As parents and youth leaders, it’s easy to fall short when it comes to talking with our kids about sex and purity (but for a great resource, check out our book The Volunteer’s Back Pocket Guide to Sex and our DVD resource, Pure Sex). Frankly, it’s just pretty uncomfortable to talk about sexual issues when we’re face to face with our “innocent” little sons and daughters, but the reality is that at some point, your son or daughter will (literally) be grappling with where to draw the boundary line when it comes to their own purity.
If you’ve left them with a “just say ‘no’” message, or if you’ve left them to find their own way with regard to what is and what isn’t right, then chances are they’re going to make some bad decisions when they’re in the backseat of a car or flirting online with that boy or girl they like.
Our culture also adds to our kids’ confusion about sex. Sexual experimentation, pornography, impulses and pleasure rule in the media. Over the past ten years of working with youth, it’s been amazing to see how much has changed. Ten years ago, I remember sitting across the table at a coffee shop with a tween who shyly asked me if French kissing was second base. Fast forward to today when I was behind a group of sixth graders at a Starbucks who were talking unabashedly about hot tub hookups, sexting and blow jobs.
When you combine our own silence (as parents) on the subject of purity and sex with the culture’s “anything goes” philosophy, our kids are left with the impression that as long as they don’t engage in vaginal sex, they are still technically “pure”. This is why we now so often talk to girls and guys that tell us that they are still “virgins” but they have had anal sex. Or they are remaining “pure”, but they are engaging in cyber sex. They are so laser-focused on just saying “no” to one form of sex that they let everything else slide. They make compromise after compromise to justify their behavior, and as a result, they push the limit sexually to the point that they are often more experienced sexually than some of the kids I’ve worked with who have actually had vaginal sex.
We’ve got to do a better job. We have to leave our kids with more than a list of rules. We must broaden their understanding of purity and sex to mean more than just vaginal sexual intercourse. It’s our opinion that God designed all sexual acts… from grinding to oral sex to vaginal sex… as interactions best placed in marriage… designed to knit two people together as husband and wife. It’s important that we help our kids understand that they and their bodies matter to God. For more about talking to your kids about sex, check out our parent resources.