Saturday, November 6, 2010

Facing the Facts: The Truth about Sex and You

Finding a suitable sex ed book for kids is difficult. But finding an accurate sex ed book upholding biblical values? That's almost impossible. Fortunately for Christian parents, Stan and Brenna Jones offer a whole series of sex ed books that have won the Christian Book Award. Book 4 in their series, targeted to young teens, is called Facing the Facts: The Truth About Sex and You.

The book begins by answering the questions "Why and How did God make men and women different?" Here you'll find scientifically based descriptions of how a boy or girl's body changes at puberty. There are textbook-like line drawings of the organs (male and female, including breasts), and complete coverage of all the basics, from getting a period to experiencing wet dreams. Another chapter deals with how women become pregnant, a little bit about the gestation of a baby, and the basic facts about birth. Although all this basic information can be found in any mainstream sex ed book, the authors of Facing the Facts make their book different by explaining Gods design in all these facts.

Next, the authors cover the topic of abstinence before marriage. They write that abstinence is the only way to absolutely not catch sexually transmitted diseases, and that it's also the way to "show God you love Him by obeying Him." In addition, they write, remaining abstinent before marriage gives the greatest honor and respect for the "purpose and meaning" of sex. The authors list some lies kids might hear about why abstinence is bad - or even not do-able - along with reasons why those myths aren't true.

Dating is covered pretty extensively, and the authors urge kids to decide long before they ever date just "how far" they are willing to go. This way, they say, kid are less likely to make a mistake in "the heat of the moment." This chapter also advises kids to only date Christians (so they won't be "unequally yoked," 2 Cor. 6:14) and what the true test of love is (time). The authors suggest kids younger than 16 date only in a group setting. Petting or touching is also discussed in detail. The authors conclude that while the Bible doesn't expressly talk about petting (giving historical reasons why this is so), Jesus says anyone who even looks lustfully at a woman he's not married to is committing a great sin. (Matt. 5:28) Petting creates or feeds lust, the authors say, and therefore should be avoided by Christians. In addition, they write, petting can lead to sexual intercourse with people hardly realizing what's happening.

Next the authors cover tough issues like peer pressure, pornography (sinful because it feeds lust, among other things), cybersex and cyberdating (dangerous), cohabitation before marriage (sinful and statistically harmful to a future marriage), masterbation, broken families, homosexuality, and handling a public school education sex ed class that is "discouraging" to Christian students.

The final chapter encourages kids to walk with God and obey him in all things - including their sexuality.

What I Like: This book is solidly biblical and easy to read. The authors are not judgmental, but neither are they afraid to write about what the Bible has to say on controversial subjects like homosexuality (the author concludes it's a sin, according to the Bible, and studies show genetics play a very minor role in it) and masturbation (which isn't forbidden in the Bible, but if it makes you lust after the opposite sex, they authors write, it's a sin). In addition, the authors don't boss kids around. Instead, they make suggestions about what kids might choose to do.
What I Dislike: This isn't really a "dislike," but more of a caution to parents. Read this (or any other sex ed book) before giving it to your kids, then carefully and prayfully decide if it's right for their personal level of maturity. My kids are 5 and under, so it's hard for me to imagine they'll be ready to learn, at age 11, that sex feels good and what oral sex is. But maybe they will be. In today's world, it's difficult to shield kids from sex and I very much want to be at least one of the first people they learn about such things from. ("Why does this book discuss oral sex?" you wonder? Because the authors know many kids are experimenting with it in order to avoid unwanted pregnancy. Unfortunately, as the authors point out, even oral sex has it's problems.)

In addition, it would have been so very helpful if the authors had included a list of biblical references about sex. For example, a list of verses or sections about homosexuality would greatly back up their assertions that the Bible says it's a sin.
Overall Rating: Excellent.

Age Appeal: The publisher's suggested age range is 11 to 14, but every kid is different and not all will be mature enough at 11 to read this book. On the other hand, I think parents need to carefully consider whether or not their kids will be exposed to this information - presented in a secular way - at school, among friends, and from media - at that age.

Publishing Info: NavPress, 2007; ISBN: 978-1600060151; paperback, 128 pgs., $11.99

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Special Info: Check out our other reviews of other sex ed books in this series.

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