What I Want My Kids to Know About Sex

My husband settled in for The Talk with my son many months ago. After explaining the um, mechanics of the parts, my son stopped his dad and said, “From now on, can we just refer to everything as Thing One and Thing Two?”

It sort of ruined Dr. Seuss for all of us.

sex

We’ve been talking about sex in our house with our older kids lately.

They are at the age where it’s being mentioned or joked about in some way nearly every day. And my husband and I want to be a part of their sex education. It’s not just public school kids talking…you might be surprised what kids say at church or what my son’s homeschool friend saw on the Internet. Not to mention what’s readily available on just about every TV show and screen in our homes with just a click.

Kids talk about sex.

So, we do, too…much earlier than I thought we would. But I think it’s important to set up God’s standard of purity before they start believing the world’s.

We’ve talked about things that make us blush and giggle and hurry and change the subject. We’ve corrected rumors and dispelled untruths, but most of all, we try and teach the importance of purity.

My husband and I grew up in an era of purity commitments and to put it bluntly: a church environment of shame-based sex education. Your commitment was all fine and good until you broke it and then there was no going back. You were ruined.

This kind of pressure to be pure doesn’t really work because it’s in and of itself, not pure. While my husband and I married as virgins, we did so because we chose to be pure in our hearts first. It took some time for us to untangle the guilt and shame wrapped up in our view of sex.

We lived in the time of “don’t confess you’re struggling with impure thoughts because you’ll be condemned and certainly don’t admit to giving into them or you’ll be damned.” We want to teach our children that they will in fact probably struggle with impure thoughts and possibly act on them at some point because they are human. And while this isn’t ideal or what we want for them, it doesn’t void or negate their purity commitment. It just gives them reason to talk to God about their hearts and ask for his help again.

I desperately want my kids to know this about sex:

1. They can talk to Mom and Dad about anything. I don’t want to hush them or tell them it’s inappropriate. The older they get, the less they talk, so I want to keep the lines open. I want to keep my kids talking, even if the first ten minutes aren’t important. If they hear a word they have a question about or someone sexts them a picture once they have phones (it happens to even good kids) or applies pressure in the cyber world or whatever…I want to be the one (or their Dad) they come to, not peers.

2. There is grace in this life. We all struggle. We all need to forgive and be forgiven. I want my children to know that if or when they make a mistake, their life isn’t over. They aren’t ruined for life. There are consequences for actions, especially sexual promiscuity. But God often uses our mess-ups to draw us closer to Him. My life is full of broken pieces he’s mended. And  I’m stronger because of them. The last thing I want my teenager to believe about themselves is that they are damaged goods. God is about redemption and I want my children to know we serve a God who can redeem anything. Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation in Christ Jesus.”

3. God’s way protects and provides for you. I want my kids to know we don’t just make up rules because we’re mean. We are teaching our kids that if we follow God’s standard of holiness, it protects them physically, spiritually and emotionally. It also provides for them in the future without all the cumbersome baggage and guilt that comes from doing too much too soon.

We are still figuring out what to teach our kids. With heavy media influence and availability (and the apps!), the dangers change nearly daily. But instead of creating a giant list of Do’s and Do not’s, we’re focusing on the heart.

It’s really where purity begins and ends.

Resources (Amazon Affiliate Links):

What’s the Big Deal?: Why God Cares About Sex (God’s Design for Sex)

Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is): Sexual Purity in a Lust-Saturated World

Preparing Your Daughter for Every Woman’s Battle

Preparing Your Son for Every Man’s Battle

Passport to purity


Comments

  1. 1

    says

    Love this. We too talk to our kids about this subject openly and honestly. I don’t want them learning about it from kids at school or other people who pervert something God intended to be special and sacred. I have been doing some posts over on my blog lately about Teens and Dating – Our kids are not allowed to at this point but it amazes me at the people that think its ok. Great Post.

  2. 2

    says

    What a great post! My husband and I faced a lot of questions and backlash when we decided to wait until marriage. It is now one of my conversation topics with young men and women who are not sure if that’s still an important thing to do. These books are great resources,thank you!

  3. 3

    says

    Talk with your children and keep on talking…keep that dialogue open. I talked openly and honestly with my daughter and she knew purity was God’s will for her life, but she succumbed to temptation. Now 24, she realizes that she is not “damaged goods’ (God can redeem any situation) and now she works with a life group of teenage girls at our church and she can tell them ( from experience ) why God has their very best interest in mind when He tells you to wait. Praying for your children that they will listen you to and God and not the world!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  4. 4

    valerie says

    I know what you mean about shame-based sex education. The first time I kissed a boy (about grade 6), I lay awake that night convinced that if I died right then, I was going to hell. I’m sure my parents didn’t intend to teach me that – I don’t recall huge lectures or anything, but it was what I picked up/internalized. It’s a struggle to figure out what to say to the kids – I want to teach the purity but not the guilt trip!

