Instilling Healthy Sexual Values- Part 2


3.  Confidence in Her Beauty & Body Image

Remember one of the main reasons a woman loses her sexual self-confidence?  Because of how she feels about her body!  And chances are, these feelings don’t just come out of nowhere as adults.  I believe they begin in childhood.  I remember watching an Oprah show one day about how these teenage girls were absolutely obsessing over their bodies, declaring themselves to be so fat and ugly when in fact, there was nothing fat or ugly about them at all.  Where did they get such notions?  Video cameras in their homes revealed that it was their mothers who often complained about their own bodies in the presence of their daughters, so these young women were merely mimicking what they’d been taught to think and feel.  Never bash your shape, size, or outer appearance in the presence of your daughter!  You’d never say to a friend, “You’ve gotten really fat and ugly lately!” so why do we say these things to ourselves, either verbally or silently?  Sure, encourage your daughter toward becoming or remaining healthy, but leave “diets” out of the equation.  Stock the house with lots of healthy food and snacks such that diets are never necessary.  Show her by example what it means to love and respect your body, whether you’re a size 6 or 16.  When you help her feel good about her body now, you’ll set the stage for her to feel good about her body as an adult as well.
4.  Confidence in Her Sexual Boundaries
It’s unfortunate that we have to talk to children at such an early age about things such as sexual abuse, but with approximately one-third of women experiencing sexual abuse in childhood, we can’t deny the urgency.  To avoid this topic simply sets a child up for devastating consequences that could negatively affect her sexual confidence the rest of her life.  Children are often fondled and kissed and forced to do humiliating things to adults or older children who simply have no regard for anything except their own personal jollies.  Your daughter must be aware of her rights to say no to anything and everything another person may try to get her to do – not just with strangers, but with any person at all including teachers, friends, babysitters, neighbors, relatives, etc.  Teach her that no one should be allowed to touch her anywhere that a modest bathing suit would cover, nor should she be required to touch anyone else where a bathing suit would cover.  Also assure her that if someone forces her to do anything like this, she must let you know so that you can protect her in the future. 
Not only must she be taught to avoid becoming the target of inappropriate sexual behavior, but she must also learn to carefully monitor her own sexual desires (yes, girls develop sexual desires too, even your daughter!).  Reading books together such as Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle: Creative Conversations About Sexual and Emotional Integrity (WaterBrook Press, 2005) will give you lots of fodder for those kinds of discussions.  Make sure she’s aware that her sexuality is a blessing, not a curse.  


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Excerpted from The Sexually Confident Wife: Connecting with Your Husband Mind*Body*Heart*Spirit by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2008.  All Rights Reserved. Published by Random House Inc, New York, NY. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.