“You know how a girl can get pregnant, right?”
Lounging on my bed with the telephone pressed close to my ear, I was a good forty minutes into a conversation with my sixth-grade classmate Stacey. We had already talked about our crushes, our favorite TV show, and the attractions of our bachelor English teacher. Now the conversation had taken a different turn, and Stacey was asking me a question that I wasn’t quick enough to finesse.
“Um, no, not really.”
I braced myself for Stacey’s reaction.
“Wait, are you serious? You’re serious? Oh my gosh, I have to call Irene and tell her.”
My shocking ignorance on the subject of sex was too juicy a tidbit for Stacey to keep to herself. As soon as she had gleefully disseminated the news, Stacey – good friend that she was – called me back and gave me “the talk.”
I don’t remember much of what Stacey told me. But what little I do recall, I doubted. After all, the whole business of sex was pretty inconceivable (no pun intended). And besides, if babies really were made that way, my parents would have told me about it, right? Right?
Like so many other parents, mine avoided talking to their children about sex. And although I regret my own imperfect and largely peer-directed education in matters sexual, I have too often found myself inexplicably following my parents’ example of avoidance when teaching my own children.
In his superb book Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You, author Michael Rittenhouse shows parents how they can break this “cycle of avoidance” and help their children to understand sex as nature intended. Himself a father of three, Rittenhouse knows what it means to lie awake nights worrying about the effects of an oversexed culture on one’s children. He recognizes that the unrelenting barrage of sexual imagery and innuendo directed against our children conveys the message that sex, as the ultimate source of gratification, is to be obtained early, often, and with no strings attached.
Note: this weekend (September 5-7, 2014), Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You is on sale for $6.99 on Amazon!
With clarity and conviction, Rittenhouse offers parents the grounding in first principles that they need to effectively confront society’s corrupted notions of sexuality. He refutes the commonly held view that “God has no place in sex” with a discussion of natural law that is accessible to the least philosophically-minded parent.
Rittenhouse points to our culture’s devaluation of true masculine qualities as another contributing factor in the disconnection between God and sex. (The author’s spot-on comparison of masculinity and machismo will be well-appreciated by those of us who came of age while Tony Manero was strutting his stuff on the disco dance floor.) It is the failure of masculinity, Rittenhouse says, that leads to the “degradation of femininity” and, ultimately, to a society in which sex is stripped of both its dignity and its purpose.
What I personally find most affecting in Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You is the chapter on Orthosexuality. Originating at the “very core of our being,” Orthosexuality is defined by Rittenhouse as “the sexual relations that our bodies, minds, and hearts were made for.” I challenge all couples – from new parents to longtime marrieds – to read the author’s description of Orthosexuality and not come away with a renewed sense of awe at God’s gift of sex.
A different kind of awe – something more like trepidation, perhaps – can strike parents who are striving to raise moral children in our immoral culture. Those parents may feel overwhelmed, outnumbered, or besieged …but they no longer need feel ill-advised. Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You contains a veritable windfall of practical ideas – in handy list format – for preventing children’s exposure to moral corruption.
Michael Rittenhouse’s Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You is a marvel of a book: well-written, compelling, and singularly enlightening. Highly recommended for all adults.
Interested? Be sure to order Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You using our affiliate link and you’ll support the work we do and still get the great special promotional pricing (September 5-7, 2014) of $6.99!
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Copyright 2014, Celeste Behe