"WHAT TO TALK ABOUT"
Specific Topics for Discussion and Instruction

"THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING"
Some facts and thoughts on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

"BUT THERE'S NOTHING ELSE TO DO"
Eight great cheap dates that don't require having sex to be a good time

"SEXUAL WISDOM" by Richard Wetzel, MD
What we need is another sexual revolution.

"WHAT PART OF 'NO' DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?"
How to say no, without hurting their feelings.

"PREGNANCY 101"
Some Startling Facts about Teen Sexuality & Pregnancy

"YOU GOTTA TAKE THE CAR FOR A TEST DRIVE BEFORE YOU BUY IT"
Why "Marriage First"?

"CHASTITY BELTS AND OTHER METHODOLOGIES"
Strategies to remain abstinent until marriage.

"SELF-ESTEEM IS THE KEY"
Building self-esteem in your child

"WHY? GOD"
How does God fit into my decision about sex?

"NOW THAT'S FUNNY"
Some of the best abstinence slogans we have ever heard


"WHAT TO TALK ABOUT"
Specific Topics for Discussion and Instruction with Your Kids

When it comes to children they should be told the least amount of sex trivia and the greatest amount about the necessary connection between sex and love.

Good sex education starts with the Golden Rule. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Parents should teach children how to apply it in their relationships with the opposite sex.

Let's not forget about the Silver Rule as defined by Richard Wetzel, MD. "Behave as you would have others behave". For example, when a child is unsure how to act in a certain situation, the child should consider how he or she would want someone he or she respects to act. As another example, if a teenager is at a party where pornography is being shown, he or she should consider how parents or other respected family members would act and follow that example.

Parents should teach children the holistic approach to sexuality. Teach that sex has a role within a relationship, not instead of a relationship.

Parents should alert their children to the great ignorance among their peer group regarding the core issues of sex, in particular among those who are sexually active. Parents should explain which issues are trivial and which have substance. For example, some young people equate sex with love. This is not the case and is a matter of substance. Another reality vs. fantasy issue is that of the frequency of sexual contact in a healthy relationship. The reality is that sex constitutes just 2% of a married couples time together.

Since most of the people a person dates will eventually marry someone else, parents should advise their children to treat the people they date as they would want someone else to treat their own future spouses.

Parents should teach their children to say "no" by the way they act and dress, and by the situations they allow or don't allow themselves to get into - use of alcohol and other drugs, arousing forms of entertainment, the wrong peer group, secluded dates, etc.

Parents should emphasize morality and virtue.

Parents should teach their children that the term "safe sex" is a misnomer!

Above all, parents should communicate with their children. Talk, talk, talk, and talk some more.

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"THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING"
Some facts and thoughts on Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Although anyone, of any age, can become infected with a STD, teenagers are particularly vulnerable because of a lack of information.
  • Yes, you ABSOLUTELY can have a STD, even if you do not have any symptoms.
  • A condom offers little protection against STDs and in fact, in some cases such as HPV (Human Papilloma Virus), offers no protection at all.
  • Yes, you ABSOLUTELY can contract a STD through oral sex.
  • Not all people with a STD will have an outward sign of infection. Therefore, don't assume your partner is not infected just because he or she doesn't have symptoms.
  • If you find that you have put yourself in a situation in which you could have been infected with a STD, have yourself tested immediately.
  • Even STD infected people with no outward sign of infection will infect others.
  • Get tested for STD's at your local health department.

Some symptoms of STDs:

In Women...

  • Discharge from the vagina
  • Itching in the genital area
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Burning with urination
  • Odor from the genital area
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pelvic pain

In Men...

  • Discharge from the penis
  • Pain and itching inside penis
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Burning with urination

In both Women & Men

  • Rectal pain and discharge
  • Body rash
  • Genital sores, rashes, abrasions or bumps
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes
  • Mouth and throat sores and lesions

There is really no such thing as "safe sex", abstinence is the only sure way to avoid contracting an STD. See our FAQ page for symptoms specific to the most common STD’s.

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"BUT THERE'S NOTHING ELSE TO DO"
Eight great cheap dates that don't require having sex to be a good time

One way to avoid finding yourself in an unwelcome sexual situation is to avoid activities that put you and a potential sexual partner in a time and place that makes it all too easy for sexual activity. Instead use a little imagination, adopt the right attitude and have some fun with these ideas:

RETRO CLOTHES SHOPPING - with a preset budget, cruise through as many thrift shops as you can in one afternoon, searching for that wonderful or wacky pair of pants you can't live without.

CLAY PLAY - head to the hobby store and buy a big block of clay and a couple of sculpting tools. Back home cover the table and floors with a plastic drop cloth and sculpt something wonderful together.

