One thing he said I have never forgotten: “You can tell more about a man’s character and destiny by one thing…” I waited on the edge of my seat for his next words. He continued, “…By what he does with his sexuality.” Those words still ring true today.
The most common story is that the father doesn’t talk about this important issue. In this day and time, this sort of passivity is tantamount to spiritual neglect and abuse. The Internet and various media are doing a lot to influence the minds of young people. It is urgent that Dads talk to their teens about the subject of relationships and sacred sex. I am not talking about a one-time talk, but rather, an on-going dialogue at many different points of their lives.
We shouldn’t be afraid to talk about what God created and then said, “It is very good.” The Bible speaks about sex positively and frequently from Genesis to Revelation. We see from the very beginning that human beings are created as sexual beings (Genesis 1:27), and that God blessed the sexual union between a husband and wife from the outset (Genesis 1:28; 2:24).
Our teens need to hear about the meaning of sex. Here are a few things that might help guide your conversations. You are encouraged to study these in the Scriptures. First, you can talk about God’s blessing on the sexual union of marriage to “be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28). Second, you can inform your teen(s) that God designed sex to be pleasurable (Song of Solomon 7:6-10). Third, you can share how sexual intimacy can strengthen the marital relationship and covenant (1 Corinthians 7:3-5). Finally, you can highlight how faithfulness in marriage speaks to the faithfulness and steadfast love of Jesus for his Church (Ephesians 5:25-32). The fundamental story of sex is ultimately the story of God’s love and blessing for his people.
I do not claim to know the best age for you to begin having these conversations with your kids. I just know that too many of us either wait too long to start or never start at all. I highly recommend that you get a copy of the Focus on the Family Guide to Talking with Your Kids about Sex by J. Thomas Fitch and David Davis. It will guide you through the various ages of raising your children.
Here are five helpful tips to inspire you to jump into this topic:
1. Take the Initiative. There are many powerful cultural influencers already communicating with teens about sex—movies, music, commercials, magazines, social networking, and much more. Sex education is happening today with your kids. Will you join in the conversation and influence your children with the Gospel? Paul exhorted us, “Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds” (Romans 12:2).
2. Act with Deliberation and Purpose. These conversations don’t just happen. These conversations are not usually comfortable. We must have a plan and be willing to engage with our kids positively about God’s design for relationships and sexuality.
3. Be Inviting and Accessible. Let your kids know that you want them to come to you about these matters. This means you need to be comfortable talking about sex and relationships. If you have unresolved issues of your own, it is advised that you seek Christian counseling. Let them know you are available, and they are encouraged to ask their questions. You will be honest with them.
4. Be Open and Vulnerable. So many Dads hesitate to talk with their kids about this issue because of shame or guilt over their own past sexual mistakes. Many Dads fear this question from their kids: “What did you do, Dad?” It can be helpful to share that you made mistakes. You’ll have to wisely decide how much to share. Let them know that consequences come from the choices we make—and that can either be pain in one’s life or blessings—depending on our choices. Now is the time to consider your own sexual journey, what you have learned, and what you want to share with your teens. More importantly, highlight that we serve a Redeemer, who forgives us and restores us: “So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!” (2 Corinthians 5:17).
5. Teach and Pray for Influence. Our culture communicates to our kids about sex. The media’s messages are impossible to avoid—they are found in everything from reality TV, movies and advertisements, to online and offline games and social media like Instagram and Facebook.
Our culture is loud and persuasive when it comes to telling their story. We must answer that story with God’s better story, his story of sacred sex. Luke 12:12 says “…for the Holy Spirit will teach you at that very hour what you ought to say.” Dads, be confident! You have what it takes to accomplish this great purpose. God has given you his Holy Spirit who will help. He will enable you to teach your teen a positive and sacred view of sex.