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April 29, 2005

Comments

Mercy

Sounds like you would like some advise.__I never had sex until I married, but I grew up in a very sheltered, conservative home. Do I expect my teenage daughters to refrain from sex until they marry?? I would love it! But it is not going to happen!!__This is the advise I gave my two teenage daughters.__ I told them that they should reserve sex for a relationship where they felt that they were loved and respected. I told them that this could only be achieved in a caring serious relationship with one special boy. I told them that to have sex for the pleasure of it, without the commitment of a relationship was completely wrong!!....Both of them agreed with this statement, there were no arguments.(I know some people will disagree with me, but you have to remember that these are teenagers.) ....Truth is, I feel the same about adults. I don't condone sex without a committed relationship, even for adults!

The reality is that, if you have an older teenager, in a steady relationship, it's going to happen. If the kids in your group are not dating a significant 'other', then you need to gently tell them that this act has to be reserved for the time when they establish a caring relationship.__It's not that big a deal! They understand that sexual promiscuity is off limits.__You won't have a problem with the younger kids, they aren't going to get that involved, and the older teens, (juniors,seniors in high school) are mature enough to understand what you are telling them. And the truth is, they see the logic in what you are saying. Most of them aren't going to go around sleeping with different people, they have a higher morality that we give them credit for.__As I see it, your job is to try and shape that morality.

I hope this helps!!

Mr. Bad

I just went to Amanda's website and what I found there was one of the most shallow, misinformed and biased assessments of MRAs and our movement I've read on the 'net. Come on! It's like equating all feminists with Dworkin, McKinnon and other extremist radicals.

Give me a break.

Carmen

Hugo,
I respect the fact that you are questioning yourself. But, you need to look at the big picture. Stop second guessing yourself!

redeemed

Hugo, I must say that although I adamantly disagreed with the response that you gave to these lambs that Jesus has entrusted to your care, I continue to be thankful that God has placed you in their lives. I'm able to say that because I realize a lot of the other things that they are hearing and recieving at All Saints, in other settings, is also damaging to their souls. I say that, not in as mean-spirited jab at the parish but with a heartfelt belief that the parish as a whole is misguided theologically and thta grieves me. My hope is that you could be light, especially to these kids.
That said, I found it funny that I was asked and agreed today to address the youth group at my own episcopal parish with my wife next wednesday. My guess is we will do a question and answer session just like you all held. i wanted to share with you an image that we've used in the past that has been helpful for us in relating God's best for sex. We take in with us a 2 beautiful red roses and tell the kids that the rose represents God's gift of their sexuality. With the first rose we pass it around and ask the kids to do whatever they want with it. We encourage them to pick petals off, throw it, step on it, whatever. Then we say--"when you share this gift with others, before marriage, it gets damaged, used." Then we bring out the other, still perfect rose and say, "But if you wait until your marriage night, this perfect rose is your gift to your new spouse." And finally, because some have already used their "rose" we add include the Good News that God also redeems. Even if they have chosen to have sex, God will honor their choice to abstain from this day on until marriage and can and will redeem their sexuality. I believe it is a wonderful image. I hope it speaks to you.

stanton

Hugo,

I would like to say that you have risen a few notches on my personal respect meter (not that you were low to begin with, understand!) because of how important it obviously is to you that you REALLY serve those young people at your church. I personally am confident that, whether or not you could have served them better in this particular instance, your love will be felt by them, and they will look to you as a role model. And I know that you will be a role model worth having for them, faults and all (whatever they may be).

stanton

Mr.Bad: Did you notice that you were unsubtly chided in that big strawman diatribe for not responding to a post about the boy forced to live in his car in Hew Hampshire, and the campus feminist group who thought that castration images are acceptable parody material?

Mr. Bad

stanton wrote: "Mr.Bad: Did you notice that you were unsubtly chided in that big strawman diatribe for not responding to a post about the boy forced to live in his car in Hew Hampshire, and the campus feminist group who thought that castration images are acceptable parody material?

Hi stanton,

Nope, I didn't see it. Hugo apparentky removed the thread before I had a chance to read and respond because when I went back there to check it was gone. What was said?

Not that I'm surprised that Hugo would let his feminist allies heap "unpleasantness" (his term) on me and then not let me respond. This sort of double-standard re. censorship and forced-chivalry seems to be that "male privilege" he keeps talking about.

stanton

It was not Hugo. It was near the bottom of the comments on Amanda's indictment of men who have the temerity to be interested in equality.

(http://www.pandagon.net/archives/2005/04/overview_of_the.html)

Some of the same people who get indignant at the generalizations about feminists have no problem with this blather about how MRAs are this or that bad thing.

Caitriona

> The reality is that, if you have an older teenager, in a steady
> relationship, it's going to happen. If the kids in your group are not
> dating a significant 'other', then you need to gently tell them that this
> act has to be reserved for the time when they establish a caring
> relationship.__It's not that big a deal! They understand that sexual
> promiscuity is off limits.__You won't have a problem with the younger
> kids, they aren't going to get that involved, and the older teens,
> (juniors,seniors in high school) are mature enough to understand what you
> are telling them.


