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If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Posted by annkathryn (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 24, 06 at 3:41

...what book would you give him and why? I have two boys, ages 14 and 15. They've been through a sex education course in school that focused on reproductive organs, STDs, and contraception. All good information, but I think a deeper understanding of sex was lacking (as far as I can tell...my boys are reluctant to talk very much about this). I'd love to be able to hand them each a book that would be relevant for their ages, when they're just beginning to notice that girls exist, and then use this as a basis for discussion. Any suggestions?

Thanks!
Ann


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

I wouoldn't...I'd just start the discussion. My favorite place...In the car, doors locked 70 MPH... they can't leave. Seriously, anytime, any place. Just TALK about it. THey probably won't read the books, they will listen to you. Family dinners, just sitting around talking. Books are impersonal, when you talk you give YOUR opinion and YOUR values.

Vickey-MN


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Forget your discomfort, and theirs, for a few minutes. Now what do you really want to tell them?

For mine, I wanted to tell him when to say "yes" and when the say "no". This is SO important! And it's information they will get from nowhere else. You know they will mentally discount all of the "Just say no" stuff they hear from church and school to some degree, and that some day, they will say "yes". The other thing you know is that when that time comes, you're NOT going to be there! So give them your advice now. Better way too early than too late. Also, when the situation is obviously hypothetical, it can be much easier to talk about.

I also provided mine with a box of condoms, and told him that if he thought there was even a possibility, he should have one with him, because the potential consequences were just too serious. I talked to him about protecting himself from STDs and from creating an unintended pregnancy.

I also told him I thought there were "three kinds of sex" - making love, having sex, and pornography. I wanted him to grow up with the understanding that pornography was degrading and hurtful, that casual sex could be fun, but was ultimately risky and unrewarding, and that making love was something altogether different and very special. I also told him that the stuff he would see on the internet was pornography, and on mainstream TV was mainly the casual sex stuff -- and that he should not assume that what he sees is an accurate picture of "real life".

I can't imaging a book would tell him all that.
And I agree about the car -- Nothing like a captive audience that doesn't have to look at you.


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

I think it hard to know what book your kids may like without knowing your morality about sex.

Are you wanting to preach abstinence before marriage, sex only with love (you may even need to go into a deeper understanding of what real love means to you), or are you just after a precationary/safe sex education for your kids?

I would go to Amazon and type in something like "teenagers and sex" and read some of the explanations and comments on the books listed until you find one that is close to your thinking.

I too would recommned talking to your sons over getting a book. I go on walks to talk with my sons, but I know/realize not all families feel comfortable with talking about sex. If you really don't think you can bring yourself to talk about sex, a book may help a little. Maybe it will even help spark some discussion on the matter.

I also find commented about things happening on tv may help teach kids values. Your comments, thoughts, and even judgements on the subject may help educate. If you see people casually having sex (not like in a porn but like a night time soap opera) you can say stuff like..."Didn't she JUST meet him in a bar?, I certainly hope he's using a condom since AIDS can be deadly, He shouldn't be cheating on his wife; that's just awful". Don't just let things you watch slide, use the shows as an educational tool of (usually) what not to do. Laugh about the Herpes adds and add comments like, "It only takes one time or I'd hate to have tell a girlfriend I had herpes; that's why they make condoms".


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

I agree that books tend to be more nuts and bolts than about values. I do think that the right book can be a good jumping off point. I began talking with my kids about what happens as their bodies mature, what tampons are for, love, where babies grow, crushes, whatever surfaced in the course of watching television, movies, talks about school friends when they were really small. So the talks and answers became more mature as their questions became more pointed and they grew older. The door has always been open. I have seen kids whose parents wanted to have the "talk" at age 12 for the first time almost stick their fingers in their ears.

I liked the book in this link for my son. I looked at a lot of them and this one suited my point of view best. I chose different books for my daughter.

Here is a link that might be useful: What's Going on Down There


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Well I am glad this discussion is on the table. I am in this situation right now !

Its all very well talking to them, and I agree with eveything said above...but....how do you start the conversation ?

I am in the car driving home from school, how do I bring it up, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Lets face it I am embarassed, but I know when I get into it I will be fine.

