When it comes to talking about sex with kids, there shouldn’t be the official sex talk that is super awkward for everyone, but a more ongoing open discussion made up of many smaller conversations like when you’re on a long drive or sitting by a lake. It’s like how kids share more with their friends on sleepovers when things are calm at night and they’re in that sleepy-relaxed state staring at the ceiling rather at the person. Timing is huge for these kinds of conversations and they shouldn’t be very long or intense, but feel safe and connecting. To help the safety feeling, we should focus more on questions than statements where we help them think for themselves like “Do you think society glorifies sex or is it realistic about how great it is?” or “Does TV and movies make sex look like the greatest thing in the world? If it is, why do older people who have done it not care about it as much?” or “What do you think it would be like to have sex with a boyfriend and then that month be late for your period? (Nothing like some realistic fear.) And what do you think it’d be like if you were married, wanting kids, and then you were late?” (Clearly a question for someone in the puberty stage). I will directly share a few thoughts like “Don’t waste your time dating a guy who doesn’t treat you as well as I treat you,” but I’ll more often use leading questions like “Do you think having the self control to save sex for marriage is something you can be proud of or is it something to be ashamed of doing?”
As far as sharing from my own life, a parent should want to have openness to a point with their children. I had a girl in my youth group who said at a sleepover her mom came in and dumped a drawer of sex toys and said, “Just clean them after.” That’s nasty (and a bad sign for that girl’s ideas on sex… which was later proven when she was pregnant at 16). There needs to be some privacy between parents and kids. I know there are things my mom will never know about me and things I never want to know about her – that’s healthy. It grosses me out how open some parents are with their kids. On one level we want to have openness, but on the other, there needs to be mystery and room for blindness and discovery. As Christian Finnegan, a stand-up comedian who grew up Catholic points out, sex is more fun when you think it’s naughty. As a parent, we want to inform, but we don’t want to take that fun away.
As my daughters grow up, there are many points I will cover about sex, but the following are the ones I believe are the most important (or they’re the ones I can think of right now). When and how these come up will depend on their personalities and development, but I certainly won’t trust the school or their peers to be the authority on what they think about sex and life in general.
- On one hand, sex isn’t that special. It’s just sex. It’s not the be all and end all of life (TV lies). On the other hand, it can be a lot of fun and incredible to share with the one to whom you’ve made a commitment. We need to remember the balance; on one hand it’s just sex and on the other it is sacred and wonderful – life is about balance (a message they’ll be sick of hearing from me).
- Being cheap makes you cheap. Treat yourself like you are a limited and rare item (because you are). It’s better to be expensive and only affordable by the very worthy than to be purchased and then returned over and over again. You are a diamond from Tiffanies, not a trinket from the Dollar Store.
- Having sex with guys isn’t an accomplishment. Even the ugliest and fattest girls can get a lot of guys to have sex with them; the guys might need to get drunk first, but they’ll still go for it. The real accomplishment for young people is waiting to have sex at the right time and right person.
- Bad sexual choices can be very damaging, so protect yourself and others. God gave men dingle-berries, so if you ever get in trouble you can punch, kick, or squeeze them to protect yourself. Back up options include poking eyes, bopping his ears at the same time, hitting his nose, or jabbing his throat. Hormones make guys stupid, so help them not be stupid with you.
- Sex isn’t love like eating chocolate isn’t exercising: (someone who disagrees) “But I move my hand and jaw to eat chocolate.” Sex isn’t love, but it can be a lot of fun to talk about, dream about, joke about, and do when the time is right.
- Guys and girls are different. We communicate differently and think differently, which makes true friendships unlikely. Guys who say they are a friend are more likely someone who think you’re hot and want to date you one day, so it’s not a real relationship.
- There are a lot of losers and wolves in sheep’s clothing, and it takes time to filter them out and know who’s actually a good person. Not everyone is as amazing as your Mom and Dad. This sounds like a joke, but it’s true. A lot of young people with good parents assume everyone is good and get in a lot of trouble. On one hand, we shouldn’t judge, and on the other, we should be picky with whom we share our time (balance).
- In your teen years, friends and experiences are more important than having a steady boyfriend.
- Falling in love is fun and exciting while being in love is more comfortable and boring. You don’t start being in love for at least a year until the honeymoon phase is over, so don’t jump into anything too serious in that first year.
- You double your chances of divorce if you get married before 25 and you highly increase your risk of divorce if you don’t finish postsecondary (both true stats), so enjoy being young and flirting. There’ll be plenty of time to be in a committed relationship when you’re 18 or so. Have fun and gather as many fun experiences with friends as you can to help you know what you like and to make you be more interesting because life is more than dating and sex.
- Women have sexual power over men; embrace it and enjoy it, but don’t abuse it. For the record, being a skank isn’t embracing your power; it’s throwing it away because being a skank can get you attention, but it won’t get you real love. If anything, it’ll keep you alone. Men don’t respect skanks or bring them home to their moms. If a guy does, that’s a sign you should run because he’s not a man with integrity or good character.
