There’s no doubt that the typical government-sponsored sex education falls far short of encouraging the biblical model (Hebrews 13:4), but that doesn’t mean that the concept of teaching teens about their bodies and sexuality should be nixed. Whether or not it’s appropriate in a church or school setting may be up for debate, but as parents, we’re ultimately responsible to make sure our kids are presented with a healthy, biblical view on this important topic.
Moving Beyond Fear
One principle that comes to mind is the idea of being “wise as serpents” (Matthew 10:16). Complete ignorance or naiveté is almost impossible with today’s many media outlets and sex-obsessed culture, but even if it were, it really wouldn’t be ideal. Often, Christian parents present false information — such as myths about condoms and contraception — out of fear. Others threaten their kids with punishment, hoping to motivate their kids to abstain from sexual activity by instilling fear. However, 1 John 4:18 says love and fear are opposed to one another.
Avoiding Harmful Ignorance
Many other Christian parents completely ignore the topic of sex — which is even more dangerous. As one sex education professional explains, “Without information, young people mock the ignorance of others to hide their own ignorance; they project their own anxieties about sexual experience and performance onto others and attack it.”
Even if your teen doesn’t display their discomfort with the topic in obvious ways, the inevitable result, for many teens, can provide major hurdles to their view of sexuality and marriage: “When there are questions about sex that adults daren’t or won’t answer, young people search the internet. The trouble is that the answers they get back from pornography may be grossly distorted. It stands to reason, therefore, that with better, earlier and more explicit sex education, with questions answered rather than fudged and with opportunities for educators to describe sex in the context of love, young people might need to watch porn rather less urgently.”
Loving Like God
Now, the point is not for you to replace your fear of your child engaging in sexual activity with a fear of his or her viewing pornography. Instead, it’s to look beyond those behaviors to the purpose for which God created us — and designed sex. It’s within the context of a loving, committed marriage relationship. It’s to display God’s love for us and provide a context for growing in their faith and making more disciples. It’s about loving someone else, not fulfilling their own desires.
That kind of love means waiting for now — and will often mean prioritizing their spouse’s desires over their own, later on. And it’s only possible because of God (Ephesians 5:2). Interestingly, one of the main problems cited by those studying the effects of pornography (and even immodesty) is seeing people as objects, or “means to an end,” rather than in the context of relationships.
Continue reading with Part 2.