published Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Dads2Dads: Facing the elephant in the room

Tom Tozer and Bill Black

It’s all around us, everywhere we go. It’s in movies, on TV — it’s especially rampant in daytime soap operas. There’s no use putting on blinders and pretending that we’re unaffected by it. We’re human, and it’s part of our physical and emotional machinery.

Sex.

Dad, to discuss sex with your children, you first have to cross that bridge of denial. To claim that we’re not affected by sex is to ignore a very basic human drive. It’s hardly a crime to feel aroused when we see an attractive person. It’s not, in our opinion, wrong to be curious about our bodies and the myriad transformations we see and feel as we grow. We think it is wrong, however, to condemn ourselves for our body’s natural responses to stimuli. At the risk of stepping into a minefield, let’s at least tiptoe beyond thinking that the subject of sex is off the discussion table.

How you choose to talk about sex with your adolescent or teenager is certainly up to you. But you need to talk about it. If you don’t talk about it at home, you can be sure it is fodder for all kinds of discussion in your child’s social circles. If you address the subject at home, it will offer balance to the more cavalier chatter going on everywhere else.

John Barrymore, the famous American actor, once said, “The thing that takes up the least amount of time and causes the most amount of trouble is sex.” That may very well apply to the time we spend talking about it, too.

Make it clear to your kids — before they get into a situation where saying no becomes too difficult — that experimenting with sex can result in consequences that will change lives, impact dreams, eliminate options and rob a young person of exactly that — youth.

Sexual urges can be mistaken for love. When sex becomes the focus of any relationship, in marriage or otherwise, meaningful communication breaks down. A totally physical relationship without genuine love and commitment will become an empty relationship.

Sex is neither a test of love nor proof of love. Love doesn’t grow out of sex. Sex, in our view, should be an expression of love. Truly our sexuality is a gift. It must be used wisely.

Dad, share these popular “lines” with your daughter gleaned from a university study and used by young men in search of sexual conquests: (1) Everybody’s doing it; (2) If you get pregnant, I’ll marry you; and (3) If you really love me, you’ll …

Here’s what the experts tell us: (1) He isn’t interested in her, just her equipment; (2) During sexual activity, a male can be completely detached and impersonal; and (3) Love and sex can have little to do with each other.

Dear dad, this should give you and your family plenty to talk about. Start the discussion.

Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of the new book Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers. Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter at Dads2Dadsllc. Contact them at tomandbill@Dads2Dadsllc.com.

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