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Sex + Faith: Talking with Your Child from Birth to Adolescence

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Talking with your child about sex can be scary! Sex + Faith helps parents incorporate their faith values with sexual information so they can answer questions, discuss sexuality at each stage of childhood, and show support of sexual differences. Section one explains how faith relates to sexuality and the essential role parents play in forming healthy, faithful, sexual children . The second section designates a chapter for four age groupings of children from infancy through high school. Each chapter explains the biological and developmental issues of the age, answers questions children tend to have, provides relevant Biblical and faith stories helpful to discuss with children of that age, and lists five to ten key educational issues for parents to keep in mind. Shaded text boxes are interspersed throughout the book with real life, practical questions that parents and children ask. Expertly written by Kate Ott, Sex + Faith is an easy to use reference guide for parents of kids of all ages.

180 pages, Paperback

First published September 2, 2013

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Kate M. Ott

3 books2 followers

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Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews
Profile Image for Brynna.
32 reviews1 follower
November 6, 2013
Reviewed this book through NetGalley...what parent wouldn't want more preparation for indepth conversations that I know are coming? However, I was quite disappointed, as the "Biblical basis" of the book is very liberal, and many parts were NOT Biblical in my opinion. Take for example how the author repeatedly refers to the other person in a sexual relationship as "a partner," leaving that role open to interpretation, and being okay with gay/lesbian relationships and premarital sex. While I know others may not agree, our family believes that sex is a sacred gift from God meant to be shared between one man and one woman inside of marriage. The author seems to think very differently, though. I finished the book for the sake of the review (and out of hopes that I was missing something!!!), but would not recommend this one for those with beliefs similar to my own.
Profile Image for Lis K.
454 reviews
September 6, 2016
When I read the description of this book, I was excited to read it--- a book to help Christian parents to speak to their children about sex. The book is separated into two parts. Part I provides background information for parents: common myths about sexuality education and information, the parent's role in raising children, connection between faith and sexuality, what sexuality education is (including defintions of sexual/gender identity terms), what has changed since parents were kids, and steps to answering children's questions. Part II divides information into ages/stages: birth to kindergarteners (0-5), elementary school years (6-10), middle school years (11-13), and high school years (14-18). Each age range chapter describes stages of physical, faith, and relationship development, a section on connecting faith and sexuality education, and a summary of each chapter's main message. The last section includes a list of resources for further help and information.
Part II is where I ran into problems. If I had known the author's religious beliefs, I would not have requested to read this book. Initially, I began to list all the points I disagreed with until it became too numerous to be helpful. This book is really for someone with liberal religious beliefs or from the mainline Protestant denomination. For readers who identify with conservative or evangelical Christian beliefs, you would disagree with the author on such topics as gay/lesbian relationships, the authority of the Bible, premarital sex, and even pornography (she states "not all sexual material is pornography.Tweens and teens can understand the difference between mutual erotic material and violent/sexist pornography"). I believe Christian parents should talk to their children about sex, shouldn't make children feel shameful about sexual feelings, should talk about contraception, and should talk about the physical, spiritual, and emotional consequences of being in a sexual relationship. But I believe all that should be grounded within the Biblical framework of God's purpose and design for sex. That should be a basic and ongoing discussion for children/tweens/teens/young adults/adults. For me, I didn't feel the author provided that foundation so I will be looking for other books on this topic. Like I stated previously, readers with liberal/mainline Protestant beliefs would enjoy this book. It will be helpful to use as a reference to talk to your children about sex from within your own religious framework.
* I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kathryn.
1,199 reviews48 followers
December 4, 2013
I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review!

I was very interested in reading this book or at least the section on birth to kindergarten , since my son is currently 4 and should be getting ready to ask all these questions soon. Artificial reproduction is discussed to some degree, but adoption is not . It is alluded to, as in some people help raise children by adoption, but it is made to sound as if the adoptive parent is only helping to raise the adopted child and that the child is not necessarily a permanent family member. Adoption is not second best! Although my son is only 4, I did skim read about the other age groups and will refer to the book through my son's childhood and adolescence to read in further detail the helpful advice given.

