When To Have The Sex Talk?

October 04, 2022

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Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.

Hello, friends, and welcome to the Foundation Worldview Podcast. This is a podcast where we answer your questions with the goal of equipping you to get the kids that God has placed in your care, carefully evaluating every idea they encounter so they can understand the truth of the Christian worldview. I'm Elizabeth Urbanowicz, your host, and I am so excited that you've joined me today for this episode. Now, we receive a lot of questions coming into our, our organization about sex and sexuality, just because that is such a hot topic in our culture. So today's question is, do you recommend we talk to our children as a group or individually about sex? That's a great question. I'm sure some people watching just have one child. So then the answer is very clear. And others of you may have multiple kids. So that's a great question.

And anytime we're seeking to answer a question, I always recommend that we ask ourselves what is the goal? So what is the goal in talking with our children about sex and sexuality? Now, my good friend Christopher Yuan, he always says that our goal really should be that we have our kids understand, embrace and celebrate biblical sexuality. So I'll say that again, that our goal should be that our children will understand, embrace and celebrate biblical sexuality. That we want the children God has placed in our care to understand God's good design. Because when God gives us gifts, he always places parameters around those gifts because he understands those gifts better than anyone because he's their author, he's their creator. And so we want our children to understand, embrace and celebrate God's good design. So another question then that we have to ask ourselves is, how has God designed our children?

Because if we wanna know, should we talk to our kids in a group about sex, should we talk to them individually? We need to understand the ins and outs of our children. Okay, how has God designed them? Okay. Are they more relational and they do great and larger group settings? Okay. Are they more one-on-one geared? Now, when it comes to sex and sexuality, I think the best place to start is always individually just because it is a sensitive topic, because it is such a special gift that God has given us. And so we wanna make sure that each of our children feel comfortable asking questions, okay? And letting us know what they're thinking and what they're feeling. And a lot of times when we're talking about more sensitive topics, it can be easier in a one on one setting. Now, if you have twins who love to do everything together, that might be a situation where it's good to talk with them about sex and other serious topics together.

However, in most situations, I would recommend talking one on one. Also, just as a few helpful hints for having this conversation, that we know in our culture that we need to make sure that we start talking with our children about sex and sexuality early, because we wanna make sure that we are the first ones to have this conversation with them. In a webinar that I did a while back with my friend Hillary Ferrer, she talked about this psychological phenomenon where whoever is the first person to introduce a topic to someone, that person views that person as the experts. So if we wait until our children have already heard about sex or sexuality from YouTube, from TV, from a classmate, from a teacher, from a friend, our children are then gonna view that person as the expert.

Or who do we want them to view as the expert? Us because we're the ones who love them. We're the ones who God has given us this authority to grow them and train them, and we're the ones who want what is best for them. So really encourage you to have this conversation at a young age. In another webinar that I did a little while back with Christopher Yuan, we recommended starting to talk with children about sex and sexuality at age three. Now, I know that might seem like a very young age, but when we're talking with them at this young of an age, we make sure that we get to be the first ones to introduce it, and starting this young, we can build up the positive foundation for God's good gift. Now, we don't need to get into all of the mechanics and all of the details, but just introducing it. And especially having a conversation about sex with a three year old, for them, it's a lot less awkward than having that conversation with a nine year old just because of where they are developmentally.

Now, if you're thinking, "Okay, I see the wisdom in this, but I have no idea how to start this conversation." There's a really great online course that you can subscribe to that has 10 videos, just walking you through how to have each different conversation with your child at different ages and stages of development. And it's called the Birds and Bees Course. Highly recommend it. They do a great job of just showing you how to developmentally appropriate talk with your kids about sex and sexuality. Another thing that's really important when we have these conversations with our children is that we're not presenting this in a negative way. We don't wanna start off with what's the no? Don't do this, don't do that, don't do this, don't do that. Because the nos are there because of the really amazing, yes. Okay, What is the yes, what is the positive theology of sexuality?

So we wanna make sure that we're presenting this as a good gift, that this is something that is so special. That God gave this gift, that it's so special and he gave it for a husband and a wife. And we wanna make sure that we're building up this positive theology. For talking with older kids my friend, Hillary Ferrer, in her book, Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality, she walks us through how, what, really what sex is. Is sex, is the bodily recitation of the marriage vows. And so every time a husband and a wife come together and, for the act of sex, what they're doing is they're re-promising to one another, those vows that they made at the altar. And so we want our children to understand that the sexual relationship between a husband and a wife is, is such a good thing because what it's doing is it's re-solidifying that promise and that promise to be faithful to one another, to love one another, to honor one another, to care for one another.

This is something that makes our children very, very safe. Another analogy that's an easy one to use, and I think it's in the Mama Bear Apologetics book, is just talking about how the more powerful things are that, that the more parameters we need around them. And so we can talk with our kids about a fire. Okay? You can build a fire in the fireplace or build one out in the fire pit in the backyard, okay? Roast some marshmallows, have a fun time, and then talk about, look at this fire. What are all the good things that come from this fire? Oh, we get, we get warmth. On a cold winter night, we can build a fire and we can snuggle up next to it and stay warm. We also get heat from it if we want to. We can roast some marshmallows, we can roast some hot dogs, we could cook an entire meal over this fire.

Talk about all of the good things that come along with this fire. And then say, "Well, you know, what, what if, what if we decided that, you know what? We don't like just having the fire in the fireplace. You know what? We wanna have the fire, we wanna have the fire in the middle of the living room. What would happen if we took the logs out and we built this fire in the middle of the living room?" And have your kids talk through, "Oh my goodness, what would happen? Whole house would set on fire. Everyone, everything we own would be destroyed. And you know what? Even some of our family members could be destroyed. Or what happened if we decided we didn't wanna build the fire in the fire pit, we just wanted to build it right in the middle of our backyard? What might happen?

