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The Problem with Religious Sexuality Education

Updated: Jan 7, 2021

As many of you know, one of the most important aspects of the work we do with couples and individuals, is treating the results and consequences of poor sexual education, as they manifest in adulthood. I don't treat kids or teens, but I've always wished parents had better resources for educating children in ways that would reduce some of the problems I see in my practice. I've lectured here and there on this topic, but I really wanted to create a more elaborate curriculum for sexuality education that is both healthy and holy- clear and values based.

If you’re like most loving, religious parents I know- you want to do the best you can to set your kids up for a healthy, happy, and holy future. In many areas of parenting there’s an abundance of information available. But when it comes to the topic of sexuality, there is a real shortage of appropriate information and guidance on how to teach kids about their bodies and about sex, in ways that are honest, safe, values-based, and that lead to healthy body image and good relationships.

See, even when we want to talk about these things with them, we’re often up against strong societal pressure that makes this feel kind of taboo. We worry about our kids staying pure and not “knowing too much.”

Then we also have to worry about the danger of sexual predators getting to them before we can arm then with knowledge about their right to body boundaries. Sometimes parents feel insecure about their own baggage around sex: lack of knowledge, shame, body image, or complicated feelings about sexuality.

We can sometimes feel helpless to answer difficult questions, or uncomfortable talking about what we think of as private matters. At the same time, we also worry that they'll hear wrong messages from other places.

There is social pressure in both extremes- toward either sexual repression in religious communities or toward promiscuity and unboundaried sexuality in the media and pop culture. We as parents have to navigate these extreme trends and try to find a healthy alternative.

So many young people begin their married lives not really understanding their bodies, how they do or don’t respond to stimuli, or the needs of their partners. This often creates unnecessary frustration and conflict in marriage. And they often don’t have the self-awareness or vocabulary in these areas to appropriately communicate and troubleshoot. Sometimes they eventually figure it out, but sometimes they just divorce or suffer. Often for years.

We all want to give our kids the best life-education possible in all ways. And we know that it’s not healthy for kids to go into adolescence and adulthood without understanding their bodies, feelings, and sexual selves. But we may not always know what to say, or how, or when to say it, especially if we didn’t get that education ourselves. It can be confusing.

As a religious psychotherapist who writes and teaches about this topic, I have been working on an approach to sexuality education that is both values based and straightforward. It aims to be sensitive to religious needs, and also to psychological and biological needs.

The course is simple to use: just go through the modules in order, reading, watching, and listening. The best way to do it is by actively paying attention, following along in the notes, and thinking of how it can apply to you and your family. But even just passively listening to and absorbing this information will help enhance clarity and confidence in this important and sensitive area of parenting.

I believe in this cause deeply, but I know it’s not for everyone - so I made the first few lessons free so you can sample the content and see if it resonates for you- it basically explains the necessity of good sexuality education in our times more than ever, and what gifting your children with this can mean for their futures. The value of this information is an investment in your family's well being and your children’s future relationships.

So If you like these ideas and want to hear more, then you can access the rest of this transformative course, which is based on over a decade of research, experience, and training.

Then, instead of avoiding those awkward questions and embarrassing moments, you can use them as opportunities to educate and inspire your kids. This sets them up to feel good in their skin, to gain the confidence to reduce the risk of abuse, to understand the changes of puberty as they’re happening, and prepare themselves properly for a loving, fulfilling and holy marriage when they are ready.

When parents don't address this stuff, we risk the kids finding out from inaccurate or bad sources: other/ older kids, predators, sketchy internet sites, pornography, or waiting til too late, right  before marriage, all of which can lead to types of trauma.

So- if you're feeling uncomfortable, ambivalent, or avoidant when it comes to addressing sexual topics in parenting, if you want to do this parenting really well, but don’t know exactly how, try the first free module, to see if the tone resonates for you.

Become a parent who embraces the task of teaching your children to understand their bodies, protect themselves from inappropriate touch, and prepare for a passionate loving future:)

I hope you enjoy – because I believe that this religious parent's guide for healthy, holy sexual education is what can help you give your children a safe, honest, spiritual foundation for relating to their bodies and physical intimacy.

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