BTW my DH is worse, he is really embarassed. A shame really.

Excellent advise, from the previous posters, I am impressed , thanks guys.

Popi


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

If you listen to the radio in the car, odds are good that within a week, there will be some mention of sexual conduct, sexual misconduct, sexually-transmitted disease, teen pregnancy, abortion or pro-life conflicts -- something that will provide a natural lead-in to at least a portion of the subject. When that happens, I turn the radio up so we all hear the news story, then turn it off, and explain why the story was important and what I want them to know about the subject.

For example, with all of the talk going on about Mark Foley right now (though perhaps, not for you, Popi...), it's an easy time to talk to our son's about inappropriate conduct and touching from another adult. How any touching, or even looking that makes you uncomfortable is something you should discuss with a parent -- even from a friend.

Any discussion of AIDS can spark a discussion about taking appropriate precautions before any type of sexual contact, and about how young teens may take foolish risks because they think their partners are 'too young' to have been exposed... Or a news article about the HPV vaccine?

Opportunities are there --


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Personally, I just jumped in, but that's my personality. We were driving down the road, just me and ONE kid, and they were minding their own business, and BOOM I hit them with...so we're gonna talk about sex, right here and now. If you have questions, ask...blah blah blah. Okay that's probably what they heard after that, BUT, I do know they listened, because NOW years later, DD#1 is open about talking about birth control, so it did SOME good. At the time, well, they were embarassed, but I started the talk. THEN as situations deemed it, we talked about it. (or I usually talked, or DH talked, they usually listened, or went LA LA LA LA LA LA but then they'd start making comments too about movies or TV shows or about kids at school and situations, THAT'S when I knew we'd gotten through.

Vickey-MN


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Thanks for all of your great comments. I agree that there's no substitute for a lot of good conversations about values when it comes to discussing sex with kids. I was thinking a book might be a good lead-in to the first few conversations and then I'd take it from there. I'll order What's Going On Down There (or see if it's in the school library?) as a start. I also like the idea of having the kid "trapped" in the car for conversations like this, at least until they become comfortable with the idea.

Ann


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Vickey you are so funny! I did the same thing you did--talked in the car when they cannot run away. I gave both boys a brochure from Planned Parenthood which was written for teens.


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

Thanks Sweeby and Vicky, such great advice, what wonderful parents you are.

Sweeby you are right about the radio, and press, there is always stories that could lead into discussions for me.

One horrible one here at the moment, a 17 y.o girl met up with a boy whom she met on the internet (silly), she was surrounded by 10 other boys, they taunted her, did despicable things, like took her top off, set her hair on fire, sexual assault, and it gets worse...they made a video about it all, AND, sold it at their school! This incident has left the whole of Aust in shock...its aweful. The boys are so dumb as to film themselves doing it all. AND, parents of some of the boys where interviewed and they said the boys where just having fun ! What can I say !

Anyway, I digressed, sorry.

I will concentrate on my dear son, and make sure he gets the right parenting !

All the best.
Popi


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

I think a book for reference for questions would help but not to be the initial contact for information.
My best friend's mother gave her a book and all it did was scare the bejeebies out of her and confuse her. The best example would be where reference was made to words she didn't know what it was either - masturbation she thought was like girl's having menstruation. I fell off the bed laughing so hard. It was at a pajamma party that the book was brought out.
Is there an older male, friend or relative, that you could discuss this with and have them sit down with them for a "man to man" talk? Think back and would you have had your first discussion on sex with your father? Not me. My mother explained what she felt I should know at different ages and related it to her experiences as she grew up. This made it believable and easy to discuss. I took my mother's example when explaining sex to my daughters. Of course a lot more was added due to the change in times like soaring teenage pregnancies.
I wish you the best.
Lynn


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RE: If you could give your teenage son one book on sex...

I was raised by my grandparents. Sex was absolutely not even hinted at. I was completely ignorant when I started my period a month before the "film" was shown at school. I heard nonsense from peers and others such as you could prevent pregnancy with a Coke douch, and sex would make your pimples go away. I didn't want my kids to be ignorant and vulnerable so I have tried to equip them with enough information to make good decisions.


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