Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Virtue And Temptation

Another good one from Steven Den Beste, this time on virtue and temptation.

The ideas he discusses in this essay are in complete agreement with my philosophy on the subject. They clash horribly, though, with the prevailing views in my community. A lot of people out here seem to think that if we don't tell our kids anything about sex, they will automatically be more chaste. I'm living testimony to the utter failure of that point of view. My parents told me nothing after my mom sat me down at the age of eight and explained the mechanics of sex to me. I found out in junior high sex ed class that sex was supposed to be pleasurable; until then I'd thought it was rather like changing the oil in your car. The next mention of sex I had from my parents was when I was approaching my 18th birthday and my dad blurted out "If you're going to do it, use protection." But by then I just rolled my eyes at him. He was a gynecologist. I knew all about "protection"; he'd brought home plenty of birth control advertisement pens. Besides, I was curious and had already borrowed a human sexuality textbook from my cousin; and Favorite Fiance and I had already been conducting some limited field research on the topic.

Long story short, I decided that my kids were going to know everything they could understand about sex. I fully intend to keep them informed of both sex and its virtuous uses from the youngest possible age. Tiny Princess has known for years how babies are made, in an age-appropriate way ("the daddy uses his private parts to knock on the mommy's secret gate at the end of her private parts, and then the sperm gets let in and makes a baby with the egg"). Both kids know the correct names for private parts, so that they don't end up having to tell the doctor that their "doober" or "woo-woo" hurts. They have been taught, since they were old enough to start controlling their behavior, the proper treatment of their private parts. If you ask them, they can recite to you the short list of occasions and ways in which it is appropriate for private parts to be touched. And as they grow older I already have a plan to inform them about other aspects of sexuality and anatomy. I hope that if I can let them know as early as possible, they will grow up thinking that correct and reverent use of their private parts is just self-evident. And it will be easier for them to make the decisions that were so agonizing for me.