Tag Archives: Eric and Heather Viets

How Much Should You Learn about Sex before the Wedding Night?

Bride & Groom Embracing

Photo: Microsoft Word Clip Art

Eric & Heather Viets of Preengaged.com provide premarital and pre-engagement counseling and have a fabulous blog that speaks to couples in every stage of the relationship — dating, engaged, and married. So when I considered my blog readers who aren’t yet hitched, but want to prepare themselves for sexual intimacy in marriage, Eric and Heather immediately came to mind. I appreciate them joining us today to answer “How much should you learn about sex before the wedding night?”

What immediately comes to your mind when you hear or read the word ‘SEX’? Do you immediately turn red or giggle? Do you feel ashamed? Do you feel indifferent? Do you get excited? Chances are you experience a few different (and perhaps even conflicting) feelings.

There is such power to the word ‘sex’ and other words pertaining to it. A friend of mine was once in a literature class and the teacher walked to the chalkboard on the first day of class and wrote a crude name for sex. Then, he turned around and explained the origin of the word and after lecturing for a few minutes, he said, “Now that I have your attention . . .” and proceeded to talk about literature. He knew that talking about sex, especially in a taboo way, would get his class’s attention!

Blooming and Confusion

We hear a lot of different ideas about sex and we’re taught a lot of subtle lessons. “Don’t think about sex! It will only tempt you!” or “Think about sex a lot and prepare for it, but don’t do it!” Growing up, I thought about sex a lot; of course, I didn’t broadcast that fact to others. It seemed like something I shouldn’t be thinking about, but my body was changing and the topic popped in my head often. Was that wrong? Should we not think about sex until we’re married? If we should think about sex, how much and in what context?

Personally, I think trying to keep someone over the age of twelve from thinking about sex is a lost cause. We humans are going to think about it. And since we are going to think about sex before marriage, we need to prepare for it; yet, we do need to be careful about how much we dwell on sex before we marry our special someone.

Preparing for an Upcoming Sexual Relationship in Marriage

Here are a few guidelines I recommend in mentally preparing for your upcoming sexual marriage relationship:

1. Prayer is powerful. When you actively think about sex, do so prayerfully. Ask God to guide you as you learn. Ask Him to keep your mind pure and to help you flee from sexual temptation and youthful lusts. Thinking about sex with no boundaries is a sure recipe for failure. The more we mentally dwell on the topic of sex, the more our bodies physiologically prepare for sex and desire sex. Married couples, if they are honest when asked, will also tell you that the more they find themselves thinking about sex, the more they want it!

2. Study about sex in the daylight. Nighttime brings temptations that daytime does not bring. There is something about the darkness and quiet that makes our minds wander places which are not righteous. For example, you may find yourself lying in bed having sexual fantasies if you study the mechanics of sexual interaction in the quiet of your dimly lit bedroom. Such fantasies can lead to bodily reactions and masturbation which often leads to shame and guilt. Such shame and guilt can make the vicious cycle repeat; so, for the sake of your purity, we recommend only studying the topic of sex in the light of day . . . preceded and followed by prayer.

3. Never turn to pornography or erotica to learn about sex. The sex industry would like us to believe that the sexual experiences featured in porn and erotica are normal, but it is far from normal. It highlights the sexual act as one of primarily receiving (or even downright taking) pleasure instead of displaying the tender, giving experience to each other which God intended sex to be in marriage. To study the logistics and mechanics of the sexual relationship (i.e., what physiologically happens from beginning to end of a sexual encounter), consult Christian books written to help singles prepare for marriage with textbook type drawings which portray the act of sex in a non-erotic way. One book we strongly recommend is Sheet Music by Dr. Kevin Leman. But, caution! Before marriage, read the first four chapters only. And then, take the book with you on your honeymoon. ~smile~

4. Prepare for your wedding night. Please don’t focus all your attention on the wedding and then find yourself in a nice hotel suite with your new mate expecting everything to fall into place naturally. Sex is an activity which takes practice to achieve more skill. Therefore, if one were to grade the first time, we would surmise it would often get a “C-” for most couples.  This is okay as the couple is just starting to learn each other, each other’s bodies, and each other’s desires. Sex often gets better the more you do it. Don’t believe the Hollywood lie that your first time has to be magical. Such an expectation will likely let you down.

