Here’s How I Will Try Inspire My Kids To Not Have Sex Too Soon
Here’s How I Will Try Inspire My Child To Not Have Sex Too Soon.
I had sex way too soon, and I don’t want the same for my kids. I am guessing most parents would not want their kids to have sex while they are still in school, yet we are not sure how to dissuade them.
We could use fear tactics (“You may get caught / pregnant / catch a STI!”) but I propose that there’s a much more effective and positive way –
Teach them what sex is, in particular the emotional and spiritual side of sex.
I know it’s lock-down so few teens are able to get jiggy even if they want to, but instead of us parents backing down on the subject, now’s the perfect time to talk with our preteens and teens. This downtime allows us to lay a foundation of sexual wisdom that will hopefully deter them from succumbing to their hormones, curiosity or pressure from another the next time an opportunity comes their way.
I’ve done a lot of thinking about this post. I heavily complicated my own teen years through premature sex. I worked with teens for a decade of my early adult life as a Life-orientation teacher. I wrote a million-print Youth Bible about sexual sanity for teens. With my own kids growing faster than bamboo, I’ve planned what I want to say to them just before as well as after they embark into the land of sexual possibility, adolescence.
If you read previous posts, you know I don’t advocate a single ‘birds and bees’ talk. There’s just too much to cover. This post is part 4 in a 7-part conversation. (See the end of this article for the outline.)
Let’s get to it. Here’s what I want to say. Feel free to adapt whatever you find useful:
“For many years your body will be ready for sex, but you won’t be.
With puberty comes sexual feelings and attraction. You may experience this as a crush on, or a strong desire to be physically close to someone. You might even find yourself imagining what it would be like to have sex with this person. This is all very normal. And it is all part of preparing you for one day when you commit to a soul-mate, and are able to celebrate your love for each in a sexual way.
But here’s some wisdom for you: these sexual feelings and capacities do not mean you are anywhere ready to have sex with someone. For reasons that remain a mystery to me, the physical side of sexual capacity comes far far sooner than our emotional and spiritual side are ready for sexual intimacy.
If you find someone sexually attractive one day, and they want to have sex with you, it doesn’t mean you should. Let me tell you why. I have FIVE reasons:
REASON ONE: SEX IS LIKE A RIVER.
Like all rivers, it’s a blessing, unless it breaks its banks.
When I drive through Laignsburg, a small desert town, I spot a little river that sustains and refreshes these people, then I remember how in 1981 it flooded its banks and drowned 100 people. Sex is like a river. It can bring good things to a town/life. Then again, if it breaks its banks, it can do great damage.
Sex is meant to be a great blessing to people. Not only is it how mommy and daddy got to have you, but it is one way that mommy and daddy show our love for each other, and it helps us feel closer to each other. And it feels amazing.
But there are TWO RIVERBANKS that need to be in place in a relationship so that sex is a blessing and not a flood.
They are 1) deep friendship and 2) enduring commitment. Feeling strongly attracted is not enough. You need to really know and care for each other. And this mustn’t be someone who might not be there with you in a month or a year or even five years. Never give your body to someone who is not giving you their friendship and their commitment. Like a river spilling its banks, it is sure to bring you more pain than joy.
REASON TWO: SEX IS THE ICING ON THE CAKE.
Friendship and commitment are the cake, sex is the icing.
Sex feels great and can make you feel so bonded to someone, but it can also be incredibly empty if those other two things are not in place first.
I have watched a 100 movies where two people meet and in a day or a week they have sex, and they’re so ‘in love’. But there’s a difference between lust and love. There’s plenty of research that shows that sex is not the basis of a long-lasting relationship. Sex may create feelings of closeness and commitment, but those feelings are all short-lived chemicals in the brain that, like a sugar high, will soon give way to the empty, scary realization that they hardly know each other, and they’re hardly sure the other person is committed to them.
See, sex cannot ‘make love.’ It can ‘fake love,’ creating the feeling that there is more to this relationship than there is. What sex does best is ‘celebrate love’ that is already there in the form of friendship and commitment.
Having said that sex can be shallow without the commitment and friendship, I don’t want to make you think that it is inconsequential…
REASON THREE: SEX IS SOUL-DEEP.
Sex is more than body on body – it’s soul on soul.
It’s not like you can break off one part of yourself from the other parts. If you try to cut off your soul from your body, in fact you do a deep damage to your soul. Your soul is you as much as your body is you – they are inseparable.
So when you share the most intimate private parts of your body with someone, you’re also sharing the most intimate private part of your very self – your soul. Even if you didn’t mean to. See, if you want someone’s body but not them, it shows you don’t even know what sex is. Same if someone wants your body but not you. They don’t know what sex is.
Sex does more than bind bodies together. It binds souls.
That’s what makes it consequential. When this relationship changes or ends, it’s so common to realize that you gave more of yourself away than you should have. This is why many people feel like they were used, or they feel utterly heartbroken when the relationship ends.
Also, long after the relationship is over, this is why people still feel a deep soul-connection to the person – who might even now be with someone else. Getting on with your life is harder. ‘Hooking up’ with someone does just that – it hooks your soul up to that person.
This all explains why so many people have deep feelings of regret, or guilt, or shame, or low self-esttem. And if you have sex sooner than you should, it also tends to be a heavy secret to carry, and keeping secrets from people you love only sucks some of the happiness out of your life and some of the closeness out of those relationships.