- It’s good to be comfortable with your own body before you try to share it with others, which means masturbation is something you should explore, but as your parent, I want to be able to pretend it doesn’t happen; please give that to me and I’ll help you feel like you were delivered by a stork.
- Masturbation is healthy, and can be helpful to reduce hormones that can make you do stupid things, but it can easily become an addiction. People need to be careful with it, and show it respect, and above all, keep it private.
- Ask your mom or Auntie about personal girl things (e.g. in a girl’s private, or as my mom called it, the fufu, there are three happy spots; the middle one is the G-spot).
- Every girl has something she wants to change about her body. No one else will care about it as much as you do, so relax. The female body is a beautiful creation. Be proud of yours and enjoy your youth because one day you’ll be old and wishing you had such youthful skin and energy.
- Don’t set yourself up for failure. Be careful what kind of positions you put yourself in whether the guy is a “friend” or not.
- You should only go as far physically as you are committed emotionally with marriage being the ultimate commitment.
- There’s something magical about making out… unless you’ve had sex and then it’s boring. Enjoy making out as long as you can because it’s a lot of fun, and that way you have sex to look forward to one day.
- Don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t respect your body or their own. Not respecting your body includes not exercising your body, mind, heart, and soul, which means video game junkies don’t respect their bodies and a bad choice.
- The right partner will be someone who doesn’t “need” you to do anything sexual for them. They will respect you and your boundaries, and they will have their own. If they try to pressure you into anything, you should dump them because that’s a form of control you won’t want to deal with in marriage. If they are so selfish they demand you be sexual while you’re dating, they’re going to be even more selfish in marriage. Guilt trips are the tool of manipulators and should be a sign to run.
- Under 18 any sexual pictures you have or send are considered child porn; be careful. When you’re over 18, any sexual pictures are at risk of being seen by more than the intended audience. An angry ex boyfriend is capable of screwing you over. Don’t give people ammunition to later use against you.
- For dating, mystery and intrigue are powerful. People who have sex too quickly, really damage potential relationships and themselves (regret sucks).
- You will meet a lot of beautiful people, but there’s a 1% chance they’re a good person to date.
- Most high school sweethearts get divorced because one or both people start to wonder what they missed out on by being committed at such a young age to one person.
- There’s a good chance anyone you date before you’re twenty will be someone you’ll one day look back and wonder, “What was I thinking?” Don’t take dating too seriously before you’re ready to be grown up.
- Real men are loyal, but it takes time to develop their loyalty. There’s a reason there’s the expression, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?”
- Modesty attracts nice guys. Being too bold and out there will scare the nice guys away and draw in the guys who only want a challenge and have no intention of sticking around.
- Skipping to sex like a lot of young people do cheats you out of a lot of great experiences and the fun of exploring. Enjoy kissing: too many people jump into sex without enjoying all the simple things first… or getting good at them. Foreplay should be learned before getting into bed if you ever want to have good sex.
- Sex and your body are not meant to be manipulation tools.
- When you have sex with someone, you give some of your power away. Make sure it’s with someone you can trust with that power.
- A lot of guys your generation are damaged by porn and their expectation is that women just want to have sex without having to do any preliminary work. If a guy thinks that, run. If they threaten to kill themselves if you leave, call the cops and have them put in a hospital.
- Blue balls aren’t a real thing. Even if it was, a guy being horny isn’t your responsibility to fix. He doesn’t need a hand to solve that… he has his own.
- The same nerve endings that tell you you’re experiencing pleasure are the same as the ones that tell you it’s pain; it’s all based on perspective, so sex can be great or horrifying.
- I was once told guys tend to use “love” to get sex and women tend to use sex to feel “love.” Be careful of this trap.
Bonus: The benefits of saving sex
- You can pass an exam by cheating, but you’ll never feel as good about it as if you put the work into it. The same goes with sex. You can have sex before marriage, but you really cheat yourself out of a lot of good feelings and experiences including an incredible sense of accomplishment and pride. It was the best decision your mother and I made.
- If you can wait until marriage for sex, you and your partner will have a stronger sense of trust.
- Saying good-bye is a gift people underestimate. There is nothing better than saying good-bye when you’re upset except maybe the thrill of seeing each other after not seeing each other for a day instead of taking each other for granted.
- Morning hair, breath, eyes… pretty much everything in the morning is horrible, so save that for later. Enjoy looking your best and being your best for each other to create a foundation for when you do get married.
- Any guy who rushes sex is going to be a lousy lover; don’t waste your time on those guys.
- You ultimately demonstrate your love for your future spouse when you enter the dating world and make good choices.
- Sex with one person means less wishing your partner was someone else who was better.
This week may you consider what you think about sex and what should be shared with your kids when the time is right (tip: this should be before they learn everything from school and friends, so you can have more influence).
Rev. Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people (like me)