Although this book is titled Sex and Faith: Talking to Your Child from Birth to Adolescence. The advice given about talking about issues relating to sexuality can be informative for non-Christians and the parts on faith that may not interest non-Christians can be skimmed and skipped, if need be. Many Christians mat find this to liberal for them depending on their beliefs about homosexuality, contraception, etc., but it has been shown that children who are well-informed about sex and sexual issues are better able to make decisions that fit with their belief system, as well as be able to inform others if sexual abuse, etc. has occurred.
197 reviews1 follower
October 12, 2018
A fantastic resource for parents. The first part helps parents find their footing in how to approach discussing sexuality with their kids. Chapter titles include "Five Common Myths," "The Parent's Role," and "What's Changed Since I was a Kid?" The second part takes four separate age groups and discusses the physical development, relational development, and faith development that is occurring at that age, and draws connections between those areas (an approach I really appreciate).
31 reviews
January 2, 2020
Excellent book. First part gives a good overview of ethics and (Christian) faith. The second half breaks down lessons and applications by age group, incorporating child development research. Good language for discussion at home and with folks at church.
Profile Image for Yonasan  Aryeh.
247 reviews1 follower
January 11, 2015
Christians have it hard when it comes to talking about sex. Frankly, the stork story just isn’t cutting it anymore. The sex talk usually comes up about the time that the child stops believing in Santa, and well…back then children may have been more easily deceived, but with the advances in technology and Google being just a slogan away…the stork is easily checked on Snopes before a parent can finish.

So, how to address it then? After all, my two year old is already well-versed on navigating an iPod to find his favorite movie or Angry Birds game. My five year old believes he already know what sex is. Yikes! How do I answer any questions that may arise? Better yet, how can I educate them to give them the right answer before they get it from television, movies, or a friend at school? That is where this book comes in handy…

Ott introduces her book in parts. The first part is the big picture of it all. Addressing common myths, the parent’s role, the faith connection, what sexuality education is, and what has changed since being a kid are covered here. It even helps lead in to part two, the ages and stages section. In this part, the answers and scenarios are broken down by age group, being 0-5 (both my boys at the time of this review), 6-10, 11-13, and 14-18. Thus, this two-testament book helps prepare a parent for the conversation and then guides them through it. I have to admit, this is much more reassuring than the Kia commercial where babies come from a special planet…

This book is written with the intent on being a reference book for times to come. Parents are encouraged to read and study through it, being faced with “mini quizzes” and “highlights” to remember. Very much like an academic textbook, the book surveys the different issues at each age group, not only with approach and questions, but also with development challenges the child will be facing. The book is designed to not be a one time read, but rather stay on the shelf and used frequently during the course of a child’s maturation.

In review of this book, I feel that it is a necessary read for faith-based parents (and non-faith parents as well), particularly because sexuality is such an awkward topic in the church but needs to be addressed. As Ott points out, children are given too little information too late in life, and that needs to be corrected.

Disclosure: I was contracted to write an honest review in exchange for a reviewer copy of the product. The opinions stated in this review are solely my own.
Profile Image for Robynn.
72 reviews
December 4, 2013
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

I wish I could give this book 10 stars! It's not a sex ed book. So if you don't know what a vulva or an epididymis is you'll need to learn your basics somewhere else. What this book does do is provide a guide, and oftentimes a script, for what every age group should know and how to explain "sex" to them along the way. It's never going to be one conversation, it's going to be many. But how you explain genitals and pleasure at age 5 is VASTLY different than the explanation at 15. Yes the author assumes that most individuals, in church and out of church, will engage in sexual intercourse before they get married, as statistics and testimony show that to be true. However, this book is for parents so they can stress whatever parts of the book and whatever parts of their religion they choose to do so. Equally, this is an awesome book for parents who are practicing no religion. They can ignore the faith based ideas and utilize the facts provided in the book to help with one of the most difficult topics most parents will ever deal with throughout their parenting lives.

Throughout the book Kate Ott shows how sex is natural, and if you believe so, a wonderful creation by God that shouldn't ever be treated in a shameful way, but should be respected and treated as a highly important decision made only after all the necessary information is learned about the activity and the individuals engaging in the activity. She acknowledges young women as sexual beings and young men as capable and wanting loving relationships (not just sex).

This book should be read alongside "What to Expect When You're Expecting" because the tough questions like, "Where do babies come from?" are going to be asked a lot sooner than most parents realize and are prepared for.

