Sex + Faith

Sex + Faith
Talking with Your Child from Birth to Adolescence
Kate Ott
Westminster John Knox Press

Sex + Faith is a very well written book that talks about the intersection of sex and faith and their development. In each chapter Kate provides an outline of where children or teens of a particular age will be in their physical, sexual, relational and spiritual growth. The text in interspersed with books dealing with very real questions that children may ask about sex and faith.

I found the book very easy to read. Kate is clear about the difference between sexuality and the act of sex itself. She does not fall into the trap of trying to limit information to “protect children”. She points out that the more information young people have about sex, the more likely they are to make responsible decisions about when and what kind of sexual activity to engage in.

Kate’s approach is not primarily directed to either conservative or liberal values or faith. Instead she encourages open and caring dialogue between parent and child about sex, faith and the parent’s own chosen set of moral codes. It is up to the parent to portray their faith and the way that they live that faith to their children as they also model healthy relationship and sexual behaviour.

The only time Kate steps away from the idea that the parents set the tone is in dealing with the misconception that giving information is the same as giving permission. She states that more information will mean more informed decisions and fewer risks. She also shows that simple abstinence programs are ineffective. It is not enough to tell teens Don’t do IT, because they will engage in behaviours that legalistically aren’t sexual intercourse, but carry their own risks that teens should be aware of.

This is a very good book that should be on the shelves of church libraries everywhere and read by parents who wish to bring their faith and the faith of their children into harmony with their whole lives.

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