  5. 5

    says

    I love this post. I can’t even remember how I found your blog, but I liked it on fb and I find myself reading lots of your posts. Thanks for always sharing so openly and honestly. I have 3 boys and my oldest is 9 and we have already started to lay the groundwork for all the sex talks that will be coming our way. I feel like the world is coming like a freight train and there is nothing I can do to stop it. As a Christian parent raising children in this crazy world, I am always asking myself how I can best equip my kids to navigate the pressures that lie ahead….and for me it always comes back to the “heart” just like you said. My biggest prayer for my boys….is their own personal (not mine, or a pastors or a friend’s) authentic loving relationship with Jesus. God has to be real in their life—not just because we tell them He is. That HEART change—changes the world….and our actions. :)

  6. 6

    says

    Totally! I think many of us grew up that way.
    I read an article about a girl who was kidnapped and why she didn’t run away when given the opportunity. Her response was that she didn’t think anyone would ever want her back because of having been raped. She was no longer valuable.

    That is NOT the impression I want my kids to have.

  7. 7

    Angie B says

    This is a good reminder to emphasize grace so as not to give my girls a complex if they do make a mistake. We are talking frequently about how interconnected our spirit, our emotions and our bodies are. We want our children to understand that intimate connection affects all 3 areas. I hate to even think about them needing the grace, but you are right that we need them to know that now, not just as something to fall back on if they aren’t perfect. (which I wasn’t, and i want them so badly to not make their mother’s mistakes)

  8. 8

    says

    Talking about sex or any relationship for that matter has to be an open communication. I grew up learning, “it was wrong”, but never to know why it was wrong (to have sex before marriage). We have hopes for our children’s relationships, but know grace is going to have it’s place as well.

    Our motto: If you don’t want to see it on the front page of the newspaper in the morning (or gone viral on the internet), or if you wouldn’t do it (whatever it may be) in front of your parents, then you don’t need to be doing it at all.

    Thanks for a great post.

  9. 9

    Jenny says

    We recently began discussing this topic with our 10 and 11 year old kids, since they were coming home with questions about things they were hearing at their elementary school. Kids start talking about sex much earlier than most people realize.
    One of the things we want to teach our kids is that sex is a wonderful thing – but within the bonds of marriage. It doesn’t mean if we sin there is no forgiveness but we don’t want them thinking sex is a dirty word.

  10. 10

    says

    A great understanding of a heavy topic. Yes, we grew up in that era of purity rings and so on, but how many stayed true to it? And then as you pointed out, felt like, “Well, I screwed up. Guess there’s no turning back as I am on the outs now.” This is a much better way to discuss the reality of it, not just the ideal.

  11. 11

    says

    So well said! Thank you for this. My husband was a youth pastor for years and it always surprised me when kids from great families expressed that they were uncomfortable talking with their parents about these things. We determined before we had children that we would always seek to keep lines of communication open- which means talking openly and honestly with them and showing grace! This is so important and I am thankful that you tackled the issue!!!

  12. 12

    Cara says

    This is great! I really want to be this kind of parent when my daughter is older. I want to try to find a good balance between the “used piece of gum” teaching and the “it doesn’t matter, do what you want” teaching. Obviously intimacy with another person matters a lot! But I never want my daughter to feel like she’s worthless if she does mess up. You might listen to this sermon by Kent Dobson on the deadly sin of lust. It really put things into perspective for me about WHY lust is a sin. It’s not just because God says so, but because we aren’t respecting and loving other people when we lust. http://marshill.org/teaching/2013/02/17/seven-deadly-sins-lust/

  13. 13

    Jessica says

    This subject has been on my heart lately bc my oldest, 8, has been asking about her changing body(yikes!) and because our society is so sex crazed, as much as we try to shelter and protect them from it, they WILL be faced w information or words that will inevitably turn into questions and I want them to feel comfortable enough to ask us and no one else. I LOVE this post and will be printing it out for handy reference! I love how you word it and will likely use those same words some day w our kids. So thank you for sharing your words, and your heart

  14. 16

    says

    Awesome! As a mom and mentor to teens, I totally support your approach and pray that your influence changes many parent-tween relationships!

  15. 17

    says

    God’s Grace is often forgotten, especially when it comes to sex and the church. This is something that I want to be able to talk to our kids more openly about in the future. Grace and Sex. Thank you so much for a great article.

  16. 18

    says

    I think it is especially important in blended families to talk out how to handle the topic of sex before there’s a problem. I’ve seen first-hand how an environment of secrecy and shame around the topic of sex can quickly isolate children from all of their parents and care-givers. It’s important to talk to God and talk to your spouse or a trusted friend about sex before you talk to your kids – sometimes what we have in our minds isn’t what comes out of our mouths when our kids are listening. It’s good to practice a little first. :)

  17. 19

    says

    This is what we’re trying to do with our kids, too. It’s great to hear all the parents chiming in here — gives me hope that somewhere, my kids future spouses might be hearing the same kinds of things we’re telling them . . .

  18. 20

    Lily says

    I just want to say, though I do disagree with you on some things in this post, I really want to praise you for speaking against shame based purity.

    I think there is a giant problem when young girls have been forced into horrific situations and deemed ‘impure’ because of it. Or even if a woman wants to be forgiven for her past and live pure again.The fact so many people are willing to shame and look upon people as dirty and used is a huge and disgusting problem. Thank you for discussing it.

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  20. 148

    says

    Nice post. I learn something new and challenging on sites
    I stumbleupon every day. It’s always helpful to read content from other writers and practice something from other sites.

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