Have you talked to your kids about sex? Maybe you have, but not in so many words. I’ve heard sermons about “going over the edge,” “knowing someone intimately,” and even “pleasuring one another.” Whenever the “s-word” comes up, adults tend to blush. Kids, not so much. Whether you’re ignoring the topic altogether or simply using euphemisms, you’re sending a message to your teen, and it might be one that’s far from the one you want to send.
For teens, this is probably the most obvious thing they’ll hear when your lips simply can’t manage to form the word “sex”—and even more so if you never speak of it, in any terms. You’re not talking about it because it’s bad, dirty, not-to-be-discussed, right? Is that a problem? Yes. It’s a problem because that’s not what God’s Word says about it. (See Hebrews 13:4, Proverbs 5:18, 19.) It just has a special place where it’s appropriate, and that place is within a heterosexual, lifelong marriage.
We might want to argue that there’s a place and time to discuss such a sensitive topic, and I completely agree! However, waiting until your son or daughter is 16 is way too late, in our culture, and according to their development; between the ages of 8 and 12, you need to start having conversations about sex. As much as we don’t like it, sexuality is something our world wears on its shirt sleeves — and we need to engage our children in biblical conversations about it before they do.
You talk to your kids about the important things, right? Like safety, career choice, house rules? Well, if you don’t discuss sex with them, then you’re sending a message, loud and clear: It isn’t important. The problem, of course, is that it is. It’s important enough that God created it and gives us instructions about it and designed the human heart and body to desire it.
If discussing that makes you feel uncomfortable, that’s fine — as long as you don’t let your own discomfort get in the way of your communicating important truths to your kids. You probably didn’t enjoy changing diapers or helping with math homework, but you did it anyway. Parenting has never been about your staying within your comfort zone, has it?
Okay, so your teen won’t really think sex doesn’t exist, but they may wonder if you think that’s the case; in other words, they’ll think you’re clueless. Or prudish. Or both. It’s okay for your teen to know that Mom and Dad have had sex more recently than their own conception. And that they like it. And each other. Of course, you don’t want to gross them out, but you do want them to know that you’re human and that their desires aren’t unique. It’s good for them to realize they’re not in the battle for purity alone, but they have some allies that truly understand.