Let’s explore this idea of the hooking together of souls a little more.
REASON FOUR: SEX IS AN EMOTIONAL GLUE.
Sex is meant to help glue a couple together.
Imagine two people are represented by two differently coloured pieces of paper. Now imagine them glued together. Once the glue is dry, pull the two apart. What happens? Two things:
The first thing these torn papers teach us is that people tear off bits of each other through sex. Sex gives more of yourself than you realized you were giving. It also takes more from the other person than they realized they were giving.
I remember seeing this Love Life poster on the side of the road which said, ‘Everyone you sleep with someone, you are sleeping with everyone they slept with.’
(That applies emotionally in a sense, but Love Life meant it to apply to STIs – Sexually Transmitted Infections. I am not trying to scare you, but every day a million people, a huge amount of them being teenagers, contract one of eight STIs, which are painful, awkward diseases, some of which may ruin your chances of having children one day. Then there’s HIV which can take decades off your life – I think of my dad, your granddad who died at age 36! The point is wherever there’s promiscuity in a culture or school, there STIs literally go viral.)
The other thing these torn papers teach us is that the next person you try stick yourself to, a little bit of the stickiness is gone.
That’s a problem – having sex with lots of people means that though you might be getting less hurt when those relationships end, it also means that a part of you has become numb, broken or dead.
That’s a problem for when you finally meet the life-partner you are meant to bond in the deepest way with. See, it’s not meant to be a bad thing that sex does this, it’s meant to be a good thing. When it loses its stickiness, sex doesn’t quite bond you like it could have or should have bonded you.
There’s so much research done on how much stronger relationships are when people don’t rush into sex, and when you haven’t had the habit of sleeping around before.
There’s hard data for this. I read one study in the American Psychological Association, where the National Survey of Family Growth shows that the more people you had sex with before marriage, the higher your chances of divorce are.
I think of mommy. She was a virgin when we married. As old-fashioned as that seems, it has been such a gift to me. It’s like she was saying, ‘I loved you before I even met you by saving myself for you.’ When she gave her body to me, I knew I was getting her whole soul too. Her faithfulness to me before even knowing me gives me such security that she will remain faithful to me now that we’re married. I share that not to put a heavy on you because very few people can do what Julie did, but to encourage you to value virginity rather than – as our culture sadly does – devalue it.
(OPTIONAL) REASON FIVE: SEX IS A SACRED GIFT.
(Parents, depending on your worldview, you might want to leave this point out or adjust it. If, however, your kid is part of the 84% of people who believe that God made us (and therefore came up with idea of sex) then by all means leave it in – it adds tons of weight and meaning to our sexuality.)
I don’t know of a single major religion in the world that says its okay to have sex with anyone other than your spouse. That doesn’t mean they’re right, but in the very least it should make us think that all these people over all these millenia realized something basic about sex that recent Western culture seems to have ‘forgotten.’ Namely that sex is sacred.
Think of the Bible for example. It’s opening chapter tells us that we humans are made in God’s image, and that sex is God’s idea and gift to us. As image-bearers, having sex is something higher and different than animal sex. For us alone, sex is intensely relational (we’re the only ones who do it face to face). Also, sex is an aspect of spirituality for us alone.
The second chapter gives us God’s guidelines for sex: “The two were united and became one flesh; they were naked and felt no shame.” In other words, sex is shame-free when it is treated as a life-uniting act that is framed by a life-uniting commitment.
Then later it says: “Sex is as much a spiritual mystery as it is a physical fact. Since the goal of faith is to become spiritually one with our Maker, the goal of marriage is also to become one with each other. That’s why we should avoid the kind of sex that avoids commitment and intimacy, leaving us more lonely than ever, the kind of sex that can never help us ‘become one.’”
So, pulling it all together:
As much as you might want to have sex with someone, and your body will be ready for it, there’s five reasons to delay having sex – and they all have to do with understanding the emotional and spiritual side of sex:
- Sex is like a river. Apart from the banks of friendship and commitment, it can flood our lives with pain.
- Sex is the icing on the cake. It is not the cake. Having sex is not meant to ‘make love’ rather it is meant to ‘celebrate the love’ that is already there.
- Sex is soul-deep. Because its more than body on body, we give and take more of each other than we realize.
- Sex is emotional glue. It’s meant strengthen our bond with our life partner, and if we have sex with many people before, it tends to lose some of its bond-making ability.
- Sex is sacred. A gift from Above, sex is designed to be a life-uniting act that happens in the context of a life-uniting commitment.
That’s enough for today, my son/daughter. But I have some questions for you:
- What part of this did you already know?
- What parts don’t you understand or maybe disagree with?
- What parts of it are you happy to take on board for your own life?”
This post is part of a series:
- Before any convo starts, understand this.
- Convo 1+2: “I’d like to talk about puberty and masturbation.” Click here.
- Convo 3: “I’d like to talk about the basics of physical sex.” Click here.
- Convo 4 (This post): “I’d like to talk about the emotional and spiritual side of sex – and why it’s worth the wait.”
- Convo 5: (Coming post) “I’d like to talk about the way friends and society pressures.”
- Convo 6: (Coming post) “I’d like to talk about the way porn lies.”
- Convo 7: (Coming post) “I’d like to talk about the way sexting bites.”