Sex has been very much in the news lately, in one way or another. What it is, what it isn’t, what’s holy, what we’re designed for and what we aren’t. All this conversation is not lost on our kids, of course, which means we have a wonderful teaching moment in front of us, a great opportunity to buy your kid a Coke and talk to them about good sex.
Face it: Most of us are wimps when it comes to this conversation. Either we ignore it all together and hope for the best from whatever their friends, school or church are teaching; or we hide everything about sex from our kids for as long as possible then scare the daylights out of them when they finally ask.
We are afraid we won’t know what to say or how to say it. We’re just sure we’ll mess it up as much as our parents did. We let ourselves believe the lie that since we were (let’s just say) less than angels at their age, we have no right to talk.
Of course, all those are empty excuses to avoid spiritually shaping our kids in a significant area of their development. A better option is to take the approach God took with us — to talk honestly, openly and often about who we are, how we’re made and what we’re designed for.
If you’re ready to help your kids understand sex from God’s point of view, share at least these six thoughts:
1. Good sex is holy. We know this because God is holy, and God invented sex. Genesis teaches us that God cut male and female out of the same cloth, so we were created out of a kind of oneness. This is God’s design and when you know how something works, that’s empowering.
2. Good sex depends on a strong covenant. Sex is designed to be practiced inside the covenant of marriage. The basic word in this whole holy design is covenant, which is basically a solemn agreement to either hang onto or step away from something. In the case of men, women and marriage, that covenant is a solemn agreement to hang onto each other for life, and sex is the sign of that covenant. The difference between covenant and no covenant is the difference between holy and human. Sex without covenant is like putting a BMW symbol on a Ford Pinto. You may have the symbol but you don’t have the car (and the car you’ve got is likely to blow up).
3. Good sex is not shame-producing. Sex was not designed to produce shame; it was designed to generate goodness. Over and over in the story of creation, we hear that God made things that are good. Men and women are called “very good.” Genesis 2:25 says, “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.” Sex inside of a healthy covenant relationship is designed to generate joy, not shame. I want your kids to hear that abuse is never acceptable, and that good sex is not shame-producing.
(note to parents: If you find yourself feeling shame when you talk about sex, you might need to go back and examine your own issues. Who spoke that word into your life? How is that word limiting your relationship to God? And how is it limiting your human relationships?)
4. Good sex is not love-producing (but is a great response to good love). Sex does not make love; it is a response to love. And love is not an act or emotion. It is a commitment. We “make love” happen not by engaging in physical acts, but by practicing mutual submission (see Ephesians 5:21) — by practicing habits with each other like patience, kindness and humility. We practice it by not keeping score or letting our anger get the best of us, and then we celebrate our successes in moments of sweet intimacy.
5. Good sex is ultimately about life. This is the Genesis purpose of sex. God made us to be creators, and he made sex enjoyable so we’d be drawn to it. That’s why natural curiosity is a good thing. We want kids to understand God’s plan for pursuing that curiosity in a positive light. Our job is help our kids make sense of those curiosities and channel them toward God’s good, joyful, healthy design.
6. Holy sex is good. It is not something to be afraid of (goodness, no!), nor is it something we are powerless to control. Talk to your kids about the power they have over their own lives, about the nature of true love, about the rewards of self-discipline. Talk to them about how to begin life with a holy end in mind, and about making goals that set them up to live well. And above all, model it. Because your life is the greatest lesson your kid will ever receive.
May we so live the qualities of our design — holiness, sacredness, goodness, love and life — that our kids will look at our example and say, “I want what they have.”