Our house might catch on fire. Our neighbor's house might catch on fire. We're gonna destroy our neighborhood. We might even harm some of our neighbors." And talk about, because fire is so powerful, fire needs to be contained within healthy boundaries. And it's the same with sex and sexuality, that sex is a very powerful gift. Sex can produce life, sex bonds two people together. And when we take that gift within the proper boundaries that God has given us in the context of marriage, that gift is so powerful. It creates a family. It creates a deeper love and connection between a husband and a wife. But when we decide that we wanna take that gift outside of the boundaries that God has given us, what we're doing is it's like building a fire in the middle of the living room. That that good gift that's so powerful, taken outside of the proper boundaries, suddenly becomes destructive.

And so we want our children to understand, okay, first the positive behind this, that we're starting positively, so that they understand that sex is a good gift from God. And like any good gift that is powerful, there are certain boundaries around that gift, both to protect that gift and to protect us. So we want them to understand this positive understanding of sex and sexuality. And then after that, that's when we can get into, "Well, you know what? What are some of the ways that humans sometimes take this good gift and take it outside of the boundary, start the fire in the middle of the living room? Well, sometimes people think they should be able to have sex with somebody who's not their husband or not their wife." And so then to talk as they get older, what are some of these ways in which people have taken the boundaries off of the gift?

And then because this gift is so powerful, what are some of the destructive things that come when this gift has been taken outside of its proper boundaries? Another thing that's really important to talk about in this conversation is pornography. Because pornography is so prevalent. And when I say pornography, I'm talking about everything from this seductive ad that pops up on YouTube where a woman has some cleavage showing to hardcore, violent, pornographic videos. There's a whole wide spectrum of pornography, but it's definitely along a continuum that once you get started on one, it's really easy to continue down that path. And pornography is predatory, okay? It is purposely coming after us and our children with the way that things have been set up online. So we need to be so careful to have these conversations with our children. Again, even at three years of age, you can start with a really simple conversation just about, you know what, "Let's look at some pictures." And show, you know, show some pictures of your family, and then talk about good memories.

And then say, "You know what? These are really good pictures because these pictures remind us of people we love." Then talk about, "You know what, sometimes people take bad pictures, and what a bad picture is, is when all of someone's body is seen. You know, the parts of our body that are covered up when we go swimming, sometimes people will take pictures or videos were, there's no clothes on. And you know what? Those are bad pictures." And then talk about what should happen when as soon as they see a bad picture. Talk about, "The first thing you should do is come tell mommy or daddy. Okay? And we're gonna be so proud of you for being honest with us." If you're in a school setting, talk about, you know, "If you, if you're on the school computer and something comes up, what I want you to do is come to me or to the nearest adult, okay? And tell them what you saw."

With older kids, you can talk about, "You know, you're either gonna feel really embarrassed or really curious when you see this picture. No matter which emotion you feel, the first thing you should go do is go tell an adult." Because I know so many people, especially young men, who when they were 8, 9, 10 years old, they bumped into pornography online. They didn't tell anyone about it, and it became an addiction that grew and grew and grew and grew and grew until it had detrimental effects on their marriage. So we wanna make sure that we're preparing our children at a young age for the escape plan, what to do immediately if they encounter pornography. Another thing to be, that's really important to do is as our children get older and older, to introduce them to terms that they're going to hear in culture, terms that they might be embarrassed to talk with us about, okay?

Specific things like oral sex, anal sex, masturbation, pornography, different things like that. Because a lot of times what happens is our kids are smart and they know where to go when they have a question. And usually if they're eight on up, the first place that they go is Google. And we do not, do not, do not, do not want our children Googling these words, because if they Google these words, the things that pop up again are gonna be predatory and can just start in this negative spiral that's going to have them enslaved for life. So it's so important that we cover these words with our children, even if they don't wanna hear it, to say, "Okay, we're gonna talk about a word today that you might hear, and it's gonna have to do with sex taken outside of the good boundaries that God's given." And talk about the term, okay?

And even if your kid doesn't wanna make eye contact and feels uncomfortable, press through it. Because what you're doing is you're protecting them for the day that they hear that word, so that they will understand what it means. And they're not gonna go off asking Google what that is, or asking a peer who's in the same position as them and might point them in a really negative direction. Okay? So those are just some, some tips for talking with kids about sex and sexuality. Also, just as a general rule, it's always wise, whenever we're talking with people about something we want them to learn, to include three positives for everyone negative. So every time we're talking about a deviation from God's good design, we wanna make sure that we're reinforcing three times the goodness of God's gift of sex and sexuality when placed within its proper context.

The final thing I wanna encourage you to do, as I encourage parents and pastors, church leaders, Christian educators, in almost every situation, just pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. Pray that God would give you wisdom in these conversations, that your words would be clear, that they would be in line with scripture, that they would be honoring to God. Pray for your child, that God would soften his or her heart, that your child would feel the weight of his or her sin and her, their need for Jesus, and that they would come to know Jesus. Pray that God would protect them from pornography, from other forms of sexual deviation.

Pray that God would create, h- help you create this open relationship with your child, where your child will feel comfortable enough to come to you with all of their questions and their concerns, and that they wouldn't go out there just to look for answers. Or the people who they're gonna be talking with, or the machines or robots they're gonna be talking with don't actually have their best in line. So, pray, pray, pray, pray, pray. Well, that's all for our episode today. But as always, my prayer for you is as you leave this time together, that God would richly bless you as you continue to intentionally disciple the children that he has placed in your care. I'll see you next time.

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