Is there a terrific way to introduce the sex talk to your child? Every parent is faced with the challenge, though every parent does not think about sex the same way. I suspect if you brought the talk up to a group of adults, there would be a mixed bag of responses.
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You may want to read:
- The Sex Talk Begins in the Toddler Years
- Timely Advice Before You Have the Sex Talk
- Practical and Effective Ways to Have the Sex Talk
Some of the people in the group would respond with nervous laughter. Others would respond with snappy jokes. Some may be crude. It can be a challenge to distinguish a group of parents from a group of giddy teens when talking about sex.
We speak from our experiences, and some parent’s sexual history, experiences, and training were far from ordinary, pleasant, or exportable. Here are a few illustrations from a fictional group of friends.
- Delores was molested as a child. She had lots of thoughts about sex, though mostly sad ones.
- George had a secret porn addiction. Most of his thoughts were disguised behind an “I hope I’m not found out” fear.
- Sarah believed men were pigs; all they wanted was sex. She shared what she thought, which was neither encouraging or helpful.
- Larry believed sex was taboo. He had nervous thoughts when he shared.
- Sheila blushed the whole time; she couldn’t wait to get home.
- William was crude. His perverted pleasure from the conversation contributed nothing beneficial.
Some people in the group felt as though they were talking dirty while others felt dirty. They all had thoughts, but few of them were comfortable sharing them. They were normal Christians.
The people who have the most freedom to talk about sex and the clearest perspective on sex can be the most muddled and shame-ridden about sex and sexuality.
Sex Is the Parent’s Job
Sober talk and thoughtful discussions about sexuality are rare with Christian parents. After you compare the absurdities of the world with the maturity of God’s Word, you’d expect Christians to bring bold and careful counsel to the topic of sex.
Our voice should not be muted, and we should not blush. God has given us the gift of clarity and wisdom, which compels us to speak into the sexual noise of our culture, as well as speaking into the mind of our children. There is no shame in a biblical worldview of sex (Genesis 2:24-25; Hebrews 13:4).
Many believers do not speak with clarity, wisdom, grace, or maturity, but cow down to the challenge or they respond with silly wisecracks. It is like we come into the discussion with a nervous apology rather than bold wisdom.
The result is our kids are left to figure out what sex means through other mediums than in their homes or their parents. Parents are left behind as children find other means to learn about sex as they explore sexuality outside the home.
Some of these explorations are at the children’s volition while other avenues are foisted upon our children, whether they want to know about it or not. The world does not wait for stalling and stuttering parents to lead their children. There is no inhibition from the world when it comes to teaching their version of sex education.
Sex Is For the Mature
Sex is not going away because God preordained sex into how we relate to each other, which is why Satan created a rival who uses perverted tactics to twist our minds (Genesis 3:6-7). Bad sex is born out of our shaping influences: what happened to us and how our parents failed to lead us. Our culture perpetuates it further through the perversion of the pandemic intrusion of porn.
This crisis should not leave the Christian covered in the culture’s sexual dust. Rather than lamenting our present problems, we are called to step into our sexually dysfunctional world actively. Sex is for the mature. Jesus came to kill and destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8), and He similarly armed us.
You don’t need another statistic about how bad porn is. You need to be trained to initiate a proactive plan to talk to your children about how to live a life of purity in an impure world.
Sex Is For the Young
The number one question people ask about the sex talk is when to have it. I have made a case throughout this book that the sexual education of your child begins before her first birthday.
We began having sexuality communications with our children before they could walk. What you don’t want to do is pretend sex and sexuality do not exist and then when they are “of age” for more in-depth and more complex discussions about sex you drop a significant sex bomb speech on them.
That does not help children or deepen your relationship with them. A biblical worldview of sex and sexuality needs a long, slow ramp-up that incrementally leads to appropriate, unique-to-each-child discussions about the intricacies of intimacy. Each child is different, which is every parent’s call to customize how they communicate the sex experience to the child.
Our three children are two years apart. They are a girl, boy, and girl. God wonderfully and uniquely created each child. We script our approach to each one of them according to their individuality, but the similarity is sex begins early.
Sex Is Deeply Spiritual
As you can imagine it would depend not only on whether your child is a Christian, but also the maturity of your child’s relationship with God. Sanctification is a process, and all children move at their own pace through progressive sanctification.
If your child is not a believer, she would not be able to grasp the talk the way she should because she lacks the Spirit’s illuminations and the Bible’s wise guidance.
Maybe you don’t know if your child is a believer. That is highly possible since that kind of assessment is subjective. It is even more subjective when they are young and living under your leadership. Her true faith will be more measurable as she becomes an adult, living on her own.
If you’re unsure that she is a Christian, you can still assess her overall maturity and responsiveness to the Word of God. Is she teachable? Is she open to the Lord’s training? Or is she resistant? Regardless of her spiritual temperament, the starting point for all sexual discussions is spiritual in nature because sex is a more profound spiritual matter.
