The Talks: A Review of Barrett Johnson's New Book About Sex Education

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Fletch and I have not done a great job of talking to our kids about sex. Encouraged by well-meaning friends and conservative authors to give our kids only the necessary biological information and nothing more, we unwittingly pushed the topic of sex and all that surrounds it into a mysterious hole from which our children felt they could never bring the topic out into the light of day.

According to our two oldest children, we failed them in ways that were destructive to one and frustrating to the other. There have been a lot of great late night discussions with these guys flopped out across our bed and draped over the big chairs in our bedroom, and now the topic is not taboo; the four of us plus our three teens can talk a mean streak about anything. It’s healthy.

Our failure in the area of sex ed is one of the reasons we felt it was important to record an episode of HomeschoolingIRL on the topic of how to talk to your kids about sex. Lo and behold, one of our favorite recent guests, Barrett Johnson, has written an excellent book on this topic, and we want you to know about it. Save your kids from the black hole of non-communication, as it were.

The Talks will encourage you to think differently about how you talk to your kids about sex, the content of your conversations, and how often you broach the subject. Barrett doesn’t assume you feel comfortable about this topic, and he even addresses the feeling of being a hypocrite as a parent who perhaps didn’t make the best choices yourself. If that’s you, you’ll appreciate his non-judgmental encouragement.

The Talks starts with theory, with Biblical foundation for saving sex for the safety of a marriage commitment, and both the physical and emotional consequences of living a life without sexual self control.

But the meat of the book is in its middle. Part Two, Fifteen Conversations Your Family Must Have Sooner Than You Think, covers basics about the opposite sex, the biology of intercourse, modesty, chivalry, selfishness, chemistry, unity, accountability, social media, pornography, marriage, and abuse. I so appreciated the practical content of these chapters, and especially the chapter on scripts, giving my kids realistic and helpful ways to answer others in sticky situations they may find themselves in.

This is practical stuff. The chapter on social media actually gives step-by-step conversation points so you know what exactly to address. You won’t be caught off guard when your teen’s itemized cell phone bill rivals the girth of a Manhattan phone book. Not that we know from experience or anything.

The Talks is an excellent place to start pushing the door open in your home, to creating the kind of open environment that fosters respect and unhindered communication with your children on a topic that has most of us tripping, stumbling, and falling.