by Richard Wetzel, M.D.
Huntington Beach, CA: Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, 2009
Reviewed by Patrice Fagnant-MacArthur
Note: This review contains adult material.
“Sexual Wisdom for Catholic Adolescents” was written to fill a need in the realm of Catholic Sex Education. It is designed for older adolescents and covers a wide range of topics relating to sexuality. It is intended to be used in the home, either with parent and child together or having the child read it on their own.
Dr. Wetzel begins with a good introduction to the biology of human sexuality. He then moves on to discuss sex without love, premarital sex, sexually transmitted diseases, pornography, artificial contraception and sterilization, natural family planning, infertility, and sexual deviations. He handles these topics in a straightforward, pull-no-punches manner. There are many things that adults will learn from reading this book.
One particularly insightful chapter is on “Good Sex.” In it, Dr. Wetzel divides sexual activity into five levels with Level 1 being “Perfect Sex: God’s ideal toward which we strive but can never achieve.” Level 7 is “Most severe sexual problems.” It is a useful chart because it clearly delineates different sexual behaviors. One can find where one is on the chart and know what he or she needs to work on to move closer to Level 2, the level which is as high level as we can achieve. It was comforting to know that everyone does struggle with sexual sin at some point. No one is perfect in this area.
One concern is that this book is recommended for older adolescents. Dr. Wetzel acknowledges that some will want to discuss topics with their children at a younger age. Many of these topics are only appropriate for those approaching adulthood. One would certainly not recommend going into detail with young children about the variety of sexual behavior or sexual codependency. However, children in today’s world are exposed to sex and are often offered sex at much younger ages. It is sad but true. Waiting until a child is sixteen to inform them about sex can be much too late. Eleven and twelve year olds are engaging in sexual activity. They need to be informed about the moral issues and physical concerns relating to this and they need to hear it from their parents. While one would not want to allow their eleven year old to read this book, it can offer a good starting point for parents to read and then choose what to discuss.
Dr. Richard Wetzel and the Sex Education for Advanced Beginners, Inc., the publishers of this book, are offering to supply as many boxes of these books that are needed for distribution at any high school, diocese, parish or other organization that will distribute these books to 11th graders at the cost of $2/book. Details are available at www.sexual-wisdom.com.