You will want to determine your child’s spiritual capacity. This idea is similar to a child’s ability to understand and process other things like math. Some children understand math. They get it. Other children have a harder time grasping math concepts. The spirituality of your child will be similar.
Girls are usually more mature than boys at this age. You will need God’s insights and wisdom as you think through the specific needs, strengths, weaknesses, and capacities of your child.
Regardless of age, start early. Guide the train slowly out of the station, but by all means, bring it out. Be appropriately sexual in your speech and expressions. Let your children experience a purer version of sexuality long before they ever understand the deeper meanings of sex.
Sex Is Relational
You do not want the talk disconnected from your ongoing, transparent relationship with your children. I’m not suggesting you have inappropriate discussions before it’s time for them. I’m suggesting you have a biblically appropriate, intimate, affectionate, and spiritual relationship with your child regardless of her age.
She does not need to hear the talk from someone she has never cried with, sinned against, confessed to, or talked to profoundly. By the time you get to the talk, you need a relational history with her that is meaningful and spiritual. You need to be her friend as much as you need to be her parent.
No matter where you are with your child you can begin an ongoing, meaningful, and transparent relationship with her now. If you have not had this kind of relationship with her, then you can build one by walking out repentance with her. Let her know how you have failed her and how you’d like to create a new kind of relationship with her. Humility can go a long way; God gives favor to the humble (James 4:6).
Your future sex talk should be a natural progression of communication, within the context of doing life together. It should not be an out-of-left-field, overly highlighted event at a certain age that freaks her out. If the talk is in the context of a life lived within a relational family, and there are many appropriate talks along the way, then the actual conversation will not be awkward.
If your children are older and you have established a relational context, I recommend you talk with your church leadership about how to reorder/restructure your home so you can serve your child more effectively when the time comes for the talk.
You should not disconnect the sex talk from how you do life, as though it is a stand-alone event for your child. It should happen after many smaller ones that you contextualize in relational love and biblical care.
If you are a two-parent home, the dad needs to lead your daily conversations about life issues. He should set a pace and trajectory for sex and sexuality from a complementarian worldview. Complementarian parents build a biblical partnership with the dad leading and the mom complementing their leadership model (Genesis 2:18).
Though the mom leads the talk with a daughter, you do not detach it from her husband’s leadership, care, and insights. Sex is a relationship between a husband and wife, which is a united front they want to practice in every context of their lives, especially when instructing their children about sexuality.
Sex Is about Language
I do not recommend parents use immature synonyms to communicate anatomical body parts. We call them what they are. My son doesn’t have a pee-pee, but a penis. That’s not weird to him. It is what it is. A cup is a cup, a book is a book, and his penis is a penis.
Immature language or immaturity about words is not wise. It’s not helpful. You don’t want to export weirdness to your children. It breeds insecurity while creating communication distance between the parent and child. Don’t export your taboos, silliness, or crudeness to your children; use the right words.
As your children mature, your hope is for a seamless transition to more in-depth and more profound sexual discussions with them. It’s the idea of building blocks, incrementally being stacked one upon another. You begin with the language, which will lead them to the future drawn out discussions about the act of marriage.
Imagine spending a few days with your child, walking her through teen and adult sexuality issues and the first two days are spent getting comfortable with a new kind of language. That’s unnecessary.
Children have an incredible capacity to understand things and to be mature about them if you let them. Do not be embarrassed to talk about what God was not ashamed to create and entrust to our care and stewardship.
Sex Is More Than Language
Sexuality discussions at a young age involve more than accurate anatomical language. Sexuality is a way of life. While your children are young, you want to build a foundation for sex as you lavish them with (1) affection, (2) encouragement, and (3) edifying communication.
Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. – Ephesians 4:29
These concepts contextualize the anatomical aspects of sex in a framework of a loving relationship. Without them then your sex talk will be theoretical, sterile, and laborious. The best sex flows out of other-centered, God-saturated relationships.
Distant, harsh, neglectful, critical, impatient, and generally frustrated parents do not prepare or equip their children with a biblical understanding and experience with sex.
- How many women have complained about the emotional detachment of their husbands?
- How many women have complained about their husband’s sex on the brain mentality?
One lady told me she felt like a Christian prostitute because of her husband’s porn understanding of sex. His sexual practice was all physical, not spiritual. He learned the mechanics of sex on the streets rather than from God or his parents. He was not equipped to relate well to the opposite sex.
Call to Action
- Do you have a biblically sexual relationship with your spouse?
- What kind of sexual experience are you exporting to your children?
- What are your children learning from your sexual interactions?
- How is your home sexually characterized? Here are a few examples of a biblically sexualized home: warmth, kindness, encouragement, respect, honor, and serving.
Also published on Medium.