trail head sign

The first week of seventh grade, our second son came home with a novel written by an unfamiliar author. Ever curious, I sat down to read it after he went to bed. About half way through, the narrator, an adolescent boy, began the chapter with this thought, “If God did not want boys to masturbate, he would not have given us thumbs.” A few paragraphs later, he referenced his dependence on pornography. I shot off a We need to talk! email to his teacher and then burst into tears.

It was distressing but, it also motivated me and my husband to press into conversations about masturbation with our introverted son. I’ve been parenting and pastoring long enough to know that we are not alone in our skittishness about this topic. Regardless of our reluctance, our children need us to consistently and lovingly engage.

Almost anyone over the age of forty probably suffered through an incredibly awkward single conversation about sexuality with their parents. I can almost guarantee the topic of masturbation never came up. If we are of the female persuasion, the sex talk was typically connected to the beginning of our menses. Far too many boys growing up prior to the 1990s received little to no sex education except for a one-day health class, typically taught by the men’s gym teacher, that stressed all of the horrific sexually transmitted diseases they might contract. (Nuanced it was not!)

To read the remainder of this piece, please head over to The Mudroom.

(I removed the word masturbation from the headline on my post to avoid being trolled.)