Attitudes To Sex

Sex and Love Can Exist Apart

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Sooner or later a child learns that it is possible even to separate the act of sex from the feeling of love and that such a separation is not a rare but a frequent occurrence. When this realization sweeps over the youngster, there is, I believe, a very destructive moment, and his parents must help him to cope with it.

These shocking concepts come to the child through a variety of sources. Street-corner friends, unthinking adults, books and sensational newspapers and magazines are but a few of the more common sources. What happens? The young person exposed to such information becomes confused. He doesn’t know what to believe. On one side he is told one thing, on the second side he is told another. The seeds of conflict have been sown.

The immediate need is for someone to provide an explanation for what, to the youngster, appear to be contradictory ideas about sex. Now, if his parents are uncommunicative about the subject, or if they cloak it in mystery or in any way represent sex as being forbidding, they only contribute to the conflict.

If the youngster is left to flounder without knowledge, without perspective, sex becomes something destructive and negative, something about which he can never feel warm and good.

Communication – one of a series of non-verbal communication videos

Avoiding Sex Shocks

If, however, there is an adult, preferably the father or mother, with whom the child has always been able to communicate warmly and trustingly, these seeming inconsistencies about sex and all else on the subject can be talked about calmly and without damaging emotion.

The parents can explain that there are many facts about life which must be faced in all their crudity. For instance, the parents can point out that man has never yet learned full respect for human life and thus we still have murder and wars; that man often fails to show full respect for other human beings and thus we still have exploitation of underprivileged groups.

These critical subjects and others must be discussed in the safety and security of the home. Keeping our young people in ignorance simply won’t work. We rationalize it by saying to ourselves that we are keeping them in innocence. Too often, this leads to disastrous results in the young person himself.

How often I have heard from a young man or woman exclamations like: “Why, I simply did not know the facts. . .” “I was never allowed to discuss such matters . . .” “Our home was so strict we were not to speak unless spoken to . . .” “Proper people don’t discuss it . . .” “That is street-corner talk . . .” “Do nice people really do those things?” All of these in relation to some sex problem which may have been unsolved for a good many years, and one that may have caused untold anxiety and unhappiness, and created great sexual tensions within the marriage.

We must develop in our children the strength to cope with a broad range of attitudes and emotions, no matter where these come from. Young people must understand the bad things of life as well as the success stories. They must learn how to carry on the good life in spite of pitfalls, in spite of anti-social behavior on the part of individuals, groups and societies.

To achieve this, young people need information, a helping hand now and again, firm guidance, affection and patience. All these can help build strength to face the task in any area of living. Parents, of course, are ideally situated to provide

Sex Discussion Early in Life

I suppose that most parents do not look forward to discussing sex with their sons and daughters. I have heard many say that it is a “thankless task”. How ridiculous, for here is one of the most important privileges of parenting.

If a child inquires of his parents about a flagrant wrong involving sex, the parent would be wise not to sidestep the question, but to face it squarely, without pique and without discomfort. If this was not done when you were a child, it may account for some of your present-day tensions. A discussion concerning ways in which sex can go wrong should be followed by many talks between parent and child concerning the ways in which sex goes right and enriches the lives of so many persons. In other words, parents should strive to establish a “positive set” concerning sex in the minds of their children. They should be “letting their children in on a good thing” rather than warning them against a bad thing.

What must be emphasized? First the facts. And the facts are that while sexual adjustment must be worked for, it is achieved by most couples; that sex is not an invitation to disaster, but rather a great and rewarding part of life.

For every sexual relationship that goes wrong, there are numberless others that proceed relatively smoothly and are well based in a secure and happy marriage. Parents who have laid the basis for understanding how good and sound sexual relationships develop, are safe to discuss with their children the ways in which sex can go wrong. In fact, they are obligated to do just this. Failure to fulfill the obligation can lead to later sexual tensions for their youngsters.