Mercy,

I hate to say it, but I think you're *still* sheltered. Studies that I've read indicate that the number of teens who are sexually active is going down as sex ed becomes better and more honest. BUT --- and this is a huge but --- younger kids ARE sexually active. Not nearly all of them, thank goodness, but too many to be negligible.

Our kids were in public school until Fall 2001, when our boys started homeschooling. Our daughter began homeschooling in March 2002. She's our social butterfly. She wanted to stay in public school so that she could socialize.

We'd moved that summer, and so she was enrolled in a new school where we didn't know the kids or their parents. I started getting an awakening as to what sort of students she'd made friends with that September, when she came home from school on her 12th birthday and began to inform me that now that she was 12, she'd be deciding where she went and who with, and that my job was to drop her off where she told me and pick her up when she told me. After all, "everyone" was dating at 12.

If I recall correctly, my first reaction was to laugh - until I saw that she was serious. Needless to say, her 12th birthday wasn't as happy for her as we'd all hoped it would be. She's 15-and-a-half now and was asking me the other day why we won't let her go out on a date without her brothers. I reminded her of our "No Solo Dating" policy that the boys have to live with, too.

Turns out it wasn't the dating thing that was bothering her after all. It was an entirely different emotional issue. The dating just happened to be an easy excuse to be upset.

And so it goes with teens. A good friend of our 17yo's has experimented with bisexuality. Too many of their "friends" drink and do drugs. That sort of environment contributes to teen sexual experiences. It's not a healthy environment that many of them find themselves in.

I'm honest with my kids about those pitfalls. My husband and I talk to them on occasion about some of our friends who fell into the deeper traps out there. We all know people with kids their ages who are having a heck of a time because the parents were "wild children" and have been married/divorced/remarried/divorced/etc far too many times and the kids are watching the parents live through this.

Our own kids have lived through that with our previous relationships. The only way I have to help them avoid at least some of those pitfalls is honesty about the benefits and consequences of particular decisions about sex.

Amanda

Hugo, thanks for the link. Unsurprisingly, they've turned a thread on teenagers and sex into one on themselves, though.

stanton

"Unsurprisingly, they've turned a thread on teenagers and sex into one on themselves, though."

Yes, Amanda, "they" really are terrible, aren't they?

La Lubu

stanton, you were the person who made the catty comment that feminists never respond to single, documented incidents, only to generalizations, so as a feminist I followed up on the two incidents mentioned and found them to be much ado about nothing---the first (supposedly a pro-castration rally) was actually satire (a young woman onstage who introduces herself as "Mary Manhatingisfun" wearing scissors around her neck---hammy, overdone satire, but satire nonetheless), the second (a young man supposedly thrown out of student housing for insinuating that women are getting fat and ugly) an incident that actually involved previous violations of student housing rules (specifically alcohol violations).

Hugo did not remove the thread. It's still there. I responded, and watched the thread for any response. Neither you nor Mr. Bad were in evidence.

Can't help but wonder though, why you come here to mention it, rather than stay on the Pandagon thread. And why are you coming here, Mr. Bad, to complain about Amanda? If you have an issue, keep it where it belongs.

La Lubu

stanton, you were the one who said that feminists would only respond to generalizations, not to specific incidents. So, on that other thread, I followed up on the incidents Mr. Bad mentioned. Much ado about nothing. The first was not a pro-castration rally, but hammy, overdone satire (a young woman onstage, introducing herself as "Mary Manhatingisfun" and wearing scissors around her neck---come on! That's like calling "Reefer Madness" a paean to pot smoking).

The second incident, the one of the young man who was thrown out of student housing supposedly "PC" reasons, was actually allowed back in to student housing for "PC" reasons---his probation and violations of student housing code involving alcohol no longer "counted" when he could bring "free speech" into the ring.

Neither you nor Mr. Bad responded to that thread, and no, Hugo didn't remove it. I find it curious that you come to this thread to mention it, yet didn't feel strongly enough to respond yourself. Quite catty, wouldn't you say? Sort of like Mr. Bad coming to Hugo's blog to complain about what Amanda says on Pandagon.

If you are concerned about what's going on over at Pandagon, "pull up a chair". It's basic blog etiquette.

La Lubu

Whoops! Sorry for the two posts. The first one (I thought) was lost, so I rewrote it. Feel free to delete one or the other.

Hugo

If we could keep the comments on this thread to the teenagers/sex/morality theme, that would be nice, folks. Lots of other places to comment on the men's rights movement. Thanks.

Hugo

Indeed, Mercy, I'd add that the idea that younger kids aren't sexually active is mistaken. Anecdotal evidence -- as well as research -- suggests that a substantial number of ninth-graders have begun to experiment with sex, something that I've regularly heard (in private, confidential conversations) from kids ages 13 and 14. There are plenty of kids who aren't sexually active, of course -- but more than we might imagine. We have to listen to their stories without fear and without condemnation so that we can begin to figure out an intelligent pastoral response.

