By Melissa Edgington -October 1, 2021
In your family, what’s your strategy for teaching Christian sex education? Christian homes should be the most open, honest, and comfortable places for kids and teens to learn and ask questions about sex. Parents: If you’re embarrassed to talk to your kids about sex, you need to get over it.
When I was a sophomore in high school, a senior girl told me about her sexual experience. She knew I was notoriously naive and inexperienced, and I could tell she relished the opportunity to “educate” me. I’ll never forget her telling me: Of course, we don’t have sex when I’m on my period, because I don’t want to get pregnant!
I nodded, wondering how a girl could be 18 and sexually active with so little understanding of procreation. She honestly thought the week of her period was her most fertile. By some miracle, she completed high school without getting pregnant. But she was obviously misinformed, probably by another girl or her boyfriend. He parents were likely too embarrassed to raise the subject.
To top it off, this girl had no notion that having premarital sex might be wrong. She certainly didn’t seem to think it was something to keep quiet about. She was proud of it.
That was back in the early ’90s, utterly wholesome times compared to today’s world. Internet pornography has changed everything, and kids are more vulnerable than ever to abuse, unexpected pregnancy, sexual addiction, and unhealthy and damaging views of sex.
Christian Sex Education: Why It’s So Crucial
Here are 5 reasons Christian sex education isn’t optional for today’s parents:
1. The world is already teaching our kids about sex.
It’s teaching them that sex is casual. Selfish. Purely physical. That it means nothing. That it’s about feeling good and getting what you want, nothing more. The world tells kids they are sexual objects. That they’re worth only as much as another person’s level of sexual desire for them. It says if they aren’t having sex they’re worthless, and if they are, they’re sluts. This world defines even our youngest children by physical attributes. It tells them they exist for sexual pleasure and even identifies them according to what kind of desires they have.
Christian parents must be the very first people to educate our kids about sex. We need to explain from the beginning why God created it and marriage. And we need to de-emphasize our culture’s all-encompassing sexual obsession. The only way we can do that is by talking honestly with our kids, from younger-than-you-think ages. It’s our job to place sex in the proper context through Christian sex education. Parents must provide a God-centered view. If we don’t teach our kids about sex, plenty of other people with completely different values will gladly step up to do the job.
2. Pornography is coming for our kids.
The porn industry wants to hook kids. This huge, insidious machine wants nothing more than to continue raking in billions of dollars at the expense of families. Don’t assume your kids are immune and “would never look at that.” Christian parents should talk to kids about pornography before they’re ever exposed. Warn about the dangers of the internet and install filters on all devices. Otherwise, we’re throwing kids straight into the waiting jaws of pornographers.
3. We are pro-life.
We may sign every pro-life petition, constantly preach about the sanctity of life, and donate to a crisis pregnancy center. But if we aren’t talking to our kids about sex (not just once but throughout their childhood and teen years), then we’re failing to live out our pro-life views.
We can’t send children out with no sense of how God designed sex and with no real knowledge of how bodies and reproduction works. Let’s be open and acknowledge how strong sexual desire is and how hard it can be to wait until marriage. Instill a reverence for marriage and their future spouse. Above all, show kids that holiness is a lifelong pursuit that includes the difficulty of denying ourselves sexual pleasure until marriage. Christian sex education is a huge part of the pro-life movement. It starts with us.
4. Sexual orientation isn’t a given.
In this strange culture, many kids will begin to question their sexual orientation. Others might even tell them they’re gay. When questions come up, kids need to be able to talk to us. So be there to reassure them. Guide them in working through their fears. Also, constantly stream God’s Word in their ear, always leading them back to God’s holiness and goodness. I want my kids to run to me first. And if we have a long history of talking openly about sex, that will happen.
5. If we start Christian sex education young, we can easily keep the conversation going.
If your child is a teenager and you haven’t yet opened a conversation about sex, just do it. It will be awkward and weird, yes. But don’t miss your opportunity to influence while they’re in your house. Invite kids to share their struggles with you. Offer godly guidance, even if they act like they don’t want to hear it. They need to!
But if you have younger kids, you have a golden opportunity. Begin conversations during a phase when they aren’t self-conscious and embarrassed. Start small in age-appropriate ways. Leave plenty of room for questions and honest talk. And don’t stop talking! Just keep it going. Check in regularly. Ask questions about what kids hear. Find out if they have questions to ask you. If you’re feeling especially awkward, talk in the car. Then you don’t have to look each other in the face.
As Christian parents, we want to disciple our kids and lead them in the ways of God. We can’t fool ourselves into thinking that Christian sex education isn’t a huge part of discipleship. Sexual sin is dangerous and rampant, and it always has been. We can’t help our kids deal with the incredible pull of sexual desire unless we talk about it. Will it feel awkward? Maybe, at first. But it’s nothing we can’t handle with God’s help.
Sex shouldn’t be a dirty word in our homes. If we want kids to think biblically about sex and their worth, we must implement Christian sex education. Just start with one conversation at a time.