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When Should You Teach Your Children About Sex

When Should You Teach Your Children About Sex?

When Should You Teach Your Children About Sex
When Should You Teach Your Children About Sex

It’s all about the “birds and the bees.” Do you remember the first time you heard about sex from your parents, friends, or school peers?

Kids are learning about sex and becoming sexually active at younger and younger ages. It is important that we teach them good values, boundaries, and standards when it comes to their sexuality and understanding of sex.

Protecting your kids sexually from Douglas Weiss on Vimeo.

The Teenage World

I want you to break into the world of your teenage son for a moment. Do you remember discovering you were sexually attracted to girls and wondering if all the feelings you felt around them made you weird or strange? I can assure you what they are experiencing now is much deeper and more compelling.

The world is a different place. For example, anyone watching an hour of prime-time television is exposed to as many as 15 to 17 sexual innuendos and inappropriate instances per hour. Many teenagers have over 100 channels to choose from right in their home and many of these channels provide sexual images the majority of the time.

On top of that, there is the onslaught of pornography in formats that we have never been exposed to in the past. The internet alone provides millions of sexually explicit pictures for free, is more accessible than ever, and produces more content every day than the largest porn shop in the country ever had in the past.

Growing Up In A Sexualized Culture

Growing up is extremely different for our children and teenagers than it was for us. I would go as far as saying it is much more difficult for them than it was for us.

Research shows us that most of their ideas about sex come from popular culture, not church or religion, or even more importantly, their fathers. As I travel around the country doing men’s and marriage conferences, I frequently ask the men, “How many of you have had more than a three-minute sex talk with your dads?” Often times, not more than 3% will have had a sexual discussion.

That means over 97% of men in the church on average were not told much of anything (if anything at all) about sex and sexuality from a parent. I remember my stepdad trying to talk to me about sex. Our conversation lasted less than 30 seconds. He said, “Doug, keep it in your pants.” The only problem is he didn’t define “it,” and it was already too late.

[bctt tweet=”You are the best role model your kids have when it comes to setting a good example. Be a great one, and don’t let them down!”]

Talking To Our Sons About Sex

That brings up the question of when we should talk to our sons. This is something different for every boy, like shaving, they all get there at different times.

Generally, you need to sit down and have a conversation with your son about sex by the time they are 13 or 14 years old. The next question I hear men ask is, “What do I say, after all my dad didn’t say anything to me?” I have found I have 2 choices in any area that I am responsible for but ignorant in: 1. To get informed or 2. Pay an expert. Unfortunately, this is really your responsibility, so get informed.

We need to break the male curse of sexual silence in our generation. Our sons yearn for current information from a reliable source (they figure you had sex at least once). They need real information from a Godly perspective – preferably from the man in their lives.

Talking To Our Daughters About Sex

Our daughters need guidance as well. Sometimes, so much attention is placed on the boys that girls can fall by the wayside. Having these talks are also important, and they are best done from a women to women perspective. However, they also need fatherly support in this area as well.

Young ladies need help understanding themselves, how to create boundaries, understand boys, and place value in themselves.

Our children have been totally isolated during their sexual development for too long. This has made them rely on the world for their sex education. Many of the people I treat with sexual addictions have never had a sex talk with their parents.

We can change the course of our kid’s sexual destinations if we develop the courage to talk to them about sex and sexuality. It is not the youth pastor’s job to talk to your sons and daughters. It is yours. Let’s cover a few things to help you with this task of shepherding your children sexually.

How To Bring Up Sex and Sexuality With Our Children

The first thing we need to do is to shift paradigms from having “the talk” (which seems to refer to a one-time experience) to a paradigm of ongoing shepherding and mentoring.

Mentoring and Sex

We can’t have one sex talk to equip our children, it’s just not enough. Your son needs an ongoing dialogue about his sexuality. For your first discussion, you may want to prepare for it by suggesting you read a book together which you discuss. Some men have taken their son away for the weekend just to do this introduction into the dialogue about sexuality. Let your son know that this is part of “becoming a man” and that God is growing him up.

Take time to communicate God’s perspective on sexuality as you understand it. A good way to practice this is to role play it with a male friend, pastor, or adult male you trust. Don’t role play with your wife; she does not have a male sexual perspective. This is definitely a “guy thing.”

For an initial discussion with a young women, plan a special date out to a nice tea room or some place similar. Create an environment that is special and memorable and make them feel as valued as the treasures they are.

Thou Shall Not

The topics that need to be covered are more than ‘thou shall not.’ If you focus just on what our children can’t do, they will think sex is just external and ‘as long as I don’t touch or do x, y, or z I’m ok’. So, they may not get involved physically but think it’s ok to ___ (fill in the blank). Guys tend to lust and watch pornography. Girls tend to act out in other ways to receive attention from guys. If you don’t discuss it, you can’t expect your son or daughter to know what to ask about their internal sexuality.

Make sure you cover the issue of lust in your discussions with your kids. With guys, make sure you talk about wet dreams and why they happen so he doesn’t think he is “leaking” for no reason or that he is weird. With girls, you can talk about their periods, cycles, and why they are special. Talk about sexually transmitted diseases tactfully. Never forget to talk about the risk and responsibility of pregnancy. This should include how “unsafe” condoms really are. I tell teens the only safe sex is no sex.

What About Masturbation?

This is more of a guy problem, but more and more girls are also falling into this trap. The whole issue of masturbation needs to be addressed directly. This is where you need to be brave. Do not presume they will not masturbate (I have only met 19 men in my travels so far who have this testimony). If you’ve never masturbated then maybe your son has a gene pool chance at being number 20.

Again, if you need information here – obtain it for both of you. You are probably the only role model and the only sex expert your children have, so be a great one!

Sex Check Ins

This is an ongoing parent-child issue. As stated earlier, this is not a one-time thing. For example, I encourage men to have a short sex check in discussion with their sons about these issues once a month.

If you start early enough and are consistent, you can help your children not only be sexually secure but also sexually healthy. Also, importantly, you will have the opportunity to guide them and influence their sexual decisions. Your children are already saying, “Dad can we talk?” What’s the answer?

Next Steps

You can help your sons understand their sexuality and become better prepared for the future with Born For War. This DVD gives young men the inside track on the sexual traps they face.

For girls, you can help your daughters prepare for the future with Princes Take Longer Than Frogs. This DVD helps young women successfully navigate through the season of dating and understand their sexuality as women.

Douglas Weiss, Ph.D. is the president of the American Association for Sex Addiction Therapy. He is also the executive director of Heart to Heart Counseling Center in Colorado Springs.

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