The Sex Talk
Talking about sex with your kids can be intimidating. It’s an important topic, and it’s difficult to know how they’re going to respond. We believe it can be a great experience for you and your kids, and the beginning of an ongoing conversation about sexuality and purity that equips them for the rest of their lives. Here are three questions with answers from our team to help you talk about sex with your kids.
1. AT WHAT AGE SHOULD WE START TO TALK TO OUR KIDS ABOUT SEX?
Whoever talks to you about a subject for the first time is who you view as the expert. So when it comes to sex, whoever talks to your kids first about it is who they will see as the expert, even if it’s a movie or a kid on the playground. A lot of times in our culture we wait and end up being the second or third message they hear. If you weren’t the first voice to talk to your kids, don’t worry, it’s okay. It’s still important that you talk to them and make yourself available to them as a safe place to ask questions and talk about anything they’ve seen or heard, and what they’re curious about.
A study done by Simon Lajeunesse found that most boys first start to seek out pornography around the age of 10 because that is the point they are most sexually curious¹. That being said, it’s a good idea to be talking to them by then. We actually recommend that you start to introduce the subject much earlier than that. It also helps to make it an ongoing subject of conversation, not just something you have a big talk about one time.
So if you have young kids or if your kids are older and you haven’t talked to them yet, we want to help you approach the question of how to talk about sex in your home.
2. HOW DO WE TALK ABOUT SEX IN OUR HOME?
One of the ways to do that is to celebrate the family unit and God’s original design for children to be born into a family in the safety of covenant between two people. We realize there are single parents out there who are doing a great job raising their kids. Among all the mixed signals about family that we’re getting from culture today, our desire is simply that God’s design for family would be clearly defined for our kids.
Another thing to help them with is understanding the body and the differences between boys and girls. This is a good way to start things off and can help introduce the topic without going into details that are unnecessary for the younger ages. Kids are naturally curious, and it makes sense they would have questions about boy and girl bodies. The differences between the two should be celebrated because being created “male and female” is all part of God’s grand design for us.
What’s really important is that you’re the one answering questions for your kids. They don’t need to know everything right away. They’re just looking for a few core pieces about their sexuality so when a message comes to them, it has somewhere to land. A tool that’s helpful when answering questions is to ask your kids, “What do you mean by that?” Many times we might jump to something as parents when our child’s real question is actually much simpler than what we’re thinking. Talk to them appropriately. Don’t stir their curiosity by talking above their level. Keep things age-appropriate.
The Story of Me and the other books in the God’s Design for Sex series by Stan and Brenna Jones are great resources. This series has four books that are all age-specific. It explains the basics of life, how sex happens, and it also glorifies masculinity and femininity.
3. WHAT IF A PARENT KNOWS THEIR CHILD IS ALREADY STRUGGLING?
It’s difficult finding out you have a child struggling in this area. It can be scary and overwhelming, but when you respond, you have to decide if you’re going to be a voice of hope or a voice of shame for your kids. They’re going to talk to someone about this stuff, if they don’t feel safe talking to you, then they’re going to find someone else.
If you find out your kid is struggling, make sure you build relationship and rapport with them first, and then slowly introduce questions to find out what’s going on in their world. You don’t have to ask specifics, just ask them how they’re doing and create a safe place for them to share. You’ve probably heard it said that people don’t care what you know until they know that you care. It’s the same for our kids. Let them know you care first. Let them know there’s a way out and that they’re not horrible for wanting to look at porn or find out more about sex. It’s normal to be curious about these things. Don’t demand a ton of information from them right off the bat. Come alongside them and ask, “How can I help you with this?”
Depending on how involved the child is, it may be wise to bring in a counselor. If you decide this is the route to go, make sure you find a counselor who knows how to connect with kids. You can offer to go with them, or ask if they want to bring a friend. Give them options and give them hope that there’s a way out.
It’s great to give your children good resources that empower them to get information on this topic themselves. We have great resources from our team as well as others we recommend. We have the 40 Day Journey to Purity for guys and girls, as well as books, curriculum, podcasts, blogposts, and all sorts of other information. It’s okay and perfectly normal for your kids to want to know more about this subject. It’s in God’s design for all of us, so of course your kids are wondering about it when they start to reach a certain age. Keep the lines of communication open and continue to be a safe place for them, free of shame, so that when they have questions or concerns, you’re the first person they want to come to.
1. University of Montreal. “Are the effects of pornography negligible?.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091201111202.htm (accessed March 31, 2016).