Facing "The Talk"
What are we teaching our daughters about sex?
Our girls are bombarded with sexual messages—at school, through social media, in movies, songs and advertising, and so on. How are we helping them process these messages? At what age should we start talking about sex? How do we protect them in this world of sexting and date rape? Most importantly, how do we empower them to make wise choices about their bodies and learn to take care of themselves in a world that can feel very unsafe? Elizabeth Chapin writes:
"The data is pretty consistent—most girls aren't waiting until marriage to have sex. Many aren't even waiting until adulthood! Unfortunately, too many parents don't explicitly talk about sex. Perhaps we're afraid our kids won't listen. Or we won't know what to say. Maybe we're ashamed of something in our past. Or we're paralyzed by our own brokenness because of something terrible that's happened to us. For some of us, our parents never talked about sex and we made all the right choices, so we expect the same outcome for our own girls. Unfortunately, our silence often does more harm than good."
This book is designed to inspire and encourage us to have conversations about sex with our girls that will prepare them to make healthy, wise and informed choices. This is not a typical "how to" parenting book. Elizabeth Chapin is a professor and a mom of four who is open about all her missteps as a parent. She shows us how she has been able to offer her girls something more than a set of rules about sex—instead offering them an alternative imagination, a reframing of what Western media culture defines sex to be. If you, like Elizabeth, want to invite your daughters into the bigger story of God's creative goodness in the world, then you will find a refreshing perspective in these pages.
"I've had the privilege of serving students alongside Elizabeth for years. I've watched her heart and insightful wisdom impact countless lives. But the greatest honor I have had is to watch her parent her daughters and to see how they've grown into women who know how to respect and honor their body and sex. I know that I will be using this book in my student ministry and in my home."
"A few decades ago, there were lots of books helping parents and others to lead their kids through the labyrinth of teenage sexuality. These were, for the most part, self-help books filled with principles and platitudes. As the culture has increasingly pushed against the tried and true messages and strategies of that era, few voices have kept pace. Into this void Elizabeth Chapin brings a fresh, real take on what it means to walk alongside our daughters through today's sexualized and image-defined culture. Using stories and conversations with her own daughters, Chapin's honesty brings hope and reality to what is ultimately more about a journey than a 'talk.' An uplifting correction to the 'add water and stir' bumper stickers of the past, Facing "The Talk" helps parents to see up close what it means to be in life with their daughters."
"Elizabeth Chapin's honest and inviting book demonstrates what it advocates: open, transparent and grace-filled conversations about female embodiment and sex. Chapin's stories of intentional rituals she has practiced with her daughters are grounded in the lavish love of God and told within the context of a loving family and community. She shares her experience, research and counsel with wisdom, humor and humility as she too continues to grow as a daughter of God. A gift well given."
"Facing "The Talk" is a must-read book for all parents and caregivers of daughters. As a mom, Chapin brings 'The Talk' into the candid arena of everyday life for girls in our hypersexualized, media-drunk culture. Using stories punctuated with the wisdom of her process and the conversation skills she learned helps us to navigate the development of a girl's sexuality together with her faith and family, and not separate from them. Chapin gets extra kudos for not sanitizing the conversation or diminishing the reality that many young girls are sexually exploited by friends and family members."
"Facing "The Talk" is a book for moms who operate in the real world. This is not a sterile, how-to instructional book, but rather a humorous, candid, insightful look into the mother-daughter relationship as it pertains to discussions of sexuality and sex. Elizabeth Chapin's stories and reflections give me a friend as I face these conversations with my own girls. Her honesty about her own feelings and fumbles in the process forces me to look at my own stuff and to know I'm not alone in the often clumsy world of sex talks."
"With grace and humility Elizabeth tells an inspiring story of a mom who set out to intentionally talk with her daughters about sex and sexuality. Facing "The Talk" describes what worked and what didn't as Elizabeth sought to negotiate contemporary culture, Christian faith and adolescent sexuality. Above all, Elizabeth shows us a mother who pays attention, who hopes her daughters make different choices than she did and who will love them no matter what choices they make. I highly recommend Facing "The Talk" to any mother wanting guidance in the challenge of talking to daughters about sex."
1. Learning to Talk
2. The How-To Sex Talk
3. Talking Topics: Ages Nine to Twelve
4. Where Did My Little Girl Go?
5. Back Story
6. The How-Not-To Sex Talk
7. Talking Topics: Ages Thirteen to Seventeen
8. Fear Factor
9. Overcoming Fear and Shame
Appendix A: Resources for The Talks
Appendix B: Sexual Abuse and Violence Against Women
Appendix C: Talking Topics