The “sex talk” with children begins in their toddler years as they learn about sexuality through the attitudes, words, and interactions of their parents.
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Sex is a shame-laced subject because of our mutual fallenness. Even our worldly counterparts–though they give the appearance of no sex shame–are not free from sexual entanglements.
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. – Genesis 3:7 (ESV)
It is our collective embarrassment issues with sex that motivates us to keep sex communication tucked behind our Adamic fig leaves, which is precisely why biblical parents want to model and practice biblical sexuality in the home.
Sexual communication (koinonia) begins early in a child’s life because sex is not just about the physical act. Our sexuality cannot be pared down to a weekend retreat with a child so the parent can explain the birds and bees to him. Sexuality is an unavoidable, communal, everyday, interactive lifestyle for all people.
Elements of sex
Long before there is physical interplay between a man and a woman, there non-negotiable elements of sex that will be learned by children.
For example, the physical act of sex should be characterized by the elements of gentleness and kindness. Being kind to another person is a choice that makes physical intimacy the way God intended. You can’t do sex right without being kind. Who wants to have sex with an unkind or ungentle person?
Sex is physical intimacy, but it’s not a physical act that is detached from the manner of people we are. An unselfish person will perform sex like a caring spouse, whose intent is to exalt the name of Christ through physical intimacy. That is sexual love, not sexual abuse.
This is why unrepentant unkindness is like a thousand paper cuts that destroys what the physical act of sex should be. Biblical parents want their children to learn an other-centered way of life, which is why they want to model the life of Christ in their homes–at the very beginning of their children’s lives.
We trumpet how porn is a total disrespect for another person, which it is. We all understand that. But most children’s perspectives about other people and their responses to other people are not shaped by porn.
A child’s view of sex and sexuality is primarily shaped by their personal observations and interactive experiences in the home. By the time a parent leads their child through the sex talk during the preteen years, the foundation of sexuality has already been laid and inculcated into the child.
Parents have the privilege to create a Gospel-saturated sexuality-world-view that will make the future “sex talk” come across as something that is consistent with the child’s experience with the parent’s sexuality in the home.
A healthy view of sex does not begin with the talk. It begins by how the parents “communicate” the practical Christ to their children long before their children know anything about sex.
Call to action
- Sex is about kindness. What are your children learning about kindness from your example?
- Sex is about selflessness. What are your children learning about selflessness from your example?
- Sex is about maturity. What are your children learning about maturity from your example?
- Sex is about love. What are your children learning about love from your example?