Understanding Sex

There probably have been many places along the line where gaps in your knowledge and understanding of the whole sweep of sexual experience produced confusion or even harmful situations. Further, these gaps may have produced feelings of fear, of shame, of guilt and perhaps of revulsion, or even of sexual desire so strong that it frightened you.

You pay a price for these feelings if you do not understand them. For when the time comes to establish your own sex life with your partner, these feelings can interfere greatly with the proper establishment of your sexual relationship.

Furthermore, there is still another vital area of consideration in this connection. If these feelings run unchecked, you, as a parent, are liable to repeat the mistakes of your own parents. When the time comes for you to start providing sex education for your youngsters, these same feelings will interfere with what should be the smooth flow of communication between you and your children. This is why it is doubly important for you, as early as possible, to return to your own early experiences and straighten out the ideas and feelings you have about sex and to fill in the gaps in your knowledge.

Supplanting old ideas and emotions with new ones may not be an easy thing to achieve. If the feelings of guilt, shame and fear are so powerful that they interfere actively with all your relationships, you need help. Fortunately, only some of us need this either on a short-term or long-term basis.

Try not to allow the inevitable mistakes of parents to affect you, particularly in the critical area of the closest human relationships you will ever have, with my mate and with my children. Change the old ideas which have brought you unhappiness. Question convictions on any aspect of sex in the light of new information. Make an earnest effort to remember the feelings learned about sex as a child, then because re-examine those feelings to determine if they were truly valid and necessary.

If, concerning sex in marriage, people adopted a credo embodying this kind of honesty with themselves, there would be far fewer sexual crises in marriage. For release from sexual tensions can be achieved only if the individual is willing to probe or to allow others to help him probe the sources of the tensions themselves.

Earlier, I used prostitution as an example of a subject that, through a lifetime, can conjure up all sorts of misconceptions and negative feelings about sex. There are other subjects that can achieve the same negative result.

Your Attitudes Towards Masturbation

Most of our parents were brought up by their parents to believe that masturbation is a very bad practice. Years ago it was said to be the cause of disease, of feeble-mindedness and of various other disasters.

Aside from masturbation’s supposed implications for health, there are also said to be moral implications. Some people still believe that masturbation is a deep sin and a significant sign of immorality. In addition, most people, I think, still cling to the idea that masturbation should be stopped, by force if necessary. But it’s healthy and normal.

Actually, masturbation is one of the quite normal experiences of growing up. Most small children do it perhaps without even thinking of it or, for that matter, knowing what they are doing. That is, until their parents’ admonitions make them feel shame and guilt.

Most adolescents of both sexes masturbate at some time during their adolescence. Once again, this in itself absolutely is not harmful. Parents can convey to the minds of the children that they have performed an evil act. Masturbation becomes associated with an aura of wrong-doing.

If a young person spends a good deal of time daydreaming and masturbating, this may indicate that he is in emotional trouble. You’ll remember that I said “a good deal of time”. If this happens, the child may be retreating from the real world. He may be expressing some deep-rooted feeling of inadequacy, jealousy or hostility.

In such cases, of course, the masturbation is a symptom of the problem, not a cause of it. Several questions must be answered in order to pinpoint the real cause. What compels this young person to expend his energies in masturbation? What is it that blocks him from assuming the normal play activities of his age group? What sense of frustration or failure is causing him to withdraw into himself, to seek his own body for comfort and release of tensions?

Healthy masturbation – in a relaxed way – can help a young man learn how to control his ejaculation and spin out sex for longer when he is with a partner. Indeed, long lasting intercourse and unlimited staying power are attributes for which many young women will thank a man!

Once again, your own memory will have to be unwound and re-run. You will have to dig deep to discover what your attitude is, what it really is, towards masturbation. You will have to re-examine your attitudes in the bright, clear light of your present understanding. You are obligated to shake yourself loose from attitudes and emotions based on inadequate information or on improper teaching and experience.

Ideally, this type of re-examination on your own part should take place prior to marriage. By so doing, you will enter marriage without a retained set of misguided beliefs. However, if you are already married, there is no time like the present for taking appropriate action.