It's truly a wonderful book that every parent will learn something from and most parents will be thanking God for.
Profile Image for Alex McGilvery.
Author 41 books32 followers
December 1, 2013
Sex + Faith is a very well written book that talks about the intersection of sex and faith and their development. In each chapter Kate provides an outline of where children or teens of a particular age will be in their physical, sexual, relational and spiritual growth. The text in interspersed with books dealing with very real questions that children may ask about sex and faith.

I found the book very easy to read. Kate is clear about the difference between sexuality and the act of sex itself. She does not fall into the trap of trying to limit information to “protect children”. She points out that the more information young people have about sex, the more likely they are to make responsible decisions about when and what kind of sexual activity to engage in.

Kate’s approach is not primarily directed to either conservative or liberal values or faith. Instead she encourages open and caring dialogue between parent and child about sex, faith and the parent’s own chosen set of moral codes. It is up to the parent to portray their faith and the way that they live that faith to their children as they also model healthy relationship and sexual behaviour.

The only time Kate steps away from the idea that the parents set the tone is in dealing with the misconception that giving information is the same as giving permission. She states that more information will mean more informed decisions and fewer risks. She also shows that simple abstinence programs are ineffective. It is not enough to tell teens Don’t do IT, because they will engage in behaviours that legalistically aren’t sexual intercourse, but carry their own risks that teens should be aware of.

This is a very good book that should be on the shelves of church libraries everywhere and read by parents who wish to bring their faith and the faith of their children into harmony with their whole lives.
Profile Image for Sandy Richardson.
40 reviews4 followers
July 31, 2014
I was received this book from Goodreads in return for an honest review.

I eagerly anticipated reading this book, I was very interested in a book that addressed sexuality from a Christian background with the Bible as the essential resource. I was very disappointed in this book as the faith portion of the book was not based on Biblical teachings. I hoped this book would portray sexuality in the beautiful God given manner as described in the Bible. Instead this book portrays gay/lesbian sex as an accepted norm. This is not what is written in the Bible in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

The references to adopted children are inaccurate also, stating the adoptive parents help raise the adopted child, when in fact they are the family and parents of the adopted child. Adoption is a beautiful, selfless process and one that God also embraces, we as Christians are adopted into God's family through His son Jesus. Ephesians 1:5

I do not recommend this book to anyone desiring a Bible based resource on sex and faith.
Profile Image for Melissa.
103 reviews7 followers
November 5, 2013
Awesome book! It addresses how children of different ages require different methods and standpoints when talking about sex. I love that God and His will are brought into the equation and focused on in the explanations. There are some things that aren't hit on as hard, such as the importance of marriage before having children or sex, but these are things that my husband and I can adapt to the concepts of the book. It's a great combination of development and faith, addressing both. There are many practical tips for parent's too, not just Q&A's, as well as rationals for the methods and advice. Quizzes at the beginning of each chapter gauge where you are as a parent/caregiver as far as the content goes. I think this is a great tool!
94 reviews1 follower
March 24, 2015
Well written, informative, very helpful data based resource for parents from a faithful perspective. A great resource for both my parenting and my ministry. I only wish it was longer and more in depth. I will unapologetically say that it is Bible based in the sense that it engages with scripture and encourages parents to openly discuss sexuality as a gift from God to be enjoyed. This books Bible basis is not in line with the current trend of using the phrase "Bible based" in a more euphemistic manner to indicate a political or moralistic view, so if that is your purview, you may not find this book to your liking.
Profile Image for Maeba.
2 reviews2 followers
August 9, 2014
If you believe in love and inclusion as part of your Christian values that this is the book for you and your family. It is a wonderful read for anyone interested in exploring the intersection between faith and sexuality and the perfect resource for taking about the two with children or non-believers. DO NOT be discouraged by one-star reviews. This book gives an accurate and thoughtful perspective on how to bring Christianity and sexuality together in a healthy, life-giving way!
Profile Image for Erin.
339 reviews5 followers
October 2, 2013
A refreshing, holistic, practical, and faithful alternative to the myriad, toxic purity-culture tomes. From start to finish, Sex + Faith affirms the good gift of sexuality, makes important distinctions about sensuality and intimacy, and provides realistic Q&A scenarios for kids from toddlers to teens.
Displaying 1 - 14 of 14 reviews

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