"I think it is vital that we teach our boys that there is a difference between finding someone sexually attractive vs. reducing another person to a sexual object. We would do well to teach our boys that one does not have to lead to the other. (We would also do well to reassure our children that sexual attraction is TOTALLY NORMAL).
Speaking of sexual attraction being totally normal, something else really bothered me in Mrs. Hall’s post. She said:
We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.
I’m going to ignore the age specifics here, since she’s referring to her boys who are in high school. But I want to point out that many men of integrity DO linger over pictures of scantily-clad women. The fact that Mrs. Hall thinks these things are mutually exclusive is not going to prepare her sons well, either. In my counseling practice I’ve seen MANY men of integrity who struggle with looking at pornography. Of course, some men do this and don’t have moral convictions about it, but I’m referring to men who hold religious beliefs that place this behavior outside their own moral code. I’ve seen pastors of mega-churches, Christian authors, elders, church leaders struggling with pornography . . . I’ve seen great husbands and exemplary dads who struggle with their impulses as it relates to sexual imagery. Plenty of good men struggle to adhere to their own convictions about sexual imagery or lust. And I’ve also seen that most of these men, when raised in Christian homes, had families that shared a pattern of behavior:
They were taught to be ashamed of their sexual feelings
Their parents emphasized female bodies as “forbidden fruit”
They were taught all-or-nothing thinking in relation to sexuality (i.e. Good men aren’t even tempted by this stuff)
Their families lived in denial about adolescent sexual behavior
Their families never normalized sexual feelings
Their families held the reigns too tight, failing to equip them for life in the real world
These kinds of parental behaviors often lead to the very thing the parents are trying to avoid, because when we pair shame with normal sexual attraction, over and over, we are telling our boys (and girls) that there is something wrong with them. Shame is the fuel for addiction – why saddle our children with that potential? We’ve got to normalize sexual feelings and within that, teach self-control and respect."
I would personally add that we just plain need to normalize feelings and stop shaming behaviors & attitudes toward children, ourselves, and each other. Addiction of any kind (pornography, video games, gambling, overeating, drugs, alcohol, etc) is bound by shame.