As a youth pastor, one of the biggest hurdles that I face is talking to students about sex and purity. I will say that our teens are way more sexually active at a younger age and higher pace. They are marinated in a sexualized culture. Sex is everywhere around them. It is prevalent in their movies, tv shows, music, and their social media. They are so imbedded in that culture that telling them to abstain until they get married is a foreign concept to them. I mean just the looks they give, the chuckles, the comments, and the sheer fear in their eyes is enough to try your soul. I am going to give you three things I hear from youth when engaging in talks about sex and sexual relationships.
#1. Monkey See, Monkey Do. This one will step on some parents toes, but truth is truth. If you as a parent are “playing house” or “shacked up” have you stopped to think what message that sends to your kids? Maybe you have a revolving door of lovers or change boyfriends or girlfriends every two months. Maybe you are older and don’t want to mess up your checks. Maybe this, maybe that, whatever the reasons, what are you telling your kids? The phrase “more is caught than taught” is exactly what happens when it comes to teens observing their parents and their parents relationship. If you as a parent are casual in your sexual exploits, your kids will be too. If you are cool with significant others living with and then moving out, your kids will be too. Oh and by the way, your kids hate that. I hear it all the time how much teens hate their parents moving somebody in and then moving them out when it all falls apart and the drama it causes. Teens crave a safe place and a steady foundation. A revolving door of lovers just does not supply that foundation.
#2. How far is too far? I get this question a lot from teens. Now parents, hold on, it is about to get rough and real. Teens want to know where the line is. Is oral sex too far? Is anal sex too far? Is mutual masturbation too far? Is kissing too far? Is hand holding too far? Is this too far or that too far? They are looking for lines in the sand and the problem is, there is no line in the sand. The issue is a spiritual issue. Jesus calls us to live Holy lives. 1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.” This is where the main issue lies. Purity is a Holiness issue. How do we become Holy in our sex lives? See you can not tell a teen where a boundary line is because they will push against that boundary ever single time. You have to start with their mind and their soul. We will talk about their mind in the next point, but their soul is all about their salvation. If they know Jesus and have accepted Jesus, then their soul is secure for eternity. Now comes the path of sanctification. Sanctification is a fancy theology word that means the process of becoming Holy. Heres the good news, we will never be completely Holy here on Earth, we will receive perfection and Holiness when we come into Heaven. That is great news for us. Now the bad news, here on Earth after we are saved we begin a journey down the path of Sanctification. This path is the learning path. It requires disciple, prayer, growth of Christian character, and grace. It is here where a lot of Christians fail to discipline their sexual characteristics. Teens need guidance in their lives in all facets. My last blog was about money, where teens definitely need guidance. Well, sex is another place where they need guidance. You as the parent are equipped to give that guidance. When we talk about purity, the only people talking about it that your teens here from should not be the pastor, the youth pastor and some random person at school. It starts at home. It starts with you parents. Here is a tip parents, it needs to start earlier than you think. The age of the first exposure to porn is 12. So before 12, you have to be talking to them about sex and all the things around sex. Heres a little phrase for you to keep in mind. “Your kids are going to talk to someone about sex, who is it going to be?”
#3. G.I.G.O. This is a computer term for Garbage In Garbage Out. This is where the mind comes into play. Our culture is saturated with sex. Last summer I made a Facebook Post about the song W.A.P. and asked the parents if they knew about it and the TikTok dancing to go with it. Most parents did not. One parent messaged me about her conversation with her then 8th grade daughter. She asked her teen if she knew what it meant and said the color left her face and she stuttered, yes. Mom asked her what it meant and she said I can’t say that to you! Them mom responded with what I think is an absolute gem of a parenting quote. “Well if you cannot say it to me maybe you shouldn’t be listening to it.” No judgement, no rash behavior, just good clean communication in the parenting. As parents we have to be diligent about our kids social media. As the father to a teenage son, it is amazing how many half naked girls are on social media these days and are not afraid to show it off for these teenage boys. So I have to be diligent about keeping up with his social media inbox and text messages. At my house we do talk a lot about sex. It is not a off limit, hushed topic. It is front and center and talked about. It is not something any teen should be ashamed or embarrassed about. What we have done and continue to do is monitor the types of music, types of shows, and types of movies that we allow to be watched. We keep an eye on the friends, girlfriends, and people in their lives. We encourage healthy communication about sex. Is it easy? No. Is keeping an observant eye easy? No. Is it worth it? Yes.
How many people have broken lives, broken hearts, and broken families because of sex? The number is super high and it may be you. Our teens are not immune to it either. “He said he loved me!” I have heard more teenage girls say that to me than I would care to admit after a boy played them and was only interested in the sex. What is left is a teenage girl who is broken, guilty, and ashamed and that is not how God wants us to live. It is why sex is for marriage and marriage only. It works best in that design. So what do I tell those girls? My standard answer is that God forgives, forgets, renews us, and strengthens us anew. As the father of a teenage boy, I have always guided Him that a Godly man waits until marriage and does not force girls or manipulate girls into anything. The idea is that as the future head of the household, a man leads himself, his wife and his kids to be Holy. That starts the first date. He should lead her to be Holy. Not spiritual, which is based on feelings and appearances , but Holiness based on Jesus and His plan. A couple that follows that plan has nothing but the opportunity for success.
Parents, talk to your kids about sex often. Keep a tab on their media intake and most importantly, model a Godly example in your own lives. If you struggle with that part, find you a local church and get plugged in. Read that Bible and seek God in prayer. I know that seems old school and old fashioned but it works!!