This blog post was adapted from Episode 1 of our podcast, DriveTime.
One of the most difficult conversations that can happen in the home is on the topic of sex and sexuality. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
Unfortunately, it has been shown through several studies that the more religious a family is, the less likely they are to talk about sex and share their own values. This simply shouldn’t be the reality, but it is.
So where do you start?
The Apostle Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6:18 (NIV), “Flee from sexual immorality,” conjure in my mind images of a person running out of and away from a burning building in an effort to not only avoid danger, but to save their own life. These are timely words for today’s children and teens. Too many are staying in the sexual inferno as the building (or their emotional, relational, physical, and spiritual health) burns to the ground. But we must do more than tell them to “RUN!” We must tell them why. Kids should avoid premarital sexual activity not because we said so, but because there are several good reasons to do so. Scripture also gives us many tools.
The overarching story of scripture tells us a ton about God’s grand design for sex as the sex-maker. Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration all hold important truths about sex. Did you know we were sexual before we were sinful? Remember Genesis 1 and 2, which Jesus speaks to later, comes before Genesis 3 when sin becomes a reality.
When we start with Genesis 1 and 2 we find God’s beautiful intent for sex. We learn about unity and oneness. We also learn about desire and pleasure. We cannot deny or forget that sexual desire and curiosity is a good thing that we should expect to exist in all humanity. God is the sexual gift giver, and we are the recipients of this good and wonderful gift. Sadly, the church has failed miserably to communicate this reality. Failing to see how our sexuality was made by God right at the start, woven in and through us, and given to us as a gift for our flourishing. We not only fail to communicate good theology, but our silence and uneasiness with things sexual communicates a horribly flawed theology of our sexuality which leaves young and old alike scrambling to figure out how to understand and live out these powerful drives and desires.
Our silence communicates that sex and sexuality is shameful.
God’s gift of sexuality is meant to bring glory to Him and not distract or take away from Him. I think God’s story reveals His desire for sex to be unifying and bring oneness like we read in Genesis 2:24 “the two will become one flesh”. We also know that sex is more than just physical. It is about the mind, body, and soul coming together in such a way that we are known. In Genesis 4:1, it says “Adam knew Eve”. Notice that it doesn’t say Adam had sex with Eve. Rather it says he knew her. Being known is a part of sex and this can only truly happen in the act of marriage.
Teens who are sexually active often feel used. We shouldn’t be surprised at the emptiness that follows a premarital sexual encounter or the ending of a long-term relationship. God created intercourse to serve as a total expression of the lifelong commitment of marital love between one man and one woman. Take away the lifelong part, the commitment, or the love, and sex becomes empty, cheap, and purely mechanical.
This is why marriage is shared as the place where we are to practice, experiment, and engage in the act of sex. Over and over again scripture points to marriage being the place where sex takes place. And why? Because it is for our protection. Only in marriage can we truly be known. It is a place that allows the beautiful force of sex to be fully expressed. Pleasure…procreation…and desire can all be expressed freely.
Finally, we must recognize all people are horribly broken. Our sexuality is broken too. Yes, we need a robust and realistic theology of sin. When we understand human depravity, we will not be surprised by revelations of sexual sin. Perhaps even more important, a robust and realistic theology of sin should leave us looking inward with great fear and trembling. It will also prepare us for the time that our children make mistakes and we choose to not parent out of anger but rather go after their heart. We must be helping our children…and ourselves…to constantly be cultivating a relationship with Jesus Christ and this comes from knowledge of the bigger story in which we all live.
DriveTime is a tool for you as a parent to get equipped, so you can better engage the world your son or daughter inhabits.
Check out further discussions around ‘Raising Up Youth Who Believe in Sexual Integrity’ on our podcast, DriveTime. Available now where ever you get your podcasts!
Jason Soucinek is the Executive Director and founder of Project Six19. Dedicated to talking honestly about matters of sex, sexuality and relationships. Jason has spent more than a decade engaging audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Walt Mueller is the founder and President of the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding and has been working with young people and families for over 35 years.