As a young married woman, I believe I can finally step out and discuss this most intimate subject; one that has, among others, been largely on my mind. Not because I am some pervert, but because I am a loving wife who adores her husband. And because I am so tired of the Church not talking about sex! In most American churches, sex is seen as a taboo. It’s the secret that’s kept under lock and key, and when parents finally have to talk to their kids about it, the only thing that’s explained to them is, “God is ok with sex in marriage but it’s a sin if you have sex before you’re married. Don’t do it before your wedding night!”
Yes, yes, and yes. But they also need to know why. Sex is an incredible gift from God to husbands and wives and it is necessary within a marriage. But God also makes it clear that sex is to only be had within the covenant of marriage.
Christians, we are hurting our kids by not telling them about sex. Yes, there are certain aspects that do not need to be explained right away, but sooner or later, they will have questions. And when they do, to whom will they go? If you are not willing to answer their questions, or you treat sex as a taboo, they will not come to you. Plain and simple. Instead, they will ask the kids on the playground at school, inquire around in the cafeteria, or go to a teacher to get their questions answered. People, our kids need to feel safe coming to us. 9 times out of 10, when sex is mentioned around Christian folks, every lady in the pew turns crimson, and all the men just clear their throats and avoid “that topic”…but we all know the kids at school are very interested in that subject. “Propriety” will not stop locker room conversations and advice. So it all boils down to…where do you want your child to learn about sex? And in what capacity? Do you want to explain to your child or pre-teen that God created sex to bond a husband and wife together, and to make a family? Or do you want some punk in the locker room giving your son the lowdown on how to lure a girl to bed? It’s your choice.
Kris Vallotton, pastor of Bethel Church in Redding, CA believes that parents should begin talking to their children about sex around the age of 9 or 10. It has been proven that when people learn something new, they are far more likely to retain that knowledge and see that information as fact. When the topic is discussed again, that information, and anything new, is run through the mental filter of what they learned before. So basically, the first time you hear the information, the more likely you are to see that as fact and dispel most other information.
The same is true when you talk to your kids about sex. If you are the first one to talk to them about it, and paint sex in a good, wholesome, Godly light, as something to be anticipated once married, then that is the information filter they will use whenever the topic is mentioned again. However, if the punk in the locker room is giving your ten year old son the how-to lesson when it comes to sleeping with any cute girl he wants to, then that’s the filter he will use when his mind goes to sex. It’s scary to think about, huh? It is imperative that Christian parents are the first ones to discuss sex with their children. Parents, make yourselves available for questions. Do not treat the subject as a taboo. Be a safe place where questions are asked and feelings are expressed. Establish a level of trust between you and your child – this trust will benefit your relationship far beyond “the talk.” And be sure to mention that sex is a good thing (only when married.) Do not simply say that sex is bad until they’re married. Be sure to explain why, and what God says about it. Ill-informed kids are kids who will get into trouble, because they will look for, and find, answers in others.
Note: I believe, since God created sex, it is a very sacred and special union that is only to be shared between a husband and wife. Creating a free atmosphere at home to discuss it, can be tricky, but God will show you how to deal with it. There is a big difference between joking about sex flippantly, and discussing it with respect. When Brian and I have children, I want them to be free to respectfully ask questions, and I will give them age-appropriate answers. But I do not want to blush and brush them off when they need to talk, because that is when they will seek outside, questionable sources. Many Christian kids feel ashamed that they have “sex questions.” Let your kids feel comfortable and free to come to you for advice so that you are not only their filter, but their reliable source of information.
I was a homeschooler, raised in a great Christian home where trust was well established in our household. I was very shy and honestly never had questions about sex until I was confronted by a troubled teenager in a playground. She asked me if I knew how babies were made. I swung back and forth on the swing puzzled, realizing I had never really thought about it before. “Well my cat had kittens once, so I know they’re born from their mommy.” She stared at me blankly. “Ok, do you know how they are made? The boy has sex with the girl and she gets pregnant.” I thought back to watching the cats on the porch that summer… “Oh yeah, I saw them mating too. But so what?” She seemed more satisfied with this answer, “Well, how do you think you were made? Your daddy had sex with your mom just like those cats did….” She continued to explain the supposed events in a quite detailed fashion as I squirmed on the swing and tried to think of an excuse to leave.
When I got home, I asked my mom if those things the girl had said were true. Apparently only most of it was, but too late, my mental filter was already created. My mom explained to my 11-year-old-self, briefly, how a family was made. I do not remember how that conversation exactly went, but what I took from it was that sex before marriage was a sin. It was bad and I was never to do it, but after I was married, it was okay. I assumed then, that sex must be bad – although, if I did it when I was married, God was more likely to forgive me then.
