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Is Abstinence Realistic For Today’s Youth?

In today’s overall sexualized world it may seem impossible to have a serious talk with your teenager about abstinence, but while it can be a daunting task, it can be done, and here’s how!

First some definitions. Abstinence means not having any kind of sex with a partner. A lot of teens think they are being “abstinent” as long as they are not “going all the way,” but technically, abstinence means refraining from all sexual activities that result in orgasm, not just vaginal intercourse. But, how you define it in your home, and what boundaries you intend to set for your teen, is between you and him or her.

Most experts agree, that if you want your kids to take the idea of abstinence seriously, you need to instill the concept of “wait until you are married,” early on. You cannot expect a teen to abstain from sex, once they have already become sexually active.

Even though kids and teens face a barrage of sexual images and wrong information about sex from peers and the media, parents are in a unique position to know and understand your kids, and to set your family values early on, including ones dealing with sex.

Setting and Communicating Family Standards

According to Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to Christian values, family standards are important. Young people often do not know what parents expect of them regarding sexual purity and sometimes feel they are getting mixed messages. It’s important that parents be clear about their expectations. If you presume your teen will be abstinent, you need to explain your expectations clearly.

The following are a few of the organization’s suggestions for discussion with your teen:

  • Remaining a virgin until marriage is realistic, and it is the standard for our family.
  • Sex is beautiful and it is to be shared with one special person within the marriage relationship.
  • Sex has a much deeper meaning than its mere physical act.
  • Sexually transmitted infections are a big deal.
  • Pregnancy is a big deal — it will change your life forever.
  • Others may not always tell you the truth. Teachers, websites and books may assert that you can have sex without worry. We will always tell you the truth.
  • You must choose wisely to protect yourself and ensure your best chance of achieving your potential.
  • We expect appropriate modesty.
  • Parties with alcohol are off-limits.
  • We are here to support you, so you don’t have to make these choices alone.

Having these discussions is a way to start helping your teen grow into a sexually healthy, mature adult.

Have you talked to your kids about abstinence as an option? How did you do it? Reply in the comments below.

About Cynthia Lechan-Goodman

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