What kind of philosophy do you have when it comes to sex education of children?

Dear Dr. Milrod:

I’m a single Dad in my early 40s with a pre-teen daughter. In our sessions, we’ve mostly been discussing my issues, but I really want to know – what is your philosophy on sex education of children?

Paul D, West LA

Dear Paul:

It is my belief that while parents who came of age in the 1980s are more informed about sexuality than any previous generation, their offspring are receiving conflicting messages about sexuality, ranging from polyamory to abstinence. On one hand, parents of young children worry incessantly about sexual predators and deviants lurking not only in the streets, but also on the ever-present Internet on various sites targeted toward the young. On the other, children are living in a heavily sexualized culture where eroticized dolls and new mutations of adolescent singers of both genders are out to sell the message of seduction. In addition, sex play/erotic relations between ever-younger children are taking shape in cyberspace, via text messaging, chatting and in playing games where no physical contact is needed. Against this background, I believe that children are struggling to make sense of their growing bodies, their sexual responses and the evolution of their own desires. Sexual role modeling comes less and less from parents and more from the media, intent on selling and promoting a specific type of desirable sexuality which is more void of intimacy and emotional connection than ever. More than ever before, American society has become extremely polarized and I believe that sex education needs to incorporate various non-judgmental presentations of both physical and emotional components of sexuality, particularly directed at young people.

Christine Milrod, Ph.D.

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