Sex…it’s been around for a while, and I’m guessing it’s not going away any time soon. (Yes, take a deep breath and lighten up, because we’re talking about sex, and it’s going to be OK. Really. I promise.)
Our sexuality is ingrained within the very fabric of who God made us to be as human beings. God created us with sexual drives and desires, and they are a good thing. So why is the word and topic of ‘sex’ is such a taboo thing in our Christian families and homes?
If you’re a millennial, does this scenario sounds familiar to you? Growing up as a kid, the topic of sex was rarely if ever discussed as a family. In fact, the word sex was never used, but was kind of just the “forbidden” word. You inadvertently grew up with the idea and impression that sex was bad and dirty, and so would you be if you ever did it. The primary words heard surrounding the topic the few times it was mentioned seemed to always be in the negative: “don’t”…“impure”…“sinful”…“inappropriate”…“bad.”
While our parents knew that sex was not a bad thing (because, well, we’re all here, right?) they found it very difficult, almost unnecessary, to paint it in a positive light, maybe for fear of us knowing too much or engaging in it too soon. Fortunately, parents of previous generations were often able to get away with hiding the issue of sex from their children. However, that’s just not the case anymore.
Times have certainly changed due to the sinful nature of man and the saturation of sex in the culture all around us. And as parents we no longer have the convenience of ignoring the topic of sex. Because if we fail to talk to our kids about sex, and their own sexuality, someone else certainly will.
I firmly believe that Christian families should be sex positive; however, many of us who grew up in good Christian homes very likely grew up in a sex negative environment. And maybe not even because that’s what it was purposefully meant to be, but that what it inadvertently became.
And so the question we need to think about is this… In today’s world, is this pattern healthy, and even more importantly, is it biblical? Has the hush, hush nature and negative connotations surrounding the issue of sexuality in the home been beneficial for us personally in the past, or will it be for our children and our families both now and in the future?
Yes, there is a level of innocence we need to protect in our children until the time is right. But there’s also a necessary balance between our level of honesty and naiveness about what our kids know and are exposed to at younger and younger ages than ever before. Because the truth is that even if we don’t talk to them about it, they’re already thinking about it, and they already know more than we think they know.
Here’s a good way to get a feel for what kind of sex environment you may have in your home. Simply ask your kids these questions, and consider their honest responses…
- “Is sex a good thing or a bad thing?”
- “Is sex something okay to talk about in our home?”
- “What does God think about sex?”
Their answers might surprise you, but will help you understand the type of culture you are creating around the issue.
Certainly there is a proper way and an improper way to address this in our homes, but the most important thing is that we are addressing it. And the best place to start is with the Bible.
When God created Adam and Eve, He created them naked, and unashamed (Gen. 1:25). However, we know that after the fall, nakedness and shame began going hand in hand, and because of that we naturally shy away from open ended conversation about the topic. Yet as parents, each of us know that every person (including our own children) has been made by the Creator with these God-given desires and passions that are meant to be good, yet they’re often played off as terribly bad by the way we talk (or, fail to talk) about them.
So with these thoughts in mind, let me share with you a few practical ways to help your home become a sex positive environment.
1) Open conversation is good.
Psalm 32:8 I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go…
God gave parents to children to give them information, direction and proper understanding about life. And let’s face it, sex will probably be a big part of their life, for the rest of their life.
Part of the difficulty of talking to our kids about sex is that we put it off so long until they are at an age that it’s quite awkward to even bring it up. However, when parents are intentional about teaching their children about their sexuality from a younger age, they open a conversation that will last for many years to come, and prepare their children for a lifelong understanding of, and greater success in, this area of their life.
We should be able to discuss with our children God’s plan for sex, how He created it as a good thing that man has often made bad, and how we can use it biblically to honor God. By doing so, this also opens the door in the future for our children to come to us when they have questions rather than sneaking behind our backs to find them elsewhere.
And let’s not be naive. They do and will continue to have questions about sex. So why should we be deceiving ourselves into thinking that they don’t, and allowing someone or something else to be providing those answers?