I never thought much more about sex until I joined the public school’s track team in 9th grade. There I heard it all. As I sat waiting for the bus day after day, the boys’ locker room conversations flooded out to the bus stop. Detailed accounts of the weekend were joked about, mocked, and exploited. Crude jokes were made. Several conversations, regarding the detailed account of a guy raping a young girl at a party, could be heard around almost every corner. Girls would arrive on Monday, sporting hickies, and talking about how rough their boyfriends were, how much pain they were in, and how they would never “do it again.”
At that point, I came to the obvious conclusion. Guys were monsters. They were just heartless sex-machines who hit up any girl they could, and got a kick out of using and abusing her. I became very reclusive around guys I did not know, and interpreted each look or wink as a threatening advance.
The kids at practice not only painted sex in such a gruesome, and distorted light, but encouraged my previous belief – that all sex was bad, dirty, and evil, even in marriage – but at least in marriage, God forgave it. Listening to their first-hand rape encounters made me decide that I would never, ever, have sex! Even if I got married, we’d adopt!
What would my wedding night be like?
Even after I met my future husband and we began courting, I did not think about sex. Even at 17, it rarely ever crossed my mind; and I was still afraid of it. I trusted Brian, however, and knew that he would never do anything to hurt me, in any way. After about a year of courting, we finally broached the subject. We noticed a blog post a mutual friend had posted on Facebook and we had each read it. He had grown up believing that sex was an important aspect of marriage, but it was never to be had outside of the covenant of marriage. Our parents had always been honest with us, and made themselves available to answer questions and give advice whenever we asked for it. Both Brian and I were virgins, although, he did not see sex as scary or view guys as monsters.
In reading that blog, written by a young wife, she shared her wedding night and honeymoon experience. She explained that the wedding night should not be terrifying for young brides. Yes, there are unknowns; there always are, but when you prepare to be intimate with the man you have promised to adore for the rest of your life, you are more excited to love him than you are scared. Perfect love casts out all fear. When you truly, and fully, love your spouse, there is no abuse or fear. Sex is an incredible thing that God created. Sex is 100% His idea! In a marriage relationship, sex is a way to honor and love your spouse. It is a pure, perfect love as you, and the love of your life, unite in a way that only you can. There is nothing dirty or sinful about it. You are known in a way that only your spouse can know you. You are completely theirs. They are entirely yours. To have and to hold, from that day forward, to love and to cherish, forever.
I realized then, that every time I thought about my wedding night, I pictured in my mind the scene my teammate at track had painted of his rape. That was my filter. I assumed my husband would be so overcome by lust and passion that he would rape me, never giving me a choice – and how could I say “no?” He would be my husband and it was my wedding night. If I was to be the perfect little wife, then I had to keep my mouth shut. But I was missing the big picture. The image in my mind was 100% void of love. Only selfish desire and lust. My teammate did not care about the 14-year-old girl, he just wanted his desire met. Reversely, if my husband did love me, he would honor me – not abuse me.
As I read, I realized that I needed a perspective change. What I was imagining of my wedding night was not love, but selfish lust. The man I married would be a gentleman – a man who loved and adored me. He would do anything in his power to ensure I was safe, comfortable, and happy. The man in my imagination was a monster – but my husband would not be. For the first time, I thought, just briefly, about having sex with Brian if I married him. How would he treat me if we got married? It was weird to think about, but as I thought about how gently he hugged me, how softly he spoke to me, how calmly he regarded me, and how much he loved me, just after a year of dating, I realized my fears were 100% unfounded. If I did marry Brian, or someone like him, my wedding night would not be full of horror and fear, but instead of love and respect.
As Brian and I talked about the blog, I eventually asked him that if we got married, and I was not ready for something, would he wait until I was? He assured me that while he might feel a tad disappointed, he would wait for as long as I needed him to because he wanted me to feel safe and be comfortable. Love is about putting your spouse’s needs above your own, and he was prepared to do that if I would ask him to. That was all I needed to know, that he could be trusted – and gosh, did I love him! A deep peace settled over me then, and neither sex, nor my wedding night was ever a cause of fear again. Up until our wedding day, I rested in the assurance that my husband adored me. And my excitement steadily rose. It is his mission in life to love me, comfort me, protect me, and cherish me.
I have experienced first-hand, how perfect love casts out all fear….