Teens and Sex: 6 Things to Remember When Teaching
One topic I think we should continually address in student ministry is sex. Sex is an amazing gift that the enemy has taken and used for evil. Our students live in a culture that is saturated with sex, and the pressure to engage in sex before marriage is huge. Our culture sees sex as a recreational activity and our students are buying into that lie. Our students need to understand what sex is and how God has designed sex to take place between a man and a woman.
Both our middle and high school ministries did a series on sex and relationships this past month. It was a great series and I believe we communicated God’s truth about sex and relationships well. I hope every student pastor does at least one series a year on the topic of sex. It’s extremely important and our students need it. Here are a few things I believe are important to remember when teaching students about sex.
1. Be bold. Talking to students about sex can be awkward. It’s not only awkward for you, but at times it’s awkward for the students (especially if you’re teaching middle school students). Break through the awkwardness by being bold. Don’t be afraid to use the word “sex” or other words that come up in a conversation about it. Students have heard all the terms about sex and associated words, you’re not going to say anything they probably have not heard.
2. Keep the Gospel central. When teaching students about sex, make sure the Gospel is clear. There are a few reasons this is extremely important. First, you don’t want to teach students that just being a moral person in regards to sex is OK. Many students believe that staying a virgin until marriage is the ultimate Christian teen’s goal. So instead of striving after Jesus they strive to reach the standard of being a virgin. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but the goal is not just to be a virgin. A student can still be a technical virgin, but commit sexual immorality according to the Bible (more on that in a minute). Second, many students in your group will have already lost their virginity or have messed up sexually in some other way. These students need to hear the Gospel! They need to hear that Jesus still loves them and He wants to forgive them. They may feel dirty, used and broken, but God restores and wants to redeem their failure. One last thing, please be careful with the “dirty rose” illustration. Watch this video for more on that from Matt Chandler.
3. Define sex biblically. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people define sex as just intercourse. According to Scripture, sex is more than just intercourse. In Ephesians 5:3 the Greek word for sexual immorality is pornea, which covers all sexual activity outside of marriage. This includes heavy making out, oral sex, friends with benefits and masturbation. Those are things that most students don’t consider sex. So if they do all of those things but stay a virgin, they think they are fine, but that’s a lie! God says sex is any form of sexual activity outside of marriage. Define sex biblically when teaching students about it.
4. Have a time for genders to be both together and separate. Don’t be afraid to teach about sex in a mixed group. In fact, it may be a healthy thing to address sex with a mixed group of students. However, it’s also good to have a time where guys get with guys and girls get with girls to talk in more detail about sex. Have a balance and try to do both.
5. Address current trends. Make sure you relate the topic of sex to current trends in students culture. Help students see that what God says about sex relates to how they use their bodies, social media and other things. Hit things like sexting and Snapchat. Talk about how sex relates to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Take the truth of Scripture and help students apply it to their current culture.
6. Lastly, equip the parents. As good as it is for us to talk about sex with our students, the parents talking about it to them is more important. Encourage parents to have conversations with their student about sex. Help them do this by giving them whatever resources you can. Tap into things like CPYU and Focus on the Family for great resources on this topic. One of the things we did was offer a parent seminar for our parents about technology and how it’s being used by our students (click here to listen to the audio of that seminar).
Again, teaching students about sex is important. I hope these simple reminders will help you next time you address this issue with your students. If you have additional thoughts, feel free to leave them in a comment below.