I have to admit that I’m surprised that this question leads to controversy.
We are all on this earth as animals, and all animals have a few things in common. We eat, we sleep, we breathe, and we reproduce. Should you keep food from your kids? Probably not if you want them to survive. Should you keep water from your kids? Probably not if you want them to survive. Should you keep air from your kids? Probably not if you want them to survive.
Why is it that the last item on the list actually makes people uncomfortable? Why would you keep sexuality from you children? They’re going to grow up and start breeding eventually (or become 40 year old virgins), and the longer you withhold nudity and sex from your kids, the more likely it is that their peers will leave them in the dust. And unless you want your children to become socially awkward, sexually inexperienced deviants later in life, you might want to rethink your attitude towards sex and your kids.
Kids mostly grow up the same way. They run, they play, they get into trouble, they think the opposite sex is “icky”, but eventually, while they continue to run, play, and get into trouble, they start to find the opposite sex attractive. They become interested. When they reach adolescence, they probably start to go on dates. They have their first kiss. Eventually, as they mature, they masturbate (yes, that’s normal too). Sooner or later, they’ll get naked in front of one another and start to explore their own bodies. They’ll have sex.
Hopefully not sex that leads to babies, but hey, you’re the one that taught them about abstinence, right? Very helpful, but only if you want to perfectly exemplify how wrong your own views are when you’re stuck raising a teenage mother or father.
I’m gay. I had conflicting sexual feelings for either sex when I was younger, and didn’t really realize it until later on, but I definitely prefer my own sex.
One of the things gay guys who are my age (and sadly even in some parts of the country still) didn’t do back in high school was date. We didn’t court one another because we weren’t allowed to be ourselves or express the same feelings that our heterosexual counterparts are allowed to show for one another. Even if you try to repress the sexual feelings of your children, even if you don’t teach them about it, trust me, they learn. And they’re allowed to.
But homosexuals weren’t allowed to do that. We couldn’t share or express those feelings, for fear of unwanted bigotry being thrown our way, and so we didn’t. There were no gays in plain sight. They didn’t exist. They were hidden. Repressed. We hid everything. We got infuriated with anyone who suggested we were gay, something which most of us struggled so desperately to hide.
So we didn’t court one another. We didn’t express our feelings. We hid and repressed and lied about everything. And because of this, many of us haven’t grown into meaningful relationships (even though most of us still prove we’re eventually capable of this). The point is that it becomes so much harder when you don’t experience bonding on this level when you’re younger. I personally have trouble sharing myself with others in this way, and I blame society for “shielding” me and others from this very natural aspect of life.
Gay or straight, this is an example of what happens when parents shield their kids from what nature intends us to experience when we go through puberty. The transition happens during adolescence for a reason, and trying to prevent it is a mistake. Exposure to relationships, nudity, and even sex, is completely healthy and natural, not damaging.
Teaching kids to ignore or repress it, however, is catastrophically damaging to the minds of children, as my own experiences, and the experiences of everyone like me, have proven beyond any shadow of a doubt. So be open with your kids about sexuality, and teach them to return the favor.
Good health favors those who are honest; poor health favors those who are not.