything a book might try to relate.
I suppose city kids’ primary education was observing neighborhood pets. It was never via a demonstration of the human sexual act, for most of us anyway. Hopefully, their parents did a better job than mine in relating the mechanics of sex between men and women.
The act of sex itself is only a small portion of the entire sexual experience for humans. For animals, sex is an instinctual drive for the procreation of the species. If animals receive any pleasure from the act, it is only a byproduct of the urge for the survival of their kind. As far as I know, most animals do not copulate for pleasure. Education in humans for most is limited to only the physical act itself, permissions gained, pregnancy, and STD prevention. There is a lack of training in the responsibilities regarding each partner’s emotional and physical needs. In addition to sex for procreation and pleasure, humans use the act for bonding and, in some cases, just a business transaction.
Because we humans have such a complex tangle of physical, emotional, and potentially unwanted consequences in such an intimate experience, our need for a greater understanding of those things becomes invaluable. In times past, and for some societies in the present, cultural controls were set up to restrict sexual activities to prevent many of the liberal sexual freedoms many now have. In extreme cases, sex outside of marriage has been punishable by death. In some cases, it still is.
Strict control, along with a lack of proper education in the entire aspects of human sexuality, brings about serious consequences, such as broken homes, unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases. It can, in some cases, result in aberrant behavior, including molestation, rape, and incest.
Uncertainties, fears, and desires fill a teenager’s life. Strict, authoritarian control only serves to cause them to suppress those emotions. They can surface as bad behavior, such as gangs, drugs, alcohol, or other paths of self-destruction. This behavior is often passed on to the next generation by example.
Of course, this applies not only to sexual matters but also to other aspects of life. In my opinion, sexual matters may be the most important, as it relates to the survival of the human race in the most direct and intimate way – affecting our family structure and values. Parents often fail to provide the guidance children need. They need to communicate with their children early about the urges they feel or will feel and how they relate to the species’ survival. Explain that the pleasure of the act is a normal part of the human experience. Tell them about the importance of giving, loving, and bonding. Explain the value of honoring and respecting those they wish to become intimate with when that time does eventually arrive. Let them know what each partner should expect to give and receive in the experience. They need to understand that sex should not be used to get attention, to get someone to like them, or to belong to an “in” crowd. They need to understand how special this act is between a couple.
Furthermore, in our world today, you can expect that your efforts in this will be hindered by peer pressure, pornography, and all manner of media portraying an unrealistic and false view of real relationships in that aspect of life. This should also be a continuing part of the discussion.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t just lecture; have a conversation. That may require you to listen more than speaking. Only by hearing their concerns or questions will you know how to respond with wisdom.