Catholic Commute S01E44 6 Reasons we parents must discuss sex with our kids

If we don't present the truth, the world will scream lies

There is little I fear more about the future of parenting than the topic of sexuality when my girls reach teenage years.  Yet, short of the faith itself, I know of little that is more important to discuss.  The sexual choices that people make during teenage and college years have long-last affects into the rest of their lives.  For parents with kids in or about to go into college, I really recommend the book Unprotected by psychiatrist Miriam Grossman who worked in an on-campus health care clinic at UCLA.

Last episode we had a fantastic interview with Jason Everts who discussed the new Ascension Press program YOU (read more at  I think that this program is amazing, and to help those parents (like myself) who are still terrified to talk about sex, I put together in this episode 6 reasons why it is so important to have this conversation, open the dialogue, and really use a program like YOU.

You can download the episode as .mp3 here!

Click “Continue Reading” to read the show notes!

  1. Media is filling them with lies
    1. “It’s just another bodily function”
    2. “It’s normal and healthy to be promiscuous”
    3. “It simply fills a need.”
    4. “You can be safe”
  2. Their peers will pressure them.
    1. Lots of direct pressure
    2. Also lots of indirect
    3. C. S. Lewis, Inner Ring “I wonder whether, in ages of promiscuity, many a virginity has not been lost less in obedience to Venus than in obedience to the lure of the caucus. For of course, when promiscuity is the fashion, the chaste are outsiders. They are ignorant of something that other people know. They are uninitiated.”
  3. They are not ready for the intensity of feeling
    1. What man can forget the fire that is lit when first progressing down the path.  Both genders simply lose their mind.
    2. Even “good” kids can fall prey to this, but worse, they think themselves immune.
    3. Remove the lie “it’s ok to go part-way”
  4. Sexuality is everywhere in college
    1. There is no more reservation, no more pretense
    2. Unprotected, Psychiatrist Miriam Grossman UCLA.  Worked in on-campus health care clinic
    3. “Thousands of times more toxic than anything we [adults] can remember”
    4. Naked Parties, Co-ed floors and bathrooms, abundant alcohol
    5. Authority promotes it – either directly or indirectly
    6. Result is this unilateral assault upon a young teen to simply “give in.”
  5. The number 1 STD is depression
    1. 2005 American Journal of Preventive Medicine article by Denise Hallfors etc.
    2. Girls get depressed, boys use drugs first, then later on depression
    3. Abstinate teen girls have depression rate of only 4% -> almost half (44%) for sexually active teen girls
  6. There are real life-long consequences
    1. Pornagraphy lives forever
    2. Girls learn to not trust guys “I love you”
    3. Story about wife and I


30 May 1962

To Alfred Corn,

I think that this experience you are having of losing your faith, or as you think, of having lost it, is an experience that in the long run belongs to faith; or at least it can belong to faith if faith is still valuable to you, and it must be or you would not have written me about this.

I don’t know how the kind of faith required of a Christian living in the 20th century can be at all if it is not grounded on this experience that you are having right now of unbelief. This may be the case always and not just in the 20th century. Peter said, “Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.” It is the most natural and most human and most agonizing prayer in the gospels, and I think it is the foundation prayer of faith.

As a freshman in college you are bombarded with new ideas, or rather pieces of ideas, new frames or reference, an activation of the intellectual life which is only beginning, but which is already running ahead of your lived experience. After a year of this, you think you cannot believe. You are just beginning to realize how difficult it is to have faith and the measure of a commitment to it, but you are too young to decide you don’t have faith just because you feel you can’t believe. About the only way we know whether we believe or not is by what we do, and I think from your letter that you will not take the path of least resistance in this matter and simply decide that you have lost your faith and that there is nothing you can do about it.

One result of the stimulation of your intellectual life that takes place in college is usually a shrinking of the imaginative life. This sounds like a paradox, but I have often found it to be true. Students get so bound up with difficulties such as reconciling the clashing of so many different faiths such as Buddhism, Mohammedanism, etc., that they cease to look for God in other ways. Bridges once wrote Gerard Manley Hopkins and asked him to tell him how he, Bridges, could believe. He must have expected from Hopkins a long philosophical answer. Hopkins wrote back, “Give alms.” He was trying to say to Bridges that God is to be experienced in Charity (in the sense of love for the divine image in human beings). Don’t get so entangled with intellectual difficulties that you fail to look for God in this way.

The intellectual difficulties have to be met, however, and you will be meeting them for the rest of your life. When you get a reasonable hold on one, another will come to take its place. At one time, the clash of the different world religions was a difficulty for me. Where you have absolute solutions, however, you have no need of faith. Faith is what you have in the absence of knowledge. The reason this clash doesn’t bother me any longer is because I have got, over the years, a sense of the immense sweep of creation, of the evolutionary process in everything, of how incomprehensible God must necessarily be to be the God of heaven and earth. You can’t fit the Almighty into your intellectual categories. I might suggest that you look into some of the works of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (The Phenomenon of Man et al.). He was a paleontologist–helped to discover Peking man–and also a man of God. I don’t suggest that you go to him for answers but for different questions, for that stretching of the imagination that you need to make you a sceptic in the face of much that you are learning, much of which is new and shocking but which when boiled down becomes less so and takes place in the general scheme of things. What kept me a sceptic in college was precisely my Christian faith. It always said: wait, don’t bite on this, get a wider picture, continue to read.

If you want your faith, you have to work for it. It is a gift, but for very few is it a gift given without any demand for equal time devoted to its cultivation. For every book you read that is anti-Christian, make it your business to read one that presents the other side of the picture; if one isn’t satisfactory read others. Don’t think that you have to abandon reason to be a Christian. A book that might help you is The Unity of Philosophical Experience by Etienne Gilson. Another is Newman’s The Grammar of Assent. To find out about faith, you have to go to the people who have it . . .

Even in the life of a Christian, faith rises and falls like the tides of an invisible sea. It’s there, even when he can’t see it or feel it, if he wants it to be there. You realize, I think, that it is more valuable, more mysterious, altogether more immense than anything you can learn or decide upon in college. Learn what you can, but cultivate Christian scepticism. It will keep you free–not free to do anything you please, but free to be formed by something larger than your own intellect or the intellects of those around you. . . .

Source: The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O’Connor, edited by Sally Fitzgerald

(New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1979), 476-78.


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