Updated: Jan 9
You may remember having "The Talk" with your Mom (or Dad) and/or attending that painfully awkward "Our Bodies are Changing" class in 5th or 6th grade. I remember gazing longingly out of the window of my 5th grade classroom at the fun being had by the boys outside while us girls squirmed uncomfortably in our seats and stifled nervous giggles listening to the old nurse tell us about menstruation. Ugh!
Later that night, I sat at the dinner table with my mom, looking over the material I had received that day and distinctly remember the hot prickly feeling on my face as we discussed the upcoming changes that were going to happen in my body. It was not a relaxed or comfortable memory (Sorry, Mom!). I am actually kind of sweating thinking about it right now. Ugh, again!
But learning about SEX? Well, that topic I learned about from my peers - and by overhearing what my older brother and his friends were discussing when they didn't know I was listening 😳. I won't go into what my husband's recollection of how he learned about sex when he was growing up...so let's just say we wanted to do it differently with our kids!
If you want to know more about how our blended family came to be and how to heal from loss, click here.
Here are FIVE ways to honor God, your spouse, and your children by talking about sex:
1. Sex is a gift from God
Far too many women grew up hearing their parents or religious leaders tell them that "sex is bad" in the hopes that they wouldn't have it before they're married. But, when you get married it's not that easy to suddenly undo that rhetoric and enjoy it with your husband!
Let's do it differently for our children!
In our home, we talk about sex being a gift from God for the mutual and exclusive enjoyment of married couples. Sex is something special and wonderful and sacred that Mom and Dad share only with each other. By the way, this absolutely got uncomfortable when our kids eventually asked about us being with their other parents - since we were both married before - but we just honestly told them what was age-appropriate at the time and respectful of their other parents. Basically, we said that when you're not living by following God's way (we weren't), but by following your heart/what YOU think is best for you (we were), many will get hurt. See 1 Corinthians 7.
2. Talk about sex early and often
With our kids, this isn't a talk we had once, but a conversation we talk through over and over again as they grow and develop and change and have more and differing questions. Starting when they were about 4, 5, and 6, we added into our nightly reading routine books from the series, God's Design for Sex. This four-book series begins with The Story of Me for 3 to 5 year olds which discusses how God created boys and girls bodies differently and also addresses safety and privacy issues.
Also, my husband and I have always been appropriately affectionate in front of the children because it's important for them to witness loving, respectful, and playful hugs, touches, and kisses. Also, when bedtime was still a struggle, we would explain how God wants all married couples to have "private time" in their bedroom (nighty-night, kids!). Now that our kids are teens we like to say embarrassing things like: "We're going to bed for some private time" to watch them roll their eyes and groan. But secretly, they love the fact that their parents are so in love that they still enjoy "private time." Also, since we live in Las Vegas, there are a lot of opportunities to discuss the things we see around town, how all people are made in God's image and are to be respected, and how to "bounce your eyes" to have respect for others - especially your future spouse! Once those images get in your head, they STAY there!
3. Use correct terminology
When we got married, our kids were young enough that they still bathed together. We always made sure to use the correct terminology for their parts. "Penis," "vagina," and "anus" were not dirty words in our home anymore than "elbow," "earlobe," or "kneecap." They were simply other parts of their bodies that were covered by their underwear. We believed that by normalizing talking about body parts and actions that were not typically talked about, we could have open and honest conversations about even uncomfortable topics. We surely found out that the discomfort was all us and not them!
In the series I mentioned above, the second book (for 5 - 8 year olds) is called Before I was Born. This one explains that "the husbands penis goes into his wife's vagina." One of our sons stood up when he heard this and exclaimed, "How does that even work?!?!?!" We all giggled and agreed that it sounds really weird now because they are still young and they're not ready to know how all that works. But it is important to START talking about it, so they are armed with the correct information. This will not only help in preventing abuse, but also curb the misuse of this gift that God has given to us to be shared in marriage!
4. Understand child development stages
"An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge." Proverbs 18:15
This is important because young children are naturally curious. They want to know how others are the same and different then themselves. As adults, we sometimes "sexualize" the natural curiosity of children by saying, "Don't look at her!' "Don't talk about that!" "Why would you do that?" But this causes children to think they are bad or wrong for being curious. It should go without saying that it is NOT ok for children to touch or explore each other's naked bodies. But it IS ok for them to be curious, ask questions about, and touch their own. With our boys, we've had many open-ended conversations about pornography (Did you know the AVERAGE AGE for boys to first view porn is NINE?!?!) and talk through movies/shows we watch to answer any questions they may have.
5. Don't just talk the talk, but walk the walk!
"...set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity." 1 Timothy 4:12
If you are a single mom who has a boyfriend stay the night, you cannot possibly expect your children to keep sex within marriage. My husband and I got married quickly - primarily because we knew we were willing to make this marriage work for the long run, and also because we were having trouble keeping our hands off each other! We met in April, had our first date in May, got engaged in August, and were married in September! You see, we were already spending every day and evening together and logistically it was becoming really difficult with the three kids. Since we would NOT spend the night together, we married as soon as possible and never once regretted it. I am not necessarily recommending this for everyone, but for us, if we were going to live by example for our children and other Christ Followers, we needed to get married quickly!
Finally, I hope this provided you with insight on how to honestly and openly discuss sex in your home. But, if you have experienced sexual abuse, please meet with a professional to work through the sins that were committed against you! If someone hurt you, you don't have to carry this burden anymore. There is help, hope, and healing found in God's Word and in His Church - you are not alone. Please reach out!
#ConnectPointMoms helps you create stronger relational connections with the children in your life. This starts with being aware of your own stuff so you can BE PRESENT with your children in the moment you're in, and then knowing and using the best ways to communicate with them!