BAKE A CAKE - from the box, or with your own ingredients, bake an outrageous cake together. Better yet, have a bake off to see which of you has what it takes in the kitchen.

THE MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION - both of you write down a dozen personal questions on separate scraps of paper. Roll them up and drop them into separate bowls. Take turns pulling a question out of your date's bowl and answering it. Each can exercise the right to not answer one question. What a great way to get to know each other!

PICASSO YOU AIN'T - buy some face paint at the craft store and go crazy on each other. Add to the fun by heading off to the local mall together complete with your freshly painted faces.

READ ALL ABOUT IT - pick any page of the newspaper. Circle the words that catch your eye, and then base your activities for the date on those words. For example, you might have circled "crowds," "dogs," and "dairy products," which clearly indicates a date to the mall pet store followed by a milkshake run!

GET BENT OUT OF SHAPE - pitch in a couple of bucks and buy the game "Twister". No fair playing alone though - it's you, your date and your parents.

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"SEXUAL WISDOM" by Richard Wetzel, MD
What we need is another sexual revolution.

There is a story about a newspaper reporter who is taking a survey at a busy downtown intersection. "What are the two greatest problems facing America today?" he asks a man who is striding rapidly along the street. "I don't know, and I don't care," the man shouts over his shoulder as he hurries on his way. "That's right," says the reporter, "ignorance and apathy."

We're still facing those same two problems today in the wake of the sexual revolution. The sexual revolution of the 60's was based on ignorance - misconceptions and falsehoods - which people accepted because they didn't know enough or care enough - ignorance and apathy.

On the other hand, much good has resulted from the sexual revolution:

We enjoy a new openness today to discussing sexuality, which has great therapeutic value; many important issues are now "out of the closet." And now that we are talking about them, we can do something about alleviating the suffering they cause.

Our society clearly needed a sexual revolution, but we got the wrong one. We needed a revolution based on love, but we got one based on the uninhibited pursuit of freedom and pleasure. The net result is that we are not just "out of the closet," but awash in misunderstanding and misuse of our human sexuality. Now we need to reconsider how to make sex a positive experience. There is no quick fix for our national dilemma today. Some of the related ethical and psychosocial problems are enormously complex and unwieldy, but others are more manageable than they may at first have seemed. As a start we can take the following steps toward a new sexual revolution:

· We need to debunk the "needs" misconception. To live a life based on attempts to fulfill needs is enslaving. The "needs" misconception is the most important falsehood about sex, because it directly contradicts the fundamental truth that all people are free to choose to "do good."

· We need to reestablish the priority of love and re-embrace its behavioral extension - natural morality.

· We need to resensitize our society to the abuse of sex.

· We need to emphasize the nurturing of children. We have to be concerned about our skewed values wherein husbands neglect their wives for sake of their careers, parents abandon their children while working extra jobs to secure material goods and spouses use their children as an excuse to neglect one another.

· We need to more carefully evaluate modern technology and its implications on human relationships.

· We need to challenge the common wisdom of our culture. Realize that just because someone or some agency speaks with authority does not mean they speak with accuracy.

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"WHAT PART OF 'NO' DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?"
How to say no, without hurting their feelings.

Many young ladies and gentlemen actually prefer to stay uninvolved sexually. The best way to avoid this ever happening to you is to set down the ground rules very early in your relationship. However, it is possible you will find yourself in a sexual situation because you did not establish the rules early on and/or because you do not want to reject your partner's advances and risk hurting their feelings. So, what follows are some gentler ways to say "no."

Above all else, when saying "no" make sure you do so assertively. Any hint of uncertainty in this area will lead to continued advances by your partner.

One technique of saying "no" is the "Broken Record" technique. You simply repeatedly say "no" until your partner finally gives up. You cannot substitute words like "not now," "maybe later," "I don't think so," etc. It will take a firm and consistent "no" from you for this to work.

Another technique is the "Sandwich" technique where you say "no" between two pleasant or complimentary comments. Something along the lines of "I really like you, but sex is out of the question. Your stories are so interesting, I just really enjoy spending time listening to you."

Humor is always a great way to deal with a tense situation. If you find your partner pressuring you to have sex you simply agree, but under one condition. Your partner has to call your father or mother first and get their permission. The thought of that will most likely put an end to the pursuit.

Fear is not a bad tactic either. This one will work best for girls. If a guy is pressuring you simply relate the story of the time your dad almost killed a guy for scratching his car. Go on to wonder aloud what he might actually do to anyone who would damage his daughter.

Flatter your mate by telling them you have not had sex with anyone because you wanted to save it for them on your wedding night.

Ask your partner if they think you are worth waiting for.

One very important thing to remember, if you have made it very clear that you are not interested in a sexual relationship, and your partner continues to apply sexual pressure, then you are with the wrong partner. A partner who will not accept your desire to remain abstinent is not the partner for you.

