What About Sex?
Every parent knows they should have “the talk” with their kids. Some parents make a formal occasion out of it and others incorporate it into everyday life; discussing questions as they arise. I know there are those who are uncomfortable with using the proper, medical terminology for body parts, and those who would use nothing else. Thinking back on the night my mom talked with me about sex, the one word I recall is, “awkward.”
What she told me came from an entirely different generational perspective than what I had already heard from others, and seen in movies and television. Because she was older, she came from the viewpoint that sex is more for the man’s enjoyment and women just bear it. My mom meant well, but the discussion was very uncomfortable.
Mechanics of Sex
I did not want to be there listening to my mom explain the mechanics of sex. I was terrified she would ask me questions or tell me details I did not want to know. As she explained things to me, my mind was creating the pictures; and I confess I left that conversation more confused than when it began. It was certainly not what I had heard from other people about the subject, or what I had read in any romance books I got from the library! I could not wait for it to be over.
Love and Relationships
I learned about love and relationships more from watching my parents interact with each other. They loved each other deeply and my dad treated my mom like a queen right up to the day she died. He was the head of the home, but my mom was no shrinking violet! She spoke her mind and he listened, and then they made decisions together.
When it came to talking to our kids about intimate issues, we waited for teachable moments to begin; when they started noticing things and asking questions. Teachable moments occurred when one of the boys told us about someone in his life. A friend at work or at football practice, or someone they knew from the internet. We seized whatever moments God provided. Other teachable moments took place when they told us about a girl they knew who revealed she was pregnant, or someone who decided they were homosexual. Any time these situations arose, we took the time to ask what the boy’s thoughts were on the matter, and then in conversation included what God’s Word had to say on that subject.
We found those moments made for much better communication than a specific sit-down discussion.
If you are looking for Bible passages to help you as you prepare spiritually to talk to your kids about sexuality I would suggest working through Ephesians 5:1-12 with them. The whole passage is a great motivator for dealing with the area of sexual discussions with a teen. We used this passage because it helped us encourage our children to live their faith in every circumstance. It enabled us to stress that it is important to redeem each minute of the day for Jesus Christ and to remember that evil influences are so prevalent in the world and will want to lure them away. We showed our boys that sexual sin is idolatry, and idolatry does not glorify God. Sexual sin characterizes the unbeliever’s life and it should not characterize theirs as Christians.
Even common talk found among teens is addressed in this passage. So many teens use foul terminology to refer to actions God intended to be beautiful. Our encouragement to our kids was to be willing to stand alone against their peers and not participate in sexually degrading conversations or jokes.
Parents Can Share Effectively
Some parents think they are not qualified to share biblical truth about purity with their kids because they were not pure when they married. If you were not a virgin when you married, be honest to the degree they need to know your history. In my own case, while we didn’t go into detail, we did tell our boys that we were not Christians before marriage, and we did not understand what God said about purity when we were teenagers. Because I have all sons, I could present the perspective of what it was like to be a girl who was “used,” and someone who believed the lies of the culture. I could tell them how hard it was to overcome the wrong thoughts and behaviors resulting from fornication. If anything, I think my circumstances gave me a platform to share the truth.
If you are struggling with feeling “qualified” to talk with your kids about sexual purity, I would suggest first setting time aside to study about who you are in Christ, and then develop a cross-centered life; keeping in view the grace and mercy of God toward those who belong to Him. I would also reflect on the Sovereignty of God and believe that Romans 8:28, 29 would be important. While God never condones sexual sin, even as an unbeliever, it is nonetheless a part of who He adopted when He takes us as His own.
There is no doubt that we are facing a steep uphill climb in helping our kids remain pure and understand sexuality biblically; we need every advantage we can get! Read good books on sex for yourself, read the books that are written for teens and when you are satisfied that they communicate the truth you want them to know, share them with your kids.
A few recommended resources: How to Talk to Your Kids About Sex– William P. Smith; Lies Young Women Believe– Nancy Leigh DeMoss & Dannah Gresh; The Purity Principle– Randy Alcorn; Sex and the Single Girl– Ellen Dykas; Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is– Joshua Harris; Teens and Sex– Paul Tripp; Time for the Talk– Steve Zollos; Before I Was Born (ages 5-8), The Story of Me (ages 3-5), What’s the Big Deal? (ages 8-11).