Creating New Messages for Teens About Sex

I’ve encountered many men and women in Awaken Love classes that felt less than grateful for the messages they received as teens about sex from the church. Not only were the messages ineffective in helping them wait for marriage, they did nothing to help them embrace sex once married. So what can the church learn from the past that will help them create new messages for teens about sex?

The Past

Many women remember horrifying illustrations of flowers losing their petals, or an Oreo cookie passed around for people to spit on. The analogies conveyed that sexual choices outside of marriage ruined your life, but did little to communicate about God’s redemption, or the beauty of sex within marriage. Once kids crossed lines, life often spun out of control. Already ruined and filled with shame, girls figured they might as well just keep going.

“I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and father daughter purity rings left strong impressions. While they helped some stay pure, others felt the standards only made things worth. Lines impossible to hold, or already crossed caused many to give up trying. Worse yet, teens resorted to living double lives. The goal of purity and rules outweighed honesty, authenticity and even their relationship with a loving God.

I have no doubt that leaders in church had good intentions as they encouraged men and women to wait until marriage for sex, but I also think we can and must do better. Rather than just talk about purity, we need to clearly communicate the powerful gift that sex is in marriage. Instead of just telling kids they will be damaged goods if they don’t wait, we can share some of the natural consequences of choices made before marriage. We also must do everything to help kids integrate God into their sexuality. Rather than a list of rules we involve God in our choices. A relationship with Christ is the main focus, not coming to the altar unblemished.

What is God’s Design for Sex?

Rather than use scare tactics messages to reinforce the message, “Don’t Do It”, let’s help our kids understand what they are waiting for and why.

Mutuality

Teens must understand that sex is a beautiful, powerful gift from God. It is something to look forward to in marriage. Song of Songs illustrates mutuality in marriage – even when culture did not. Cultures message that sex is a need and a right for men is completely wrong. Husband and wife should redefine sex in a way that will work for both husband and wife in order to make sex mutually enjoyable.

Oneness

Our kids must understand that God created to unify husbands and wives. That takes great trust for a wife. Many messages tell us that men use women for sex. Boys that don’t push boundaries before marriage will help a wife trust that her husband cares more about her than sex.

Teenagers also need to understand the natural consequences of short circuiting the intimate connection that God intended during sex. When teens partake in the hook up culture they treat sex as nothing more than physical pleasure. Once married they will struggle to experience the intimate connection that God intended until , until they grieve the past choices they made and the things done to them.

Knowing

Teens need to understand that sex does not come naturally like it is depicted in media or porn. Great sex that lasts a lifetime requires intentionality and vulnerability. Each time you both show up and say, “what can I discover today?”

Experiences outside of marriage create challenges. Comparing the adrenaline driven sex outside of marriage can mask the satisfaction of real intimacy.

Rather than just teach that porn is wrong, teens need to understand the impact it can have. Porn can cause performance pressure that makes us worry and short circuit the natural responses of our body like arousal, erection and orgasm. We can also waste our time recreating something we’ve seen, rather than discovering our spouse. Past porn can make sex feel dirty, so we don’t enjoy the freedom that God intends. Keeping ourselves pure, is God’s good plan to protect us and our future spouse.

God can heal past experiences but it will take honesty and work. We should help teens understand the importance of getting healthy before marriage. When they seek healing in community, they can enter marriage open about their past committed to work towards intimacy.

Involve God

Not every answer about sexuality is simple or spelled out in the bible. Rather than give our teens a bunch of rules, let’s create new messages about sex that will equip them to make good choices and discern with God. They will use the skill not only use in singleness but in marriage, or any stage of life.

Masturbation is a great discussion to help teens understand how to involve God in their choices. After exploring what the bible says, or doesn’t say about masturbation, challenge them to come up with biblical principles that apply to their choices. Things like.. don’t lust, or you shall have no God before me, or not everything is beneficial… Even God’s character helps us discern. God created us for relationship with Him and with others. If masturbation is making us hide, or lie, then it is probably not beneficial for us.

Don’t make the choice for them. Help them involve God and keep involving God, because choices can change.

We must have the courage to admit we don’t have all the answers about sexuality for teenager, but God does. Challenge teens to pray, ask God, and have the courage to follow Him.

Teens also need to understand that God cares about all of them – even their sexuality. God can forgive and heal sexual sin just like he can other sins. More than our purity, he desires their heart. He wants them to fall in love with Him, and to fall down at His feet and receive His unfailing love when they feel broken. Create new messages for teens about sex by including messages about redemption.  Many will stumble, and God can help them get back up and give them a fresh start.

Responsibility

Too many times, we give teens someone to blame for their choices about sexuality. “If girls just didn’t wear those clothes”. “If he hadn’t slept with his past girl friends then I would not have had to sleep with him”.” If she hadn’t flirted with me, I wouldn’t have lost control.” Teens need to learn to take responsibility for their choices, regardless of anyone else’s actions.

Boys can learn to battle lust. They can turn their head and find something else to do. They can even control their mind and decide not to bring those images up in their mind to enjoy later. Affirm the courage for teenagers to reach out for help when they struggle with porn, questions about sexual feelings, or choices about masturbation. Boys can also be taught to protect and respect women regardless of what they wear or how they act. Waiting for marriage should be a goal for boys as well as girls.

Girls should be taught not to turn a boy’s head to feel important or noticed. They need to dress in a way that  they respect themselves and honor God. They must take responsibility for their own choices, but not for ones taken from them. Encourage them to reach out for help if they’ve been wounded sexually, or struggles with sexual addiction. Girls must learn not to put themselves in unsafe situations and must look out for their friends when they go out.

