Church cannot shy away from talking about sex

A common activity in youth work is to use the day’s newspapers to help start a discussion with young people.

I can only imagine the apprehension of any church youth leaders using this activity last Wednesday. The Daily Mail headline, ‘Minister: My fear for boys warped by porn’ could have produced a rather uncomfortable conversation.

Twenty years ago as I started my teenage years, the internet didn’t exist so the only access to hard core pornography would have meant me overcoming my embarrassment to purchase a top shelf magazine from the newsagent.

The rapid growth of the internet has changed that for young people today.Porn is everywhere. In fact, it’s only recently that social networking has taken over pornography as the most popular use of the net.

With research showing that 97 per cent of boys have viewed online porn, many by the age of 11, the fear is that instant access to pornography, including extreme and violent images, is leaving boys with unrealistic expectations of sex and hence undermining future relationships.

The Church is not good at addressing these issues with young people. Where sex is taught it’s usually in confirmation, and linked to marriage, ie it can be doctrinal rather than an exploration of young people’s reality.

We cannot afford to shy away from conversations about sex and sexuality, because outside our classrooms and youth groups and away from family members, our young people meet the issues in the riskier surroundings of the playground, the media, and in the isolation of their bedroom with a computer. Continue reading.

Danny Curtin is the former National President of the Young Christian Workers, and continues to support their International Council. Danny writes and advises on youth ministry, and is a catechist and youth worker working in the United Kingdom.

Source: The Tablet

Image: Author’s own

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