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"PREGNANCY 101"
Some Startling Facts about Teen Sexuality & Pregnancy

Kids from all walks of life are becoming pregnant, not just inner-city kids. In fact, every year in the United States over 1 million teens become pregnant. That means about 3,000 U.S. teens gave birth today.

In a movement that began in the 60s teens began to gain easy access to contraceptives. Despite this easy availability of contraceptives the teen pregnancy rate continued to rise steadily until the mid-1990s.

The early 1990s saw the first of the nationwide, abstinence-based programs enter our schools. Since 1991, the birthrate for young teen agers has declined an amazing 29% (source CDC).

The number of schools allowing abstinence-based education programs has increased steadily since the early 1990s.

The teen pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate has declined for the fourth straight year.

Teen pregnancy is one of the leading causes of lifetime poverty. Pregnant teens have a very high dropout rate, usually become welfare recipients. Most go on to be single parents and those that do marry, more often than not, end up divorced.

Over one-third of the 1.6 million abortions performed in the US last year were performed on teens. It is important to remember that abortion does not solve the teen pregnancy - it destroys it!

It is interesting to note that legalizing abortion did nothing to reduce the teen pregnancy rate. Only the recent inclusion of "abstinence only" education in our schools has had the direct effect of reducing both the teen pregnancy rate and the teen abortion rate!

Remember that "self-control" is more important than "birth control" and that "saved sex" is more important than "safe sex."

Do you know what they call teens who practice "safe sex"? Parents. Most contraceptives have a high failure rate. Condoms, even if used properly, fail between 10 and 18 percent of the time (Warner, et. al. "Assesing condom use practices. Implications for evaluating method and user effectiveness" Sexually Transmitted Diseases. 1998 25:273-277). Other contraceptives, such as the pill, have dangerous side effects besides doing nothing to prevent the spread of STDs.

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"YOU GOTTA TAKE THE CAR FOR A TEST DRIVE BEFORE YOU BUY IT"
Why "Marriage First"?

There are so many reasons for a couple to abstain from sexual activity until marriage. Here are just a few:

1. Premarital abstinence results in a married partner who is a good lover, not just a good sex partner.

2. Couples who live together or have sex prior to marriage have a markedly higher divorce rate.

3. Sex before marriage often results in unplanned pregnancies and unwanted children. This situation can create a burden on society and create distrust between you and your family members.

Abstaining from sex until marriage enforces a series of values:

· Mutual respect - it is important that there is respect for one another for a marriage to be successful. Respecting your partner's reputation enough to save sex for your wedding day is a strong indicator of your overall respect.

· Easier to be faithful - if you can refrain from any sexual activity before marriage, you will certainly stand a better chance of staying faithful throughout your marriage. Let's face it, a partner who can exhibit self-control before marriage is likely to be one who can exhibit self-control after marriage.

· Reinforces responsible attitudes - delaying sexual activity until after marriage is a very mature act. It would be much easier to give in to biological urges; anyone who can control those urges is proving their maturity.

· Develop your relationship - the average married couple has sex just twice a week. The average length of time spent on each encounter is less than an hour. There are certainly more important aspects of your relationship that need to be enhanced ahead of sex.

· Sex not related to guilt - sex before marriage can raise issues of guilt with some individuals. There is no justification for you to want your partner to ever have that sort of association.

· Bond - having a common goal, one that is a challenge to accomplish, such as abstaining from sex until marriage can bring a couple much closer together. Accomplishing that goal can be a very fulfilling moment that will have a positive impact on the balance of your relationship together.

· Sexual freedom - freedom from sexual pressure can allow you and your partner to develop true intimacy.

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"CHASTITY BELTS AND OTHER METHODOLOGIES"
Strategies to remain abstinent until marriage.

If you want children to practice abstinence until marriage, it will require training on the part of the parent. Remember, you did not train your children in table manners in one evening, and you will not train them in sexual abstinence in one talk. Abstinence is a lifestyle, a mind set which takes years to develop. It is really never too early to begin the process.

· Talk openly with your children about your expectations for them. Kids will generally deliver what is expected of them.

· The earlier you start the easier for all concerned. Common sense does dictate that the content of the conversation be age appropriate.

· Welcome your child's questions - in fact, invite their questions.

· If your child never asks questions it will be up to you to stimulate conversation by asking the questions of your child.

· Parents need to clearly state their family values. In addition, you MUST SET AN APPROPRIATE EXAMPLE.

· Talk to both your sons and your daughters. Both boys and girls need to be encouraged to adopt abstinence until marriage as a lifestyle. Just expecting girls to hold the line against premarital sex is unfair and will be unsuccessful.

