Today I’m delighted to welcome back Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife. We’re talking about how to teach our kids about their sexuality and the law of chastity without inviting shame. Dr. Finlayson-Fife touches on topics such as masturbation and pornography and helps us understand now to navigate these topics with children from babies through teenaged and young adult years. You won’t want to miss this episode.

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PS – After publishing this episode we got a lot of questions from people wanting clarification about whether or not some viewing of pornography (or masturbation) is not wrong given that the LDS church has typically taken a position of abstaining from such activities rather than a position of moderation. Here is her response:

“I don’t believe that viewing pornography is valuable to development, only that being too heavy-handed or shaming of it (in a culture where sexual imagery is pervasive) as being counter-productive and creating more sexual obsessiveness in a developing adolescent (i.e. the more anxiety kids have about seeing pornographic imagery, the more likely they are to find it arousing, be drawn to it, and seek it out).  We tend to eroticize the forbidden.  It is more valuable to be straight forward with kids about a problematic industry of porn, while demonstrating a celebration and comfort with the human body and with committed, loving sexuality.

With masturbation, I think we can teach an ethic of moderation and self-control without shaming.  The church has taken the language of masturbation out of the “For The Strength of Youth” handbook.  I think that is because too much focus and anxiety around not ever masturbating again backfires and creates more trouble than it solves.  I think the more valuable focus should be on what you are trying to create in your life (someone capable of sexual commitment and intimacy with a spouse), exercising self control along with self-compassion toward that end.”