“How difficult do we make it for our children when God has wired them to think about their own sexuality, and we refuse to allow them a safe place to talk about it?”
I recently heard a statistic that 95 percent of homes are silent or shaming of sex. Whether that’s accurate or not, that ought to make us stop and think about some things in our own home, starting with this… Am I helping our hurting my family by not talking about this topic?…
As for my wife and I, we personally chose to open up the conversation about sex with our children from young ages, and it has proved to be hugely beneficial for both them and for us, allowing us to have multiple conversations over the years about tough topics. But the cool thing is this, because we talked about it early, and let our kids know that there are no off-limit questions, those conversation have rarely ever been awkward, because our children know that we actually want them to talk to us about these things.
Open conversation around the topic of sex is a good thing in the home.
2) Body awareness is good.
Psalm 139:14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Your child’s body is a beautiful and precious gift that God has given them to take care of, and a valuable gift to one day be given to their future spouse.
They need to understand that their body is not a bad thing, it is a God-given thing with great purpose and value. Don’t be afraid to talk with your children about their bodies, and don’t be afraid to refer to the parts of the body for what they are. Our children need to have a good self-esteem of their body and realize that God created them good.
But if all they ever hear about their body and sexuality is spoken and implied in the negative, we have done them a great disservice, and can create a real difficulty when they get married someday and have to mentally flip a switch that everything that used to be bad (their body) is now all of a sudden good.
This terribly complicates things, and there’s definitely a better way. Yes, God has given us rules for how to use and cover our bodies, and our children need to be warned about the dangers and destruction that can come from disregarding God’s plan. However, they equally need to know that this is not because their bodies are bad, but rather, because they are very good, and worth protecting. Our kids need to understand this.
3) Sex is good.
Hebrews 13:4 Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled.
It’s time we help our children understand that because sex is a God-thing, sex is a good thing. It’s something He created, and something beautiful that He loves, and has given to a husband and wife as a gift.
There’s a right way and a wrong way, and a right time and a wrong time, to engage in awakening that part of who God created us to be. But it is our job as parents to help our children safely navigate through those waters.
While we certainly have to use some common sense, let’s not be ashamed to talk about what God was not ashamed to create. Because sex is a gift. And sex is good. Yes, the world has corrupted it in many ways, but that gives us that much more reason as parents to intentionally help our children see God’s perspective of their sexuality. May we never let the world’s perversion of sex scare us from talking with our children about God’s pure and perfect plan for it.
As much as we may try to shelter our kids from the sexualized culture that is all around us, they are going to be exposed to more than we can ever fully control. And whether we like it or not, sex is not going away.
We can either choose to passively allow Hollywood, the culture and our children’s friends to shape their view of sex by our silence, or we can choose to actively and intentionally teach and train them by refusing to remain silent.
Our goal is to one day be able to see them enter into their marriages not only pure, but prepared, because both are important. And ready to help the next generation to have a Godly perspective of sexuality as well.
The choice is up to us…we can stick with a terribly flawed system of a sex negative mentality simply because “that’s just the way it’s always been done,” or we can turn the tide for future generations by creating a sex positive culture in our homes for ourselves, our children and our grandchildren.
What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them. Do you agree or disagree?
Thanks for reading. Here’s a list of helpful articles and other resources our family has used and would recommend to help you explore and discuss this sensitive topic with your kids.
- When should I start talking to my kids about purity, sex and relationships?
- How to raise spiritual kids in a sexual world
- Passport2Purity – A weekend getaway with your preteen – An amazing resource that we have used with our two oldest kids when they were preteens. This resource covers so much and makes it so easy for parents.
- God’s Design for Sex Series – This resource bundle equips you with what you need to start tackling the topic of sex as early as ages 3-5, and all the way into the teenage years. We have used and enjoyed these resources. Every individual parent needs to determine the amount of the content they are comfortable sharing with their kids. (We skipped over some parts.)
If I can be a help to you, or answer any questions, please reach out to me and let me know.
This article originally appeared here.