Tag Archives: talking to children about sex

5 Times You Teach Holy and Healthy Sex to Your Kids

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish standards for sexual intimacy.

Parents have a strong influence in how their children view their sexuality and establish their standards for sexual intimacy. Click To Tweet

And much of that influence is not overt, but rather what we model day by day. With that in mind, here are five times you teach holy and healthy sex to your kids.

1. When you show affection in front of your children.

Young children typically enjoy seeing their parents embrace and kiss, but older children can give us the impression they don’t like it very much. They might roll their eyes, squish up their face, or even say, “Yuck!” Perhaps we don’t want to embarrass them, or perhaps we’re uncomfortable being affectionate when they understand more about romantic relationships, but many couples stop showing much affection in front of their kids.

But even if it feels a little awkward or it causes a reaction from your kids, it’s healthy to show affection in front of them. Children need to know their parents are still committed, loving, and even a little sexy to one another. Flirting, holding hands, hugging, and mild kissing are all wonderful practices for them to see. And yes, it’s good for them to know those actions lead to more intimate encounters that they don’t witness. All of this assures them of their parents bond and the benefits of marriage.

2. When you pursue and protect time alone.

You need time away from your children as a couple. And that time shouldn’t only happen when they are unaware, such as when they’re asleep. Let your children know that Mom and Dad want and deserve time alone together, in the bedroom, without interruption.

Depending on their age, that could mean announcing that it’s Mommy and Daddy’s special time, or that it’s date night, or that you just want to be alone (which teens can decipher and don’t want to know more about). But make a point of letting your children see that a husband and wife pursue and protect alone time, because they enjoy being together in romantic and intimate ways.

3. When you answer their questions about sex.

Sometimes I receive the question, “When should I tell my kids about sex?” For a lot of parents, the answer is “whenever they ask” — to which I could add, “as many times as they ask.” Yes, I think you need to have a specific talk with your children describing the sexual act, but the vast majority of teaching throughout the years will be simply answering their questions.

Think about your own experience growing up: Didn’t you have questions about sex? Who did you go to for answers? My bet is that many of us parents would like our kids to come to us rather than the other options available. So when our children ask us about sex in any way, we need to be open to the conversation, willing to listen to their thoughts and concerns, and able to respond in a way that encourages a positive, God-honoring view of sexual intimacy.

4. When you protect them against predators.

When I was growing up, minors had to intentionally seek out porn; now they have to avoid it like a stream of dodge balls coming at them. And it’s not just pornography, but mature-rated shows on streaming sites and Google searches on unrelated topics. Then there are online chats and multi-player games where a predator could interact with your child. I’m not trying to scare you, but we should be aware of risks out there.

Consequently, our kids need us to be their protectors. This involves talking to them about what’s out there and how to make good decisions. Even young children can understand, “If something on the screen makes you uncomfortable, press this off button, then come and get me or Daddy.” You can talk to tweens and tweens more openly, asking them what they encounter and coaching them on how to handle it. And you can install internet filters on their computers to keep them from being targeted by adult sexual content.

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By the way, you won’t have much moral authority on this one if your internal attitude is “I can look at the XXX stuff, but they can’t.” So if you are struggling with porn use or lust, you need to address that as well. Don’t hold off helping your kids while you work on this sin, but recognize that teens in particular are smarter than you think and, if you keep it up, will likely pick up on you being a hypocrite.

5. When you point them to what God says about sex.

I didn’t leave this point for last because it’s least important, but rather because I want to make sure it’s the last point you hear and process. Our goal with our children should always be teaching them about God’s design for sexuality. As the Creator of sex, what did He say it’s for, how does He talk about it in Scripture, and what does purity really mean? Why is God’s design better than the world’s teaching? And how can they have a great sexual relationship once they’re married?

When they’re young, these messages are as simple as celebrating the way God made their bodies—all of their bodies. As as they age and you answer their questions, bring God into that conversation, making sure they fully understand that sex was and is God’s idea. Demonstrate with your words and actions that sex in marriage is not simply physical, but also emotional and spiritual. Let them know that the Bible likens the marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love.

