About Me

Shanxi

If you had told me even a few years ago that I would consider blogging about sex education, I would probably have laughed in your face. I did not consider myself an authority on sex education then, and I’m definitely not an authority on it now!

I also took it pretty much for granted that most children got their sex education from their parents, just like I did. Isn’t that the best place to learn – within the context of a loving, healthy family home?

But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that not every family looked like mine. First, my mother was a doctor. Interestingly enough, her father had been a doctor. My mother also married into a family of doctors.

Bodily functions and anatomy made up the backbone of many lively family discussions … often at the dinner table, no less! I noted as a child that the most disgusting subjects – like the excretory system and how it worked – somehow tended to occur over the most delicious meals (go figure).

Second, my mother’s Asian extended family had no qualms whatsoever about discussing any kind of subject matter with children present, including hot-button topics. Everything – and I mean, everything – was fair game within the family context. From constipation to cholesterol to chlamydia, we had probably heard it all by age 12.

All these conversations took place within reason, and within proper boundaries, of course. Most of the specific terms and terminologies probably sailed over our heads. But we never had any illusions about where babies came from, or how they were made.

If anyone outside the family used cutesy language with us – “Has the baby stork visited your home lately?” – I usually stared at them in utter bewilderment.

(In much the same way, my parents never pretended that Santa really did climb chimneys, or that the tooth fairy really did leave money behind for our pains. Alas, we never received any money at all for lost teeth. But I digress…)

Like all families, mine was far from perfect. But I always knew that whatever happened, our family had committed to work through our problems and challenges together in God’s grace, within the context of unconditional love and acceptance.

A Tribute To My Mom

My mother had a God-given ability to anticipate our growing interest about sexuality, often before we were fully aware of it ourselves. I remember being a preschooler (before I started school at age 5) and still wondering why my mom said sex could happen only with grown-up men and women.

I don’t even remember my question to my mom, but I remember my mom’s answer.

“Sex is a wonderful thing,” she said with a smile. “It’s like becoming one with the person you love.”

Oh, I remember thinking as I went away, still mulling over her answer. Somehow it satisfied me, even though I didn’t fully understand it. After all, I couldn’t think of anyone I wanted to “become one” with!

Another explosion in understanding occurred when I was probably between 8-10 years old. My mom had established a family tradition of reading aloud to us every night before bedtime.

I still remember being curled up next to her on one side, my sister on the other, as we read the book together. My dad gently rocked beside us in a chair, listening and occasionally nodding off to sleep (although whenever he was caught, he protested he was merely “meditating”)!

This time, my mom chose to read us the story of Christy by Catherine Marshall. When we got to the seduction chapter as Alice Henderson describes it to Christy, I remember feeling confused, tantalized,  and sorrowful all at once. I felt like I was peeking over the edge of childhood into a new, somewhat frightening adolescence.

At one point my mom stopped reading to describe to us, simply, what was happening. Yes, sexual predators existed. Yes, they could exist within the “safest” of so-called Christian communities. And yes, children could pay a terrible price, through no fault of their own, if their parents neglected to educate them about such matters until after the abuse had occurred.

That chapter opened a whole new world of questions, ideas, and thoughts for my sister and me. And they almost always occurred around bedtime and led to some very late-night discussions. But my parents were always there to shepherd us through them. (Note to parents – you are forewarned!)

I’m glad that my mom opened up these discussions before puberty hit, however, because I felt better prepared for the roil of hormones and emotions that followed.

Years later, during my engagement to my now-husband, she made sure to give me all the details regarding contraception, family planning, and anything else I had questions about.

(She has also been an invaluable resource for all things babies, after our children were born!)

Now as a 30-something homeschool mom, a few of my discussions with my mom have involved menopause – not that I’m experiencing any of it right now, but I just want to know what to expect in the next few decades. Her frank, practical insights about it have taken a lot of the guesswork out for me.

So Why Is Sex Education So Hard?

Was your experience with sex education similar to mine, or am I among the minority? Like most people, I assumed that my own experience was normal, at least among Christian households – until only a few years ago.

Maybe part of my childhood experience was related to my Asian culture. But then, that got me thinking about cultures. The Western culture wasn’t always so prudish about sex either.

As C.S. Lewis notes in Mere Christianity, “Some of the language used in Shakespeare’s time would have been used in the nineteenth century only by a woman completely abandoned.”

Today as our culture swings to the other extreme, sex is discussed ad nauseam:

[Y]ou and I … have been fed all day long on good solid lies about sex. We have been told, till one is sick of hearing it, that sexual desire is in the same state as any of our other natural desires and that if only we abandon the silly old Victorian idea of hushing it up, everything in the garden will be lovely. It is not true. The moment you look at the facts, and away from the propaganda, you see that it is not.”

As parents, we can see the wisdom in passing on real-life skills to our children. We want them to be financially literate. We want them to know how to run a household – including cleaning tasks, laundry management, culinary skills, and more. We want them to be socially adept, outstanding citizens who can handle complex tasks and show diligence in their vocations and industries.

And yes, I would imagine that we all want them to be knowledgeable about sex. Silence on a topic so important to our children can only handicap them in the long term.

So here’s how you can help me!

I’d love to hear from you – whether it’s a question you have regarding sex education for your children, your own sex education, or things you want other Christian home families to know about this important topic.

Because of the sometimes sensitive nature of sex education, feel free to private message me if you don’t want your questions and comments publicly available for all to see.

Thanks so much for stopping by!