Catholic Culture Dedication
Catholic Culture Dedication

Sexual Wisdom: The Right Education for Teens

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Aug 10, 2009 | In Reviews

Richard Wetzel, MD runs a non-profit corporation called Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc. (SEFAB). Through this corporation, he has published a number of outstanding educational resources which provide a thoroughly Catholic view of human sexuality. He has also filled a much-needed gap by publishing a course for parents to use in preparing their adolescent children to face the challenge of sexuality in our culture. The course is sold as a book of some 200 pages, entitled Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents.

Dr. Wetzel’s approach to this difficult topic is firmly rooted in the teachings of the Catholic Church and the need for adolescents to integrate their sexuality into a constantly-growing life in Christ. He addresses human sexuality in the context of John Paul II’s theology of the body. Within this framework, Dr. Wetzel provides clear information about the human body, its sexual functions, healthy sexuality, unhealthy sexuality, sexual morality and sexually-transmitted diseases. He also clearly and concisely identifies and debunks the many myths and misconceptions which dominate our hedonistic culture’s ideas and attitudes about sex.

The one question parents will raise about Dr. Wetzel’s approach is whether he provides too much information, delving into topics which, in some cases, adolescents would perhaps be better off not hearing about quite yet. He is well aware of this dilemma, and addresses it himself. While he provides guidelines as to what parents should cover with their children at various ages, he knows that things can differ from family to family, situation to situation, and person to person. The course for adolescents is sub-titled “A Home-Based, Comprehensive Course for Older Teens” (by which he means teens aged 16 or 17), and Dr. Wetzel recommends that parents read the material first to decide how best to present it to their own children.

Therefore, the material can be presented by the parents in a series of discussions, or as a course with actual tests and grades, or as reading to be done by the child with follow-up by the parents. Dr. Wetzel is no doubt correct in hoping that the material will be presented systematically and in such a way that the parent actually ascertains that the child has mastered it. The temptation to hand the book out and forget about it should be resisted. But there is room for considerable variety in how each parent wishes to communicate both the information and the principles contained in the program.

The topics covered are grouped into eighteen lessons, each of which is expected to take from 45 to 90 minutes. Following is a list not only of all topics but of all the other materials available to parents in the book version of Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents:

  • Introduction for Parents
  • The Biology of Human Sexuality
  • Catholic Church Teaching on Sexuality
  • Sex without Love
  • Premarital Sex
  • The Variety of Sexual Behavior
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
  • Pornography
  • Artificial Contraception and Sterilization
  • Natural Family Planning
  • The I’m OK, You’re OK, We’re All OK Syndrome
  • Abortion
  • Approaches to Infertility
  • The Greatest Misconception about Sexuality
  • Sexual Addiction and Sexual Abuse
  • Homosexuality and Other Sexual Deviations
  • Sexual Codependency
  • Victims of the Sexual Revolution
  • Good Sex
  • Sexual Morality
  • The Four Levels of Happiness
  • More Issues for Teens
  • Entertainment Guidelines
  • Dating Guidelines
  • Media Censorship
  • The Good Dog and the Bad Dog
  • Dr. Wetzel’s Top 10
  • Adolescent Course Examination
  • A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 10-11 Year-Old Boys
  • A Brief Guide for What Fathers Should Discuss with 12-13 Year-Old Boys
  • A brief Guide for What Mothers Should Discuss with Teenage Girls before the First Menstrual Period (usually 12-13 years old)
  • A Very Brief Note about Discussing Homosexuality with 14-Year-Olds
  • Adolescent Course Examination Answers
  • Glossary
  • Index

This program is clear, concise and on target biologically, culturally, philosophically, morally, theologically and spiritually. Parents themselves will be far more confident in their grasp of the critical sexual issues of our time after using this material to prepare to teach their children. For those who need it, considerably more information is also available in Dr. Wetzel’s larger book Sexual Wisdom: A Guide for Parents, Young Adults, Educators and Physicians.

I highly recommend Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents when used as the author advises.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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