The Bible likens the #marriage relationship to the intimacy God longs to have with us. We are a mirror of His love. Click To Tweet

Our parental influence is far more than we think at times. This is no guarantee, because we each have free will, but let’s do what we can to set our kids up for a healthy and godly perspective of sex.

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8 Things I’d Say about Sex If I Had NO Filter (Heaven Help Us All)

Julie Sibert of Intimacy in Marriage started it, by posting 9 Things I’d Say about Sex If I Had No Filter. A few others (like Generous Husband) joined in on this concept, and I’ve decided to give it a go as well.

This was a real challenge, though, because I kind of don’t have a filter. (My husband laughed unnecessarily loud when I told him that.) I pretty much say what I think, although I give deep thought to how I say it. So maybe that’s my filter after all.

Anyway, here are eight things I’d say about sex if I said them exactly how they run through my brain — before I pretty them up for my blog.

woman with hand over mouth + blog post title

FOR BOTH WIVES AND HUSBANDS

1. Oh, for heaven’s sake, sex is all over the Bible! When naysayers are critical or appalled at the honest talk on my blog, I wonder if we’re even reading the same Bible. Because I remember trying to read through the Bible with my young children, and I couldn’t get far without a story about sex cropping up here and there. Everything from “Adam knew Eve” to Lot and his lunatic daughters and on and on, the Bible is filled with God telling stories and giving commands about His gift of sexual intimacy and its horrible abuses.

Yes, we need to be kind and gentle and respectful in how we talk about sex, but for heaven’s sake, it’s all over the Bible! Responsible Christian sex authors aren’t addressing anything God didn’t address in His Word.

2. Stop withholding or stop demanding, and stop acting like the other one is the whole problem. Withholders and demanders always have reasons why they’re doing it: “If he would only, then I would __.” “As my wife, she owes me __.” Or whatever. But as long as you are arrogantly certain the problem lies with the other person, nothing will improve.

If you’re demanding, stop that. Even if your spouse is supposed to give you sex, and I agree (1 Corinthians 7:3-5), you’re not thus relieved of God’s calling for you to be patient, kind, selfless, etc. See 1 Corinthians 13 — a few chapters later!

And to the withholders — even if your spouse doesn’t understand how tired you are or needy of romance you are or whatever (and yes, they likely should treat you better), that doesn’t mean that you get to erect a wall, post guards, and deny entrance to the garden. When you said I do, part of that was I do sex. (Look it up! It’s in the Bible.)

Yep, if you’re on one of these extremes, you can rationalize all day long but it won’t negate that you are not in line with God’s intention for your marriage and things won’t get better until one of you changes. Since you can’t force your spouse to change, how about you start?

3. Talk to your children about sex — yesterday, today, tomorrow, and on and on until they are good and raised. Yes, it’s uncomfortable. Yes, you feel unqualified. Yes, your children might buck you at times. But the world will be sending erroneous messages to your child almost 24/7 from the moment they can read the magazine cover in the grocery store line. It’s your God-given responsibility to get over the awkwardness and give your child the truth about sexual intimacy.

By toddlerhood, we parents have been peed on, vomited on, and who knows what else. Face it: We signed up for difficult and awkward! Come on, I believe in you. Step up and talk to your children about sex — now, and again and again.

FOR THE WIVES

4. Relax already! Think of sex like a spa day for your girly parts. If you tense every time like you’re getting a pelvic exam, it’s no wonder you don’t like sex. You’ve got to relax to enjoy this intimate experience with your husband! Think of sex like a spa day for your girly parts, where your most arouse-able areas get extra-stimulated and pampered. Lean into the interesting sensations like you would a fabulous massage or a relaxing pedicure.

If you practice relaxing and focusing on how you feel in those moments, you might find your body is capable of some super-neat sensations. And your husband has nice skills — especially once you hint or tell him where you like to be touched. Stop thinking about how you look, or what someone else would think, or if the kids will walk in (you locked the door, right?), or whatever. Relax!