5. Consider getting outside counsel. “You mean, talk to someone else about sex?  That’s crazy talk!” In our premarital counseling program, we have an entire two-hour session on preparing for the wedding night and the sexual relationship in marriage.  We cover a lot of ground including both the male and female sexual response cycles and all of our couples have found this session very beneficial. It is important to discuss together who you will go to for counsel regarding this sensitive topic should issues arise; and, if those issues do arise, seek out a Christian professional who treats the topic biblically and with gentleness.

6. For the ladies . . .  Ladies, prepare for your wedding night by packing something to wear that makes you feel beautiful. For your first time, it is wise to use lubricants while your body adjusts to having sex. Also, think about how you will feel most comfortable undressing in front of your husband for the first time. If she’s nervous and wants to reveal herself much more slowly, some couples start by the woman getting into a bubble bath before the man comes in and joins her. There is nothing wrong with easing into it! It is much better than rushing it and feeling frustrated and let down.

7. For the guys . . .  Gentlemen, plan something for your wedding night. I’ve heard of a man washing his new wife’s feet as a symbol of his commitment to love and serve her (see John 13). Some men bring a gift and a thoughtful card. Think of a way to transition from the hectic wedding day into a calm, unforgettable wedding night. Remember that even though you may be raring to go, your new bride may be nervous. So, plan to move into your first sexual experience slowly and lovingly. Think of several ways to make her feel special and beautiful on your wedding night (gifts, verbal compliments, poems, previously written letters, etc.). This is the first of many sexual experiences and you’ll want her to associate sex with positive feelings! ~smile~

8. Don’t discuss sex in detail with your sweetie until about one month before the wedding. When you do talk about it, do so in the daylight and in a public place. You’ll obviously want to use your indoor voice. ~smile~ You can talk about your expectations and fears, but again, do so prayerfully. Those last few weeks before the wedding can be some of the most tempting times because you will begin to feel married as you make countless decisions together. It’s during those times you will want to beef up your accountability and take extra precautions.

It’s Time to Think about Sex

In college, a dorm-mate of mine happily shared her notes with me from class one afternoon. Her female professor (my understanding is that this class was comprised solely of ladies) had talked to her class about the stages human bodies go through during a sexual experience. That may be the only lesson those girls remember from her class as I’m sure they were all ears! It’s a favorite topic across the board. Her professor told the class that young people are told not to think about sex, but she had a different belief. She thought singles should think about, understand, and prepare for a sexual relationship… and I agree with her!

If you endeavor to keep your heart and mind pure as you prepare to love one man or one woman forever, you can study the sexual relationship in a godly context. We want you to go into your wedding night filled with wonder at the mystery of God’s plan for sex and marriage, but we don’t want you to be fearful. The more you understand about sex and the way God intended it to be, the less fearful you should be. Knowledge is power! ~smile~

What questions or concerns do you have about your future sexual marriage relationship?

Eric and Heather Viets write at PreEngaged.com, a resource blog which aids Christian singles and couples to prepare well for marriage and spouse selection.

Talking to Your Kids about Sex: No More One & Done

So it’s like my parents said to me once . . .

Wait, I don’t remember anything they said to me once.

I do remember “A thing worth doing is worth doing well” and “Keep your room clean” and “Be home by 10:00 p.m.!” because my parents said those over and over. I remember John 3:16 (“For God so loved the world . . .”) because I read it, heard it, and said it again and again. I remember “Breathe from your diaphragm!” when I sing because the director repeated it every day in high school choir.

So why do parents think a single sex talk is going to do the trick for our kids? If you can’t convince your child of the upside of broccoli after 34 creative presentations and comments about its inherent goodness, why do you think one “sex belongs in marriage” conversation is going to convict a hormonally charged teen to keep his hands where they belong? There are moments in one’s teens and young adult years when waiting for God’s timing of sex within marriage feels like staring down an ominous vegetable on our plate.

But what parents know that kids don’t is that healthy food can be delicious. And God has the most amazing dessert prepared for those who eat all of their veggies. Godly sex in a healthy marriage is like this:

Chocolate dessert

By Flickr user: Edward Russell, aka Flickr user “meshmar2,” via Wikimedia Commons

Back to talking to kids about sex, one talk about the birds and bees is not going cut it. You must have an ongoing conversation with your children about sex with factual information, values commentary, and God’s plan laid out. Be willing to discuss the subject whenever it naturally arises or whenever you need to bring it up. Expect to have several discussions on this topic if you want to pass a godly view of sexuality on to your children.