Final Thoughts

Have the courage to create new messages for teens about sex. Most have been exposed to far more than we realize. To gain their ear, we can no longer resort to simple answers of “Don’t do it” before marriage. Our kids need to understand what they are waiting for and how their current choices impact them. Messages about purity must be balanced with messages about God’s redemption. Rather than teaching our teens simple rules, we must equip them to discern God’s will for their life. We must value honesty and integrity more than purity. We all have sinned and fallen short, but God loves us and can give us a fresh start. Let’s help our teens start working towards sexual heath and wholeness today.

Include God in Your Conversations About Sex

Conversations about sex and God rarely take place together. Somehow we have separated our creator from one of the  most powerful experiences He made for us. Yet God has a lots to say about our sexuality and any hard topic that the world challenges us with. When I made my list about what I want to communicate to my kids about sex, many of the truths involved God. Don’t depend on your church to talk about sex or other hard topics with your kids. Include God in your conversations.

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Start Talking to Your Kids About Sex Today

When I speak to moms groups about sex they often ask, “When should I start talking to my kids about sex?” They are probably hoping for a little more time to prepare. But none of us have more time. Culture, media, schools and porn are educating our kids everyday about sex. If you want your kids to have a biblical view about sex and other hard topics, then you can no longer remain silent.  One of the most important choices we will make as a parent is to start talking to our kids about sex, today.

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How to Have Conversations with Your Kids About Tough Topics

Conversations about hard topics like sex, masturbation, or porn can feel scary and awkward for everyone involved. A simple formula can help make the experience positive so that it happens again and again. Create a great conversation by sandwiching the contents of your conversation between Affirmation and Availability. Just like a good book, your kids will remember most how the conversation started and how it ended.

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Before You Talk About Sex, Work On Yourself

Even though you might know what you want to say, most people cannot just decide to talk about sex and effectively communicate.  Our reaction, tone, attitude and even silence communicate more about sex than our words. Before your kids even hear your words, they will pick up on your emotions. Things like fear, discomfort and awkwardness powerfully convey how you really feel. If you want your kids to believe your words than you have you have to believe them yourself. The most important thing that you can do to help your kids embrace God’s truth about sex, is for you to work on yourself.

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What Do You Want to Communicate to Your Kids?

When we think about talking to our kids about sex, we worry about fielding the embarrassing questions our kids might ask. Questions like, “How are babies made?” or “What is a blowjob?” But what if our kids never ask questions about sex? What if they’ve already picked up on how uncomfortable the topic makes us. Or maybe the world is already providing plenty of answers. Do you really want to leave your kids education about hard topic like sex, masturbation, pornography or LGBTQ to someone else? What truths do you want to communicate?

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5 Ideas for Couples Struggling to Connect After a New Baby

Recently I received an email from a woman that had taken an Awaken Love class. Though she has embraced God’s design for sex, the arrival of another baby has left her struggling to connect with her husband.

I just had a baby about two months ago. During pregnancy and now with an infant and toddler our intimate life has been a struggle. I’m really having a hard time getting in the mood. I have a baby nursing all day long and still have some residual healing that needs to take place post birth. My husband is getting sexually frustrated and I’m sort of at a loss. It feels like I serve the kids all day long and then don’t have it in me to serve him by being there sexually. I feel like my body is just a milk machine. Do you have any advice? Is it okay to be less intimate during this life phase? I just mentally struggle with feeling like I’m ‘faking it’ with him because I do not feel sexual or turned on, no matter how hard I try 🙁 Any advice would be wonderful!

Seasons of life filled with exhaustion present extra challenges. But I am so glad this young mom asked for advice. Instead of letting the lack of sex drive a wedge in her marriage, working together they can embrace the opportunity to redefine intimacy. No easy answers exist for the exhaustion that babies, nursing and raising kids create. So let me just offer a few ideas for couples to ponder and maybe try….

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10 Practical Tips to Make Sex a Priority

Even when you have a great mindset, making sex a priority when you are raising kids can be challenging. Exhaustion, busyness and feeling over touched can all play a role. Living in survival mode with little time to talk or play leaves our reserves depleted and disconnection can feel hard to overcome. Breaking the cycle and making sex a priority often requires some very intentional choices.

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A New Mindset to Embrace Sex when Parenting

Raising kids is hard! Even though I am now an empty nester, I remember well the days of changing diapers, wiping spit-up off my clothes and interrupted nights of sleep. With 4 kids under the age of 6, I wish I had known then what I know now about sex. Surviving those years, I often felt isolated, exhausted, and on opposite teams from my husband. Sex always seemed to be the last thing on my “to do” list. I found myself feeling resentful when Jim would gently coax me towards connection. Though I am sure some practical choices might have helped for a while, they would have just acted like a band-aid that eventually falls off. What I really needed was a whole new mindset toward sex.

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Beyond Purity – Living with Sexual Integrity

Our world has drastically changed in the last 30 years. The internet provides endless knowledge, opinions and images – both positive and negative. Definitions for marriage and sexuality continue to morph as culture changes. We live in a fast-paced world constantly bombarded with sexual messages. And most churches have failed to respond to the challenges and real questions that people face.  Rather than focusing on sexual purity we need to strive to equip people to live with sexual integrity, no matter our age or marital status. God creates us as sexual beings from the day we were born until the day we die. Rather than a sprint for purity that we win or lose, we must strive to live with sexual integrity every day of our life.

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