There may not be a more intimidating topic for parents to bring up with their kids than sex. I don’t know of any parent who looks forward to having this talk with their children.
However, it may be one of your most important talks of parenting life! Truth be told, as it is with most things in parenting, the “sex” talk is not a single talk. It’s an ongoing dialogue or spoken communication, modeled behavior and home culture. Nevertheless, there will be a few moments when a parent must have a designated time to have this “talk” with their child.
THE FIRST TALK
My son was eight years old when we first had the talk. We went on a camping trip. He really wanted a pocketknife. So I bought him a sweet red Swiss Army knife, we loaded up the Land Rover and headed to the Texas Hill Country for a camping and canoeing trip down the Colorado River. The first night I taught him how to use a knife. I taught him how to cut, shave, and pass a knife. We talked about how the knife is not a toy it is a tool. It is fun but it is to be used responsibly. Just like…. Well you know.
That was it. We walked through the mechanics of how boys and girls are different. And how babies are made because of boy and girls. We talked about the seed of a boy and the egg of a girl. We didn’t talk about how the seed gets get in the girl just the basic “plumbing” of the different genders. He hated it.
Why eight? We wanted to beat his peers to the punch. We didn’t want him to learn about sexuality from anyone else except us. We didn’t want to have to “unteach” him something.
My wife gave the same talk to our daughter around the same age. They went to a Broadway Play got a really nice hotel room, ordered room service and talked about the basics.
Now, along the way, while watching a movie, or listening to a song, we leverage these moments to teach them about what is sexually appropriate.
How woman are to dress.
How men are to act.
Appropriate roles for genders.
We are gentle.
We are general.
But we are planting seeds and we are already seeing the fruit and we like what we see.
THE NEXT BIG TALK
The next big talk is coming for us and may already be here for you. About the time your child hits puberty, around 13 years old, your kids will need another devoted talk about sex. This will be beyond mechanics. This should include at some very general level, the pleasure that is associated with sex as well as the warnings about sex outside of marriage.
As Christian parents you need to root this talk in Biblical doctrine. Paul, in I Corinthians 6:9-20, must give the same “talk” to the Corinthian church because they are acting sexually inappropriate. Here’s some of what he writes.
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! 16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him. 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – I Corinthians 6:15-20
There’s a lot here to teach our teenage children when it comes to God’s design for sexuality.
- Your Body Inhabits God
15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?
When we are have the “talk” with our kids at this age and stage of puberty we need to be sure and remind them of the Gospel and the truth that because they are Christians (if they are) God lives in them, through the Holy Spirit.
It is this fact that makes our bodies Temples. Not because we are healthy. Not because our body is our “own.” Our body is a Temple because God lives in it! What Paul wants us to realize is when we do something sexually inappropriate we drag God into the sin, so to speak. It is important that we teach our kids that their bodies are precious to God.
- The One Flesh Principle
16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.” 17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.
Biblical sexuality is an opportunity to practice the “sacrament” of oneness. A sacrament is a physical practice that reminds us of a spiritual reality.
Communion. When we eat the bread and drink the juice (or wine) we are doing something physical to remind us of a spiritual reality, that the body and blood of Christ was given for our salvation.
Baptism. When we Biblically baptize someone we put them under the water and bring them up again. A physical practice to remind us that we have died to our old selves (going underwater) and rise again a new life in Christ (coming out of the water)
Sex. Sex is a physical practice of oneness that reminds the married couple that they are also one spiritually.
Teaching this concept to our children will be one more stone in the foundation for waiting to have sex until they are married. It is clear, God designed sex for marriage. And only marriage.
- Run From Sexual Sin
18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.
No talk is complete without a talk about sexual temptation and sin. When you’re talking to your children about this teach either gender to be protectors of sexual purity. Here’s what I mean.
Culture tells our young men to mount and bag girls like trophies. A Christian man is to look at women as sisters in Christ. Not as a sexual trophy or conquest. She is a human being who is going to one day grow up and get married. Teach your son he should be the reason that girl grows up to offer her husband a pure body on her wedding night. Teach him to protect, like a knight or warrior, the purity of women.
Culture tells women they are to be attracters. They have to be the most sexy. Reveal the most skin. Teach your daughters modesty. Their goal is not to illicit the sexual imagination of boys. Teach them to protect the thoughts of their brothers in Christ by being modest and pure.
Then teach them to “flee.” Talk to them about accountability. About the dangers of online porn. The importance of confessing sin. The sexual temptations of dating. Promise them you will never get mad at them for being tempted or even failing in this area. Remind them that you are their parent and you are always available to talk about these things and from time to time you’re going to coach them in this area.
Teach your sons to not stare at lustful images on the television by not doing it yourself (men). Talk to them about the wrong messages communicated in a song you just heard or a movie you just watched.
And pray. Pray like crazy. This world is in a hyper-sexual spiritual battle. When you’re done having the “talk” with your child put your hand on their shoulder and pray for them. And keep praying. And coaching.
Thanks for reading,