Orthodoxy in Dialogue Presents…

One of the extremely complicated issues with which Orthodox parents must contend these days is that of heterosexuality. How do we talk to our kids about opposite-sex desires and relationships and how do we do so with the sensitivity, nuance, and frankness that the topic requires? At the request of Dr. David Ford, Professor of Church History at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, I offer this response to Bobby Maddex’s interview on Ancient Faith Ministries with Dr. Philip Mamalakis, an Assistant Professor of Pastoral Care at Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology, about how to talk about marriage, intimacy, and heterosexuality with your children.

Early warning sign of possible heterosexuality.

Study after study has shown the alarming frequency with which the active practice of heterosexuality results in a wide range of emotionally, spiritually, and medically disastrous outcomes. Because every parent-child relationship is unique, we cannot propose a one-size-fits-all way for Orthodox parents to warn their children about the dangers of the straight lifestyle. Yet the following list of heterosexual activities and attendant risks should convince all Orthodox parents to protect their kids from growing up to become actively straight. Loving parents must say whatever it takes to scare or shame their kids away from heterosexuality straight into the back of the closet.

Other studies show that a child’s self-awareness of his or her sexual orientation begins to develop very early, usually before the age of ten and often by the age of five or six. While there is no evidence that parents can talk their kids out of their orientation, and much evidence that such kids will become “fragile teenagers” (as one of my correspondents put it) who take their own life, statistics be damned: an Orthodox parent must do what an Orthodox parent must do. We must persuade our children to struggle with their OSA their whole life long and to embrace the joyful cross of soul-destroying loneliness. This is what our loving, merciful God demands of them.



The following represents, in random order, only a partial list of the dangers of heterosexuality and how it threatens families:

  1. Compulsive masturbation from an early age
  2. Pornography
  3. Drug-fueled sex parties
  4. STDs: HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, chancroid, trichomoniasis, human papillomavirus (HPV) and genital warts, herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, bacterial vaginosis (BV), syphilis, scabies, pubic “crab” lice, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), mucopurulent cervicitis (MPC), molluscum contagiosum, lymphogranuloma venereum (LGV), et al.
  5. Sex addiction
  6. Prostitution
  7. Promiscuity
  8. Unwanted pregnancies
  9. Teen pregnancies
  10. Unwed mothers
  11. Absentee fathers
  12. Abortion
  13. Rape
  14. Parental abuse of children (verbal, physical, emotional, sexual)
  15. Child neglect
  16. Child abandonment
  17. Filial abuse/neglect/abandonment of elderly parents
  18. Childhood poverty, hunger, homelessness
  19. High divorce rate
  20. Premarital and extramarital sex
  21. Incest (father-daughter, mother-son, brother-sister)
  22. Broken homes
  23. Conception/birth of future terrorists, mass murderers, white supremacists, rapists, drug dealers, drug addicts, alcoholics, heterosexuals, welfare recipients, shoplifters, jaywalkers, et al.
  24. BDSM and other fetishes
  25. Birth defects
  26. Stillbirths
  27. Postpartum depression
  28. Guilt complex
  29. Shame
  30. Suicide
  31. Polyamory
  32. Heartbreak
  33. Pedophilia 
  34. Overpopulation
  35. Objectification of women
  36. Sexualization of everything
  37. Wife-swapping
  38. Parentally inflicted lifelong PTSD in children
  39. Incel movement
  40. Excommunication and eternal damnation for unrepentant heterosexuality

Giacomo Sanfilippo is an Orthodox Christian, a PhD student in Theological Studies at Trinity College in the University of Toronto, an alumnus of the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto, and an editor at Orthodoxy in Dialogue. He holds a BA in Sexuality Studies from York University and an MA in Theology from Regis College/St. Michael’s College. Earlier in life he completed the course requirements for the MDiv at St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary. He has five adult sons and two young granddaughters.

Orthodoxy in Dialogue seeks to promote the free exchange of ideas by offering a wide range of perspectives on an unlimited variety of topics. The publication of an article by an editor implies neither the agreement nor disagreement of the other editor.
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