5. Get into it. Flirt. Tease. Move. Moan. Wouldn’t it stink to go out dancing and have your husband merely shuffle his feet through the tango (or Texas two-step where I live)? Likewise, it ain’t enough to show up and offer your body like it’s a big sacrificial gesture. Don’t merely go through the motions. It doesn’t make you embarrassing or sleazy to really get into it.

Own your sexuality! Flirt with your husband. Tease and touch him. Move around as you make love. Moan and scream. Let loose and you might find you enjoy it more! He’ll really like it too. Trust me on that.

6. So what if the kids hear! You think that‘s what will cause them to seek therapy? Sure, I’ve probably done something as a mom for which my kids could seek therapy someday — some mistake on my part a few counseling sessions would help. But I’m fairly certain that moment your kids realize their parents have sex won’t ruin them or cause Freud to sit up in his coffin and shout, “Told you so!” Kids are more resilient than that!

Even if your children do hear or (heaven forbid) walk in, They. Will. Be. Okay. It’s actually good for children to know their parents make love and that sexual intimacy is a gift from God to marriage. So stop worrying so much. Of course you should lock the door, tuck away your intimacy aids, and hold off having naked Twister in the living room until they’re gone, but if they hear? Hey, that’s just what loving mommies and daddies do.

FOR THE HUSBANDS

7. She’s never had an orgasm? What are you doing wrong?! To be fair, there is a percentage of wives who have major issues reaching orgasm, and it has nothing to do with their husbands. But honestly, there’s a contingent of men out there who haven’t made this the patient priority they should.

Look, I know it’s annoying you can get there in five minutes and she takes forty. But she will like sex more when you help her find that real climax. And orgasms beget orgasms, so even if you have to spend a lot of time at first helping her figure out what gets her aroused and learning what you can do to stimulate her, it will pay off in the long run. That first orgasm is often the hardest to reach.

Now don’t worry if she doesn’t orgasm every single time (sometimes, some wives don’t even want to that much), but please make it a priority for her to reach climax fairly regularly. You’ll both be happier if you can figure this out.

8. Were you raised by wolves? You can’t just sniff her out, honk a breast, and think you’re getting some tonight. You are not an animal, you’re a real man. That means you woo your woman. You didn’t just catch her and drag her back to your den years ago and now the chase is over. Nope. You’ll be pursuing her for the rest of your life.

Tuck that away in your brain and figure out how to make her feel so loved and desired and valued and appreciated and beautiful . . . that making love to you sounds like a dream come true. Take your time: Show her your romantic side, touch and kiss just for the sake of it, pay attention to the areas of her body that are not erogenous zones, and treat her like the “weaker sex” (1 Peter 3:7). That verse doesn’t mean she’s actually weak, but rather Handle With Care.

Oh, and help her deal with those distractions that keep her from focusing on the two of you. In summation, no honking a breast and make her feel blessed.

That’s it! Eight things I’d say if I had no filter. Which, heaven help us all, I’ve now said.

Teach Your Kids the Correct Words for Body Parts

A couple of weeks ago, I talked about how to talk to teens about sex. This week, I wanted to cover a what on talking to kids about sex.

Here’s one what: Teach young children the correct words for their body parts.

Now I know some of you are objecting already. I once had argued this point with one of my best friends until my tongue turned blue, so I’ve heard the reasoning:

They can learn those names later. What if they repeat it in public? They don’t need to know about sex parts until they’re close to doing something with them. Teaching them the names will increase their curiosity. Those names sound icky.

Look, I’m not suggesting you give your children diagrams and show them where the clitoris and the frenulum are. But from early on, use the correct words of penis, testicles, and vagina.

Why?

Mother & Daughter reading

Photo Credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Because it sates their curiosity. Toddlers soak up the words for anything and everything around them, excited to know what things are called. And children are naturally curious about their bodies. Naming body parts is a common activity in year two or three. They want to point to stuff and hear you identify what it is, so they can learn the word. If you act flustered, or avoid naming each part of their fascinating, God-given bodies, they wonder what’s up. In fact, calling the whole section simply “private parts” or whatever may increase their curiosity. Because inquiring growing minds want to know. Naming the part and moving on sates their curiosity.