So how do you have an ongoing discussion with your kids about sex? Do you bring it up at the dinner table, as in “Hey, John and Jane, while you eat your chicken and green beans, let’s go over female anatomy and erogenous zones”? Awkward. Here are a few tips instead:

Become your child’s sexpert. Establish yourself as the go-to person when your children have questions. Be ready to answer with knowledge and confidence. If you don’t demonstrate that you know the deal about sex, children assume that other resources are more reliable.

That is, if you are silent or clumsy about the subject of sexuality, they might figure it’s because you don’t know anything about it. The person who has nothing to say about the war in Afghanistan probably doesn’t know anything about it. That does not mean that everyone who has something to say knows something; plenty of people spout off ignorantly on various topics. But if you say nothing to counter wrong messages and your kid hears them day in and day out, who do you think they will listen to?

Look for opportunities. If you’re watching a television show or movie that conveys sexuality or relationships in a way that doesn’t fully agree with your standards, say so. You don’t have to make a huge deal about it. However, if a couple is sleeping together before marriage, pipe in with something like, “That’s not a good way to start a relationship.” If there is a scantily dressed female oozing sensuality on the screen, ask “Why do you think she’s dressed like that?” Listen to what your kids say, and then talk about modesty. If a song has questionable lyrics, inquire what your child thinks the song means. Discuss underlying assumptions that the world makes about sexuality with your child and whether this is God’s plan.

Admit that you have sex with your spouse. Please do not draw a diagram or reveal details, but it’s healthy for children to understand that mommy and daddy having sex within marriage is a blessing from God. Telling your children that you have sex will not encourage them to do it prematurely. When children perceive a healthy representation of sex in their own home — a committed, married couple engaging in godly intimacy — they are more likely to want such a relationship for themselves. One way you can share that you are physically intimate without sharing TMI is to stress that you and your spouse need alone time in your bedroom. As they age, children will figure out what some of that entails and won’t inquire further. But they will be aware, and that positive influence remains.

Ask questions. Believe me, your kid does not want to hear you rant on and on for 45 minutes about the pitfalls of premarital sex. If every sex talk feels like a college hall lecture, your child may be nodding as you speak, but he’s mentally plotting his strategy for conquering the next level of Call of Duty while you discuss the perils of STDs. You need to have a conversation, which means two people talking (or more if other family members are involved). Ask what your children know and what they want to know. Ask what they think about the world’s approach to sexuality. Ask what strategies they have to stay sexually pure until marriage. Listen and then respond.

Avail yourself of quality resources. There are some great resources for teaching your children about sex. If you need or want additional tools, check out a local or online Christian bookstore. Kevin Leman has a book called A Chicken’s Guide to Talking Turkey with Your Kids about Sex. I haven’t read this particular one, but Dr. Leman is an excellent marriage and family expert whom I trust. One of my favorite bloggers (whom I’ve mentioned before!) is Julie Sibert of Intimacy for Marriage. She has two excellent posts on talking to kids about sex — 10 Worst Mistakes You Can Make When Talking to Your Kids About Sex, Part 1; 10 Worst Mistakes, Part 2 — in which she recommends resources.

You don’t have to look them in the eye. As kids get older and experience intense sexual feelings, they may want to talk but are embarrassed. Shoulder-to-shoulder, or no eye contact, conversation can be easier. You can text back and forth. You can chat in the car on the way to school while your eyes are on the road and not available to glare at your child. You can shoot baskets, play Wii games, or do crafts at the table and have great talks with your kids. This is one of those times when “Look me in the eye” may not apply. Your child might be better able to absorb the message if eye contact is not required on this subject.

Relax. You don’t have to get everything right to be a godly influence to your kids. You don’t have to know everything; you can offer to look things up together. You don’t have to defend your less-than-perfect history; you can explain, “I didn’t do it right, but I sure wish I had. I want the best for you.” You can blush when you say “penis” and “vagina”; you still get credit for teaching your kids the right names. Thank God that parenthood doesn’t demand perfection! Being present is far more important to kids than being perfect. So relax. Do your best. Then pray and let God do His part.

If you aren’t sure why premarital sex isn’t a good idea, I laid out my thoughts on this topic in two guest posts at a great website from Heather and Eric Viets called Preengaged.com. Maybe these posts can help you consider what to teach your children: Sex Before Marriage, Part 1 and Sex Before Marriage, Part 2.

How do you talk to your kids about sex? Do you have any other tips? Have you found some terrific resources? How has it gone so far?