A lot of parents are hesitant to speak openly with their children about sex. It’s never a comfortable conversation to have, leading both teenagers and their parents to feel awkward. Sadly, this is the reason many parents tend to avoid the subject altogether, and intervene only when they suspect a problem. However, a habit of honest discussion, along with proper education on the subject are both key to healthy attitudes and habits.
If you have a teenage son, you might be concerned about their ability to develop normal sexual behaviors and beliefs. You want him to form relationships that are healthy and productive, and avoid deviant behaviors – such as aggression – that could cause him trouble and heartache in the future.
What is Sexual Deviance?
The term “sexual deviance” usually refers to sexual or sex-related practices or fantasies that most would consider unhealthy, damaging, or abnormal. Every parent has different feelings on what they would consider okay or not okay. Your opinion can and should be based on your own family values. However, when it comes to teenage boys and teens as a whole, certain types of sexual deviance are harmful because they lead to misconceptions or unhealthy attitudes toward sex and relationships.
As boys age into adolescence, their interest in sex will naturally increase. Remember that this is a normal and healthy part of growing up. As they mature, however, it’s vital that they learn to recognize which behaviors and boundaries are appropriate or inappropriate. As a parent, you can play a pivotal role in helping your son avoid sexual deviant or destructive behaviors. Sexually deviant behaviors sometimes found in teens may include:
Inappropriate contact with others
Sexual harassment or bullying
Hardcore pornography use
If your son exhibits behaviors that concern you as potential sexual deviance, it’s important for parents to take action. With early intervention and guidance, problematic sexual behaviors and attitudes can be corrected before severe damage is done. Left unaddressed, teenage sexual deviancy can quickly develop into sexually abusive, illegal, or harmful behaviors.
How You Can Help
If you have concerns about your teenage son and sexual deviance, there are many treatment and prevention options available to you. Depending on your situation, those options may include one or more of the following:
Parenting Techniques Ground rules, honest dialogue, and education are all important when it comes to monitoring and keeping sexual behaviors within allowable norms. Your family values and expectations as a parent should be clearly taught and communicated. Encouraging questions and discussion about sexual feelings and behaviors can help your son feel more comfortable coming to you with concerns of his own.
Individual, Group, or Family Therapy With the help of a trained social worker or psychiatrist, teens can learn to control urges or other conditions that lead to deviant behavior. Early intervention is key.
Education Teens usually learn about sexual behaviors in health classes at school. Sexual deviancy and the risks associated with it may be covered, but it’s important for parents to reinforce that education and provide extra guidance if necessary.
In-patient or Resident Therapy In the vast majority of cases, your concerns about your son’s potential for sexual deviancy can be corrected without this intense kind of help. However, if his behavior has escalated to a destructive or dangerous point, there are boarding schools or other in-patient options available. Many of them have staff that specialize in helping teen boys overcome or control sexual deviant behavior through education, therapy, and behavior modification techniques.
Fostering Healthy Attitudes
To help their teens develop healthy sexual attitudes, parents should never associate fear, shame, or guilt with normal sexual behavior. When your son exhibits normal sexual behaviors or strong interest in the opposite sex, any concerns you have should be expressed in ways that guard them against those feelings. Through positive parental examples and open discussion, teen boys learn about the dangers of risky sexual behavior and sexual deviance. With your help, they can develop attitudes and behaviors that foster healthy, fulfilling relationships.
While teen sexual deviance is of grave concern to any parent, it’s important to note that curiosity and exploration is a normal part of growing up. And if you do become concerned, early intervention is an excellent indicator of your son’s ability to correct his behavior and attitude toward sex before it gets out of hand. As with any other issue, it’s important for parents to be well informed and willing to reach out for qualified help and education.