A reader of this blog sent me the following in response to my request for resources related to this weeks parenting class topic: How and When to Talk with your Kids about Sex.
Mark Regnerus (soc prof. at UT-Austin) has done considerable work on religious American teens and sexuality. Below is some rough recounting from his book “Forbidden Fruit”:
- Nationally, Evangelical teens actually lose their virginity at higher than average rates. There is a disconnect between what teens believe and what they do.
- Believing pre-marital sex is wrong, holding Christian beliefs, church attendance, youth groups, or “the pledge” are not enough to help teens save themselves for marriage. Tight-knit communities of like-minded peers and involved parents and adults seem to be what make more of a difference.
- Evangelical parents generally don’t talk to their kids about sex and if they do it’s generally brief: “just don’t do it.” Regnerus finds this approach inadequate in deterring teen sex.
- Churches give the message “don’t do it” or “sex in marriage is so romantically wonderful.” This is neither believable (based on what teens observe in parents and Christian adults) nor enough to counter cultural messages, opportunities, and urges.
Regnerus suggests that, along with the tight-knit community component, teens need deeper theological underpinning, eg we’re bought with a price, our bodies are temples.
Link to his work: http://www.markregnerus.com
If you know of other important resources, please post them in the comments section.