Let's Talk About Sex


"Our standards nights and chastity lessons usually focus on the dangers of strong sexual desire. Predictably, we exhort young men to bridle their libidos, which we describe as wild beasts that must be restrained until domestication in marriage, and we caution young women to avoid arousing and indulging the young men -- tempting the beast out of its cage, so to speak.

It's a troubling model for a number of reasons, but I'll address just one: by focusing on physiological motivators for teenage sex, we completely overlook significant psychological motivators. This oversight shortchanges all youth, and exacerbates the risk of young women's needs flying under the standards night radar completely. After dismissing libido as a serious issue for them (which may be a mistake in and of itself), we turn their attention to assisting their male peers without even considering other compelling reasons for sexual behavior. In our outreach we miss the mark by emphasizing virtue, modesty, and chastity without considering what might motivate a young woman to eschew the same.

To put it simply, thirteen-, fourteen-, and fifteen-year-old girls don't have sex because they desperately want sex. They have sex because they desperately want something else."

This is an excerpt from a fantastic article I just read. Although it's written by an LDS woman and addresses the way the Church talks about sexuality, the insights from are universal. It made me think about how my views on sex came to be, where they are now, and how I plan on teaching my children.

When I got engaged, a few women told me "If you want a happy marriage, don't ever deny your husband sex." For real?! That is probably the worst advice you could give to a bride-to-be. Since when is sex something that you give to your husband, rather than something you share? I'm sure that wasn't the intended implication behind this advice, but it's there.

Not every eighteen-year old has a healthy attitude about sex. But I think I did. And it wasn't because I had a lot of experience with guys (I hadn't), or because I read stacks of Cosmopolitan (I didn't), or because my parents were exceptionally open and frank (they weren't).

The Church advises its youth not to date until they're sixteen. Growing up, I thought this was torture. I was very good about following this rule (mostly because my parents said they'd give me $1000 if I didn't kiss anybody until after graduation). BUT MY MOTIVATION IS NOT THE POINT HERE! The point is that I did it. Not only did this keep me from doing stupid stuff that I'd regret later, it helped me realize I was powerful.

There were boys who were attracted to me before I was sixteen. Sometimes I was attracted to them as well. But instead of going off and having a stupid six-week relationship like every other teenage couple, I said no. I said no before a relationship even started, which put me in control. Even though I did it begrudgingly, and even though I cast the blame on "that stupid rule my Church does" (instead of proudly standing up for my beliefs), I still did it.

I didn't recognize it at the time, but that helped me take ownership of my sexuality. What a commanding thing for a young woman to have! In addition, I learned how to be friends with guys. No games. Learning how to relate with the opposite sex requires a lot more from a girl than simply being attractive. As I learned to do that, I started basing my self-worth on my personality, not my body.


To make a long story short: Read the article. Too many women are growing up with too many misgivings about their sexuality. Let's change that, eh?


  1. ha! I dated two-- kind of three guys before I turned sixteen, and I learned my lesson and I hope that when I share these stories that my kids will understand them and take them to heart. I don't want to say I regret going out with them, but I will say that it wasn't a very good choice.
    First of all, dating in middle school is a joke. It's entirely ridiculous joke. A person at that age doesn't understand what dating is about. They can try to understand what it is, but they aren't grown up enough to get the clue. Like me, I was so naive and I had no clue what I got myself into. While the first kid I dated in middle school was a mutual crush, the second was a mistake. I 'went out' with the guy for a week because I felt bad for the kid. I need to learn to say no...
    But I think you'll be proud, Kristi; the third guy I dated 'broke up' with me because I wouldn't kiss him at Homecoming. =P

    Anyway, I wish my parents would have challenged me to not steady date anyone until after high school. It would have saved me a lot of grief, and it would have saved my mom a lot of grief who had to deal with two high school girls dating.

  2. Ok as I'm reading this, I'm watching 'she's too young' on lifetime (it's pathetic but I LOVE lifetime movies). It's about these high school girls and I'm thinking to myself how the h am I going to raise a teenage girl?! Thanks for sharing the article!

  3. So will you do the $1000 challenge with your own children (by then you might have to up the amount °Ü°) I'm thrilled that Kiana has taken it on (for that matter so has Caden, but Connor's not so interested). Joking aside, you make some very compelling arguments.

  4. I'm pretty sure Mama and Papa Kern bought Erika a car because she graduated college without getting married :) ...that's the unofficial story anyway.

    Also, it totally irks me that it always the wife "giving" the husband sex. Ridiculous. Sexist, much?
    Why am I obligated to "give " my husband that? Why isn't it something we "share"? Am I supposed to be "thanking" my husband for lowering himself enough to marry me?

    The whole subject makes me annoyed, and don't even get me started on sex ed...

  5. Thanks for sharing this! (Just an occasional blog stalker who knew your husband in college...creepy much? But I do love reading your blog!)


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