How do you talk to your kids about sex and sexuality? It can be an uncomfortable subject.
Here is a phrase I often use when I teach young people about sex: God creates; the world corrupts. God creates food; the world corrupts the use of food. God creates relationships; the world corrupts and uses relationships in ways that were never intended. God creates sex and sexuality; the world corrupts it and turns it into something it was never meant to be.
Unfortunately, too often we address the corruption of such things before building a positive perspective of what God created them to be. By the time we engage youth on a topic like sex, it is often packed full of warnings—”why you shouldn’t”—and do’s and don’ts. Sadly then, what comes across is that God is against sex because it is immoral or unhealthy, and a young person might draw the conclusion that it is sinful and wrong to desire it.
But God is not against sex, he is for it. After all, he is the author of it, and all that God creates is good and worthy of desiring. In a pleasure-saturated society, we have a distinct message that is more than “that’s bad; don’t do it.” We need to be willing to convey this message to our young people sooner and do so in a way that is clear, positive, and bold.
And we need to also speak more clearly about how the world corrupts sex and then wonders why it doesn’t deliver as expected. Sometimes I use an example like this to make my point.
There is a context in which anything that it is created is meant to function well. Take for example, the iphone. It is an amazing piece of technology that can do more things than I can name. Now imagine dropping the iphone off a highway bridge only to be surprised to find when you retrieve it from the pavement below that it no longer works. Then imagine blaming Apple for your phone’s corrupted state and filing a complaint that you have been given a defective phone! Do you see how foolish it would be to blame the creator when, clearly, you were provided the boundaries in which the phone was to work and it was you who chose to misuse it?
The creator of something knows how it is intended to work best. And anytime you go outside of the creator’s parameters, it is inclined to malfunction. God is not a kill joy. He made sexuality and set the context in which it is meant to thrive. We must inspire kids to have confidence that the context in which God calls us to enjoy sex is for our good.
When I convey this message, I hope to surprise young people with these positive truths about sex. Many will never have heard them before. Subsequently, we will also talk about what happens when you corrupt sex and use it in ways that God never intended. Though the world tells us that it is pleasurable and should come without archaic rules, this use of sex will not deliver what it promises. Instead, it will deliver painful consequences, brokenness, shattered dreams, and relational injury. It becomes warped and unrecognizable, a degraded picture of what it was created to be. It may deliver temporary pleasure, but it cannot provide lasting satisfaction and relational harmony.
We live in a culture that promotes a self-absorbed, sensuality-centered lifestyle. If our children are going to learn about sexuality prematurely (and they will), be the one to proactively shape a godly vision of sex. Find winsome ways to talk about it. Make it a vision that inspires confidence in the Creator, and refuses to corrupt that which he created.