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Abstinence Education for Teens

Updated on September 27, 2009

This may sound strange coming from a sex columnist, but I'm a big advocate of teaching tweens and preteens the importance of sexual abstinence. My reasons for this aren't religious, nor are they spiritual; they're mostly based on health and emotional well-being. Sex is something most teenagers partake in because they think that's what they ought to be doing by the time they reach their age and have a boyfriend or girlfriend. It's not something most of them actually enjoy, given how bad sex is when you don't know what you're doing and it's not something most of them truly understand the perils of when it comes to STD transmission. Therefore, I see no point in teens having sex and, frankly, if someone had told me back then how lame it was when you haven't a clue, I would have stayed a virgin for at least another decade. Now, I realize many parents teaching abstinence or abstinence only are religious and do not share my rationale, but the end goal is the same: we both think your kids are better off staying kids until they're full-on adults. Some of these books are religious in nature and won't appeal to those of you who don't like that sort of thing, but you can always pick and choose what you discuss with your child. PS, this isn't something you wait for High School to bring up. Start this discussion when they are tweens, because they've already heard lots of misinformation from their friends and you want a head start on correcting that misinformation.

Sex Smart: 501 Reasons Not to Have Sex is NON-RELIGIOUS guide for parents and teens. It helps you determine which topics to address, when to address them and highlights the importance of continually revisiting them at various stages of your child's sexual development. It's also a great book for your teen who can read it on their own. Many parents feel this is the best book they've come across for dealing with the issue of teen abstinence.

Sex Is Not the Problem

What a good title! Sex isn't the problem, lust is -- and that problem is easily compounded when hormones are raging out of control in a teenage body. This is a religious-based book which avoids becoming too graphic about certain topics but which also talks straight to teens. Some parents prefer this book to the last book on this list (Every Man's Battle) because this one isn't as descriptive.

Every Young Womans Battle

This is a Christian-based guide written for teenage girls. Its helps them deal with individual experiences with boys (sexual requests and propositions, for example) and references Bible verses to reinforce the beliefs cited. If you're a religious parent and want your daughter to be abstinent, this is a good book for your teen.

Why Im Still a Virgin

This is a collection of true stories written by real teens who have chosen to abstain from having sex. While some of them are religious, this is not the only reason behind their abstinence which makes this a great book for teens from all walks of life who may have varied backgrounds.

Choosing to Wait

Choosing to Wait is a religious-based book written by a female Youth Pastor. Her goal in writing the book is to empower teens to choose abstinence based on an understanding of the "sacredness of sex" in the circle of marriage. This book isn't about scaring your child into abstaining from sex, it's about giving them the opportunity to see the reasoning behind it and allowing them to make the right decision on their own, based on their new understanding.

Every Young Mans Battle

This is the boy's version of the second book on this list. Every Young Mans Battle has been written to help teens and young men overcome the sexual temptations society has plastered all over the place. It is religious-based and provides strategies based on Bible teachings to help teens stay abstinent in the face of so much temptation.

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