There are people who never talk about sex. And there are people who seem to talk about nothing else.
I fit in neither category. So when it came time to think about what to say to my children about sexuality, I wasn't quite sure. I never had that conversation in my own family.
So I polled my friends, and found that most of them never heard about sex from their parents, either. They were no more ready to cover this with their kids than I was.
That's when I began to wonder how many others were like me, kids who came of age in the '70s and '80s, learning everything we could from TV, movies, music, and whatever books we could get our hands on.
And if we weren't prepared to talk with our children ... the Internet would be.
Sex isn't some isolated topic like IRS Form 1040EZ that you can just learn, or teach, in one sitting. Sexuality infuses our whole being. It's part of who we are. I could no more instruct my son about healthy sexuality in a one-lesson format than I could teach him how to be a father, a gentleman, or a good listener. It's something we build into ourselves, the result of years of good decisions and hard learning with a cultivated instinct at the bottom.
Also, as my generation discovered, there are plenty of people waiting to screw us up with bad information. Most of this takes the form of sex-oriented marketing, wishful thinking by liberation fantasists, or (sadly) damaged people looking to validate themselves by pulling others off-base.
I looked around for someone like me who's sorted things out in a book, and found very few. So I took some advice I saw somewhere which said, if you can't find the book you want, write it yourself.
I did that with "Sex: What Your Parents Didn't Tell You." Even while test-marketing that book, I started hearing from people that it would make a good presentation. I'm a fearless public speaker, so I've started booking live talks, taking questions and listening to real-world experiences from mothers and fathers, parents-to-be, even grandparents.
Everybody wants the right answers. To summarize them, I adopted the term "orthosexuality," which appears throughout the book. It describes the sexuality we were made for, without all the baggage, issues, and confusion heaped onto us by family, peers, culture, and self.
I don't claim to be the foremost authority on sex. I'm a journalist. I go looking for truths, then bring them to you. In this first book, I've found experts who really do care about you and me, and want us to enjoy the thrilling, fulfilling sexuality we were made for. Most of them have been ignored by the media in favor of "stars" who tell us what they think we want to hear. Or, they've been drowned out by quick-fix, make-a-buck authors selling us the same old bad advice for decades. So I've highlighted them for you, in hopes that you will enjoy grasping and unraveling their contributions for the benefit of yourself, and your own.
Michael Rittenhouse is my pen name. I'm a University of Texas graduate with a professional background in communications and a love of storytelling.
A while back, my wife and I sold our house and moved our family into an RV. We travel the country with our three home-schooled children, learning all we can from real life and the Great Books.