By the time a boy crosses the threshold into his teen years he undoubtedly has participated in sex education classes at school and maybe also at his house of worship. Likely a parent has sequestered him on a long car ride for the proverbial “birds and bees talk.” And it’s probable that a couple of coming-of-age books have been lovingly placed on his bookshelf in hopes that at least one will be cracked open in the privacy of his room.
No matter a parent’s perspective on sensitive topics such as sexual orientation and pre-marital sex, virtually all want their sons to understand that healthy relationships are based on a foundation of respect. Rather than lecture on the topic, or on any subject for that matter, a more productive approach is to relay a story in which teens’ actions deliver the moral. Here is a true anecdote that I think gets right to the heart of boys not exploiting girls as sexual objects and the importance of speaking up:
At a fraternity house at a university in North Carolina, one of the most popular events to attract freshman pledges was to have girls from a sorority dress in bikinis and welcome guys to the house. This understandably attracted a lot of people. The guys would stare and talk about the girls. However, one year a fraternity brother hesitated and asked himself, “What if one of those girls was my sister?” He shared his mixed feelings with his fraternity brothers, and they decided to stop hosting the event. (Excerpted from The JGuy’s Guide: The GPS for Jewish Teen Guys.)
If you’re looking for more stories or are interested in finding another book to give to your son, here are a couple of options to consider:
- S.E.X.: The All-You-Need-To-Know Progressive Sexuality Guide to Get Your Through High School and College
A progressive book written by the executive director of Scareleteen.com: the inclusive online resource for teens and young adult sexuality education and information.
Have you ever wondered… Am I normal (and what is "normal," anyway?)? What's up down there? I really like girls, but I like boys sometimes, too. Am I gay, bisexual, or just messed up? Are we both really ready to have sex? I feel like I can't ever say no to my partner. What's the problem? Heather Corinna and Scarleteen.com have been providing sex education and information for young adults, parents, and mentors for nearly ten years. Whether you're straight, gay, sexually active, or just plain curious, S.E.X. spells out everything you need to know, including: A sexual readiness checklist; Illustrations of female and male reproductive anatomy; How to love your body, even when it's changing every day; Tips on safer sex for body, heart, and mind; An in-depth birth control breakdown; How to create and enjoy the relationships that are right for you; Popular mechanics of partnered sex: sexual activities explained, including pregnancy and STI risks; STIs 101: what they are and how to keep yourself from getting them.
Co-authored by Ruth K. Westheimer, sex therapist and educator, lecturer at Princeton and Yale Universities, TV personality, and the “Dear Abby” for advice.
While it's never been easy to deal with teenagers and preteens, today's parents are faced with a whole range of new fears such as cyber bullying and predators on social networking websites. In Dr. Ruth's Guide to Teens and Sex Today, the world-renowned sex therapist and educator offers sage advice on how to help both parents and teens survive adolescence in our digital age. With an emphasis on new technology, Dr. Ruth offers practical advice on key parenting topics. With this essential new book, parents can take a page out of their own past and let Dr. Ruth, the voice that helped them through their own sexual development, guide them through the challenges they face raising teens now.
Do you know of other sex ed books that you would like to recommend to other parents? Please let us know.