Did your parents talk to you about sex?
Mine didn’t. I remember this rising in my mind as I watched the final episode of The Wonder Years, when my hero, Kevin, revealed that his folks never talked to him, either.
That’s when I began to wonder how many others were like me, kids who came of age in the ’70s and ’80s, learning everything we could from TV, movies, music, and whatever books we could get our hands on.
Much later, as a husband and father, I started to think about my generation and how we were going to bridge the gap with our own children. I polled my friends and found that most of them never heard about sex from their folks. They were no more ready to cover this with their kids than I was.
Sex isn’t some isolated topic like IRS Form 1040EZ that you can just learn, or teach, in one sitting. Sexuality infuses our whole being (a point I grasped listening to talks by a priest). It’s part of who we are. I could no more instruct my son about healthy sexuality in a one-lesson format than I could teach him how to be a father, a gentleman, or a good listener. It’s something we build into ourselves, the result of years of good decisions and hard learning with a cultivated instinct at the bottom.
Also, as my generation discovered, there are plenty of people waiting to screw us up with bad information. Most of this takes the form of sex-oriented marketing, wishful thinking by liberation fantasists, or individuals looking to validate themselves by indoctrinating others.
So who’s giving us right answers?
I looked around for someone like me who’s sorted things out in a book, and found very few. So I took some advice I saw somewhere which said, if you can’t find the book you want, write it yourself.
I did that with Sex: What Your Parents Didn’t Tell You. Even while test-marketing that book, I started hearing from people that it would make a good presentation. I’m a fearless public speaker, so I’ve started booking live talks, taking questions and listening to real-world experiences from mothers and fathers, parents-to-be, even grandparents.
Everybody wants the right answers.
Michael Rittenhouse is my pen name. (My real name’s kind of bland.) I’m a University of Texas graduate with a background in writing and a long history of storytelling.
A while back, my wife and I sold our house and moved our family into an RV. We travel the country with our three children, learning all we can from real life and the Great Books.
Please have patience with this site, as I’m a WordPress noob. If you want, you can contact me at rittenhouse.michael at gmail.com.