Because it demystifies these parts. There is nothing less wonderful about having a penis than having an eyebrow. (In fact, plenty of men would testify that they could yank out every last eyebrow hair but would never want to live without their penis.) Talking in a straightforward manner about a child’s private area demystifies those parts. They are accepted as another aspect of the wonderful body God has given them (Psalm 139:13-14).

Because you establish yourself as a knowledgeable source. If your kids start hearing about penises and vaginas elsewhere, and you’ve never called them the correct names, what might they conclude about your level of knowledge or comfort in discussing the subject? Why should they ask you a bunch of questions about their bodies and sex when you can’t say or don’t know the proper names for those body parts? Use the words, be the expert. Make sure they know that you can handle whatever questions or concerns they have, so that you position yourself, the parent, to be the one to teach both physical facts and spiritual values at the same time.

Because they can communicate better with adult resources, if needed. Your child may at some time need to discuss a health problem with a nurse, doctor, or adult supervisor that involves his/her private part. If your family has named it a beedlebum, that means nothing to the adult. Language is meant to foster communication between people, and it could be important for your child to know the right terms to discuss potential problems with others. Also, I pray that no one ever, ever, ever goes through this . . . but what if your child was molested or approached by a molester? He/she needs to know the proper terms to report what happened.

Because it encourages them to stay away from crasser names. I’m not naive. Of course I expect children, especially teens, to hear, and perhaps say, such crass words as cunt, pussy, prick, wang, etc. However, when you arm people with better language, they are more likely to use it. I personally don’t have a huge problem with less crass words, such as dick or balls, but the words you teach someone are more likely to be their go-to terms when they discuss the subject. You can decide what best reflects your values, but penisvagina, and testicles are universally recognized and not inappropriate.

Because there’s simply nothing wrong with penis, vagina, and testicles. Making a big deal out of it . . . makes it a big deal. Make the big deal about what your child does with these parts, not what they’re called. Teach him/her the right values about his/her body, health, purity, and sexuality. Put the focus where it belongs.

Now of course, you should talk to your child about appropriate use of these terms. Just as we teach our children time and context with other topics, such as Aunt Harriet’s new hideous hairdo, how long the preacher goes on and on, and what color our skin is (as a child, I wanted to call blacks “chocolate people” . . . which I thought was super cool and a total compliment — who wouldn’t want to be chocolate?!! — but my parents gently instructed me that it might be construed another way).

You can gently instruct your child about appropriateness when he yells, “My penis itches!” at the Thanksgiving table or she proudly informs a friend, “My vagina is the hole in the middle.” We managed to convince our children not to give away the Santa secret to friends for years, so trust that you can teach your children to handle the information in a honorable way.

But teach them the correct words for their body parts.

What do you think? How have you handled this instruction with your children? How was it handled with you?

Yes, Kid, Your Mommy and Daddy Have Sex

After sharing this story with close friends, I’ve been told that I must blog about it! Okay, okay. Here’s the story (told in my fiction-writing voice):

***

Climax, here I come. My husband brings me to the peak of pleasure — not like Mount Everest, but more like Mount St. Helens. Heat rises through my body and I erupt in a series of delighted noises as we reach the pinnacle together. We collapse onto the sheets, panting heavily and happily. Dear God, what an amazing gift this is.

Descending back to hum-drum home life, we look at the clock and conclude that we need to clean up and go to sleep. It’s seriously late. We’d worked hard to get our kids in bed tonight. They were at least an hour past the normal bedtime and close to getting their precious necks wrung. Of course, now I picture them tucked under their hairy blankets with fluttering eyelids and cracked mouths, as innocent as cherubim.

I rise and use the bathroom, while my husband washes his hands.

Tap-tap-tap.  

My ear twitches at the sound. What was that?

Tap-tap-tap.