· Even if you were not abstinent until marriage does not mean you can not expect it of your children. Times are different, the diseases more deadly, and the onset of sexual activity is occurring at younger and younger ages. Mistakes you made in the past should do nothing but encourage you to pass wisdom to your children so that they might avoid making the same mistakes.

· Set the rules for dating LONG before the dating age.

· Have a dress code and enforce it.

· Always have a curfew for your son or daughter.

· Know who they are dating.

· Have limits on which rooms in the house may be used to entertain dates.

· Think twice about leaving your child home alone after school.

· Wait up for your child.

· Develop a positive relationship between parent and child.

(see "Building Self-Esteem" for more information)

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"SELF-ESTEEM IS THE KEY"
Building self-esteem in your child

The studies are in and it seems one of the major contributing factors to the likelihood of a teen becoming sexually promiscuous is low self esteem. In dealing with hundreds of pregnant teenage girls through the years, I don't remember many who had a good self-image. The profiles are almost always the same:

· A lack of self-repect and self-confidence

· An overwhelming desire to please others

· A desperate need to be loved and appreciated

Basically they are attempting to make up for something that is lacking in their lives. It is really up to the parents to make sure your child has a positive self-image. So, what follows are some steps you can take to help build your child's self-esteem and in the process you will develop a positive relationship between you and your child.

Does your child know you love and appreciate him or her. Don't assume! Do you tell him/her on a regular basis how special he/she is and how much joy he/she brings into your life?

Do you give your child lots of physical love? By that I mean non-sexual hugs, pats on the back, a hand on the shoulder, etc. When was the last time you hugged your children?

Do you have special time each week with your child? What about special time each day? It can be nothing more than making sure the entire family sits down to dinner together.

When was the last time you made your child laugh?

Who does most of the talking when you are with your child, you or your child? The answer should be your child.

Do you apologize to your child when you are wrong or get angry? If not, you should.

Do you praise your child more than criticize? If not, you should.

Don't ease up on the love and affection when your children enter their teenage years. That is the time when they will need you the most.

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"WHY? GOD"
How does God fit into my decision about sex?

Throughout this web page we have looked at sex from a physical, emotional and social perspective. But human beings also have a spiritual and religious side. For most people, a spiritual or religious dimension translates to a belief in God. A recent Gallup Poll found that 94% of America's teenagers have faith and belief in God. Because of that, we think, it makes sense to bring God into one's decision making regarding sexual matters.

If God created you, then God created your body. God also created your sexuality and he designed it to be good. Sex is certainly one of God's best gifts to you.

The big question is how does God intend for you to use your sexuality. Does God mean for sex to be used outside of marriage? Does God mean for sex to be part of the relationship between unmarried teenagers? How can we know what God has in mind?

A good starting place might be your priest, minister or rabbi. They can surely refer you to scripture that will make known God's plan for us. The Bible surely makes reference to premarital sex:

"Do you not see whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer? It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication (sex between unmarried people), theft, murder, adultery, avarice, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."
(Mark 7:18-23)

God's teaching here is quite clear; unmarried sex is a serious sin. That teaching would not have come as a surprise to Jesus' first disciples who had all been raised in the Jewish tradition. In the book of Genesis, the first book of the Torah of Jewish law and of the Christian Old Testament, God's plan for sex and marriage is laid out. Jesus often reminded his listeners of this plan as set forth by God since the beginning of the world:

"Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning "made them male and female," and said, "for this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh."
(Matthew 19:4-6)

Notice the sequence of events in God's plan: First a man leaves home; next he takes a wife; then the two become "one flesh." The sequence is definitely not: First you leave home; then you fool around with a series of sexual partners; then, maybe, you choose one person to marry and settle down.

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"NOW THAT'S FUNNY"
Some of the best abstinence slogans we have ever heard

Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder.
Sex has a role within a relationship, not instead of a relationship.
True love waits.
Take some advice from the Gipper and keep it behind the zipper.
Saved sex not safe sex.
Self-control not birth control.
I'm worth waiting for.
Real men exercise self-control.
The safest sex is no sex.
Chastity: It does a body good.
Don't take the bait, just say wait.
Condoms don't protect the heart.
Proud 2 B Pure / Abstinence
Single Special Selective & Worth the Wait
Safe Sex Still Breaks the Heart
Just Say Wait - Save it for your Wedding Day
No ringy, no dingy
Your Wedding - Ultimate Foreplay
Virginity is not a dirty word.
Marriage - The United State
Sex is the end of innocence - Why rush it?
Abstinence is the new sexual revolution!
Don’t kid yourself, sex can wait.
Don’t grandkid yourself - talk to your kids about abstinence.

If you have a favorite Abstinence Slogan please e-mail it to us. We will post the best of them on our home page!

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factsaboutsex.com is an internet outreach ministry of the
Marriage First program of Community Services, Inc.