Redeemed, I thank you for your kind words. At the same time, I can't endorse any exercise that could possibly leave any of my beloved young people feeling "dirty" or "broken" or "damaged." It's entirely possible that some of our kids have had pre-marital sex and have felt fine with it on multiple levels. To tell them they should feel damaged would seem to me to be the opposite of pastoral care! But I do understand the beauty of the image you're using.

Emily H.

While I appreciate efforts to make teenagers appreciate the value and weight and importance of sexuality, the "your virginity is a special flower" thing is...problematic, I think.

When you've been through a rape or sexual assault, do you really need to hear that your sexuality is a rose that somebody already ripped the petals off and now you basically have nothing to give to your future spouse? Even when you know, 100%, in your head, that it's not your fault and doesn't apply to you... that's just not a message that I'd want to send, however unintentionally.

Caitriona

Mr. Bad,

Perhaps you'd care to keep the political feminist vs anti-feminist mumbo-jumbo out of a discussion about teens? It'd be much appreciated. Thanks ever so much.

Jonathan Dresner

Hugo,

This may sound odd coming from one of your more secular (and non-Christian) readers, but I actually think that the answer you gave was very consistent with your stated desire to witness for your Episcopal students the importance of an evangelical personal relationship with Christ: one implication of that is personal responsibility for moral choices made through prayer and reflection rather than through simple rules and norms, and faith in the redemptive power of the love and sacrifice of Christ.

La Lubu

Emily, great point about the rose analogy! Another problem I see with it is the equating of sex with being damaged or soiled. And considering that even though this speech is given to both boys and girls, the kids know who the "rose" is really referring to ("deflowering" not being a term applied to males). Then, these young women are supposed to have a healthy attitude about their bodies and sex, after internalizing that their virginity is the most beautiful part of them? And that sex is dirty? Bah.

Look, even if you are of the opinion that no one should ever have sex before marriage...that "sex is dirty" and the "Madonna/Whore" complex lasts well past the wedding bells. Not just in women...men too. There are men who have a warped idea about what kind of sex is ok for their wives to enjoy.

Ab_Normal

Thank you, La Lubu, for articulating what I was trying to say in my previous posts.

Lisa

As someone who grew up hearing the rose stuff all the time, I have to agree that it's a yucky one. I'm all for waiting until marriage for sex, I did it myself what with being Mormon and all. But people who have sex are not a bunch of nasty broken roses. They're still God's children and he loves them and there's nothing used and wilted about them. That's just untrue and cruel.

Hugo, as a non-secular type, I think what you said was perfect. I think it's the message those kids needed in the context of their lives.

It's hard to know how to bring a balance to places where strict line drawing would be so much easier. But strict line drawing rarely works in the messy world. I think to prepare our children for that truth is just about the best thing we can teach them. I wish there were some way to bring more balance, more rules for the liberal-reared kids, more loving acceptace for the conservative-reared kids. It's never an easy balance.

IMO, People who cling to easy answers are living a lie.

Rachel

I'm not surprised to hear that you got a range of responses to your previous post on this subject, Hugo -- nor am I particularly surprised to hear that there was a fairly predictable breakdown between those who agreed with what you said (your more secular readers) and those who didn't (your more evangelical readers). But I hope we can collectively bear in mind that there's no disjunction between being liberal and being deeply religious. :-) It's easy to assume that those who are politically and theologically liberal don't take religion seriously, but I think that assumption is both dangerous and incorrect.

And more importantly, I hope that no one participating in this conversation doubts your genuine caring for the kids in question, and your obvious desire to manifest God's teachings for them in a meaningful way.

stanton

Friends, Bloggers, Countrymen: The reference to the MRA diatribe is at the top of THIS blog entry. Is there some blogging protocol that indicates a different location for following up on that particular part of today's entry?

LaLubu - you were not responding to ME with that research you did on the New Hampshire stuff. I was not involved. (And I have never been a poster on pandagon; Hugo's reference in this thread was my first exposure, and it certainly did not impress.) If you will note, my complaint was about the refusal of some feminists to PROVIDE examples to back up their assertions, when requested. There have been issues with retreating from discussions of examples as well, but I have not gone there, nor do I wish to at this point. But if you are volunteering to put yourself forward, I would be happy to repeat the assertions in question so that you can see if you can do better than Mythago, Amanda, and others. (I know I risk another attack from Mythago here, as she believes that I have, by admitting errors when I make them, forfeited all rights to expect intellectual honesty of others.)

I won't list them here, because I have been asked politely to take this discussion elsewhere. May I ask which (active) thread would be appropriate? Hugo? Anyone?

Hugo

Stanton, I probably ought to have divided the threads in two. That was my mistake. I would assume things are active at Amanda's.

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