The tapping repeats. “Are you okay?” A small voice seeps through the bedroom door.

Oh. My. God. Really, God — did you know our kid was awake?

“Just a minute,” I answer, a new wave of heat rising in me, this one like a lightning bolt sizzling through my nervous system. I glance at my husband with eyes wider than volcano craters. “Oh my gosh,” I whisper.

He smiles and shrugs. Men. He could probably have sex with our kid knocking on our door the whole time.

“I heard something,” the small voice continues. “Is everything okay?”

“Yes, we’re fine,” I say — thinking as I speak, sound normal, sound normal, sound normal . . .

I shimmy into my pajamas and open the door. The knob clicks as the door unlocks.

My jammied kid stands there, looking sleepy and concerned. “Maybe it was the cat, but it didn’t really sound like it.”

My stomach flutters. Thank God for pets. “Well, the cat is in here,” I say.

“Oh, I guess that’s what it was.”

“You need to head back to bed.” I pray that my tone is no more than a 2.0 on the Richter scale of anxiety. “Good night.”

My child’s perplexed expression melts into relief with my reassurance and embrace. I tuck my child into bed and scurry back to the bedroom.

My husband awaits — tucked under the covers, looking smug and satisfied. I know what he’s thinking: Who cares who heard? I made her bellow like a banshee.

I roll my eyes. Men.

***

There’s actually more to this story. The next day when this child described the event to an older sibling . . . well, let’s just say the older sibling was less willing to blame the cat.

I fully expect the kid who overheard the sexual interlude to one day realize what was really going on. If the child then asks for brain bleaching or therapy, my response will be, “Hey, we told you to go to bed. Maybe you should have listened.”

But all of that is okay because yes, kid, your mommy and daddy have sex.

Husband and wife with child in bed

Photo credit: Microsoft Word Clip Art

In fact, it’s reassuring to children to know that their parents experience a loving, and even private, relationship that establishes the foundation of their family. They don’t want the details, but them knowing that you have sex is a good thing.

How do you show your children that you delight in God’s gift of sexual intimacy in marriage? Without revealing details that are nobody’s business?

Flirt in front of your kids. It’s no big surprise to older children that you are sexually intimate if they catch you smiling, winking, touching, and kissing in front of them. You need not have a make-out session in their presence for them to get the hint. They can see from small gestures that you desire one another, that you have chemistry and romance, that your deeper marital connection trumps the latest relationship drama at their school. As you demonstrate that romance doesn’t die when you say “I do,” you’re subtly communicating the healthy message that mommies and daddies have sex.

Carve out alone time. Let your children know that you need time to be alone as a couple. When they are very young, this may involve getting them to bed early or bartering babysitting with other couples or sending them to grandma’s once a week. As they get older, you can simply tell them, “Mom and Dad need some time alone.” Send them to their bedrooms or to watch a TV show or movie while you and your honey retire to the bedroom. Older children will probably figure out at some point what you’re actually doing in there, but they don’t want to hear about it. Most will happily get out of your way. Still, they are getting the message that dads and moms have a unique relationship apart from the kids they raise and that it’s good for husbands and wives to stay connected this way.

Don’t feel guilty. If they do hear you or — heaven forbid — walk in on you, don’t apologize. At least don’t apologize for engaging in sex with your spouse. If you forgot to lock the door, fine; be sorry for that. But treat your sex life with your spouse as a matter-of-fact reality. As in this is what moms and dads do. Sex within marriage is not something to feel guilty about. Your kids should know that this is a normal, God-designed aspect of marriage. You don’t want them to feel that sex is a guilty act . . . because it isn’t when engaged in according to God’s plan. Of course, it isn’t a public act, so do your best to keep it private between you and your spouse, but if your child does get the notion that something was going on, don’t feel like you have to explain or feel guilty. You didn’t do anything wrong. (In fact, if they overheard you, maybe you did it really, really right.)

Use euphemisms. As I’ve already stressed, that you have sex is fine for your kids to know; how you have sex is not what they should or want to know. If asked directly by your kids what was going on, a raised eyebrow might suffice. They don’t need details. They don’t want details. They will choke to death on embarrassment if they get details. Euphemisms are a lovely thing when dealing with this issue because your child can know that you were engaged in sex without it slapping him/her in the face. “We were having ‘alone time'” is a perfectly good answer. Or come up with your own euphemism.

It’s healthy for your children to know that sexual intimacy flourishes in marriage. When you and your spouse hint at a quality sex life in marriage, it protects them against societal messages that sex is for singles or that sex drives die after the wedding. Research shows otherwise, but they’ll believe what they see with their own eyes even more.

No, I don’t plan to explain the particulars to my child. Yet, I’m pretty sure my children know that their father and their mother have a physical desire for one another and that we enjoy sleeping together. How much sleeping and how much other activity goes on in our bed is a private affair.

But yes, kid, your mommy and daddy have sex.

Is “Don’t Have Sex” Enough for Teens?

Stop sign with hand

By Epson291 (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

A friend recently pointed me to a blog post by a couple working in youth ministry. The topic was something entirely different, but in the post, the authors said, “I would have much rather talked to [kids] about sex or drugs or something, because those are pretty concrete topics. We’d stand up and say, ‘Don’t do it.’ End of talk.”*

As you can imagine, I cringed.

What the authors talked about in the rest of their post was helpful and on point, but they completely missed the boat on sexuality. And I would hate for that to be the only lesson my child received from youth ministry leaders at my church.

“Don’t do it” is not enough.

Since when was “don’t do it” enough in any context? When you tell your toddler not to touch the stove, you explain that it is hot and can hurt her little hand. When you tell your elementary child to look both ways before crossing the street, you explain that traffic could be coming and he must wait until it is safe to walk across. When you tell your middle schooler to do her homework, you explain that she will need this information and good grades to continue on the path to success. When you tell your high schooler to mow the neighbor’s lawn, you explain that Mrs. Smith is too old to push the mower herself and that God wants us to help others.

Whatever we tell our kids — whether yours or ones you teach — we give reasons for why they should do X and not do Y. Of course, we tailor those reasons to their age and maturity, but we say something nonetheless.

And there is no “end of talk.” Teaching children and teenagers what constitutes sexual purity and how to maintain it is not a one-and-done proposition. It’s like teaching them manners. Has any parent ever told their child to use “please,” “thank you,” and “you’re welcome” once and been heeded?

You have to be willing to step up and have conversations (plural) with your children. And youth workers must be willing to discuss this topic as well, not simply with a “Don’t do it” message, but an explanation of why.

A plaque with Deuteronomy 10:12-13 hangs on a wall at my house:

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, to love him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to observe the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good?”

And as James MacDonald has said, when God gives commands, he isn’t just saying “Don’t.” There are reasons. Our loving Father is saying, “Don’t hurt yourself.”

Oftentimes, we hear the usual warnings about pregnancy and STDs, but there are deeper reasons why God wants us to wait until marriage for physical intimacy. In a recent guest post at Sheila Gregoire’s To Love, Honor and Vacuum site, the blogger said it beautifully:

I want my children to understand how important purity is because it affects more than the just the now. It is far bigger than whether or not they get pregnant or catch an STD; it affects their hearts, minds, and souls.

This woman had a terrible sexual past from which to recover and understood the pain and scars that came from that experience. I attest as well that the consequences of my premarital choices regarding sexuality were not so much external as internal — deep wounds in my heart, mind, and soul.

God has healed me, but it was not without challenge and change. I’d love for every teenager to avoid that hardship. We have to stay open to discussing sexuality with our children and our church youth.

There are also reasons why teens want to have sex, and not because they have thrown out God altogether. Many of them haven’t. They just need information, guidance, and explanations about God’s design for sex.

What messages did you receive from adults about sex when you were growing up? What have you told your own children about sex? Is sex a topic easily discussed in your family or church youth group?

*By the way, I’m not sharing the link to the article because that’s not the point. This couple’s main topic was well-handled, and I wish them blessings in their youth work.