I’m honored to be featured at the dadmatters blog!  Here’s my post on modeling sexuality for your kids in their teenage years.


My wife and I have tried to be very intentional in discussing sexuality with our children. We’re homeschoolers, so of course every discussion is a mini-class. (Homeschooled kids recognize this phenomenon and come to expect it…even if they roll their eyes.)

But we ‘took it to the next level’ a few years ago, around the time that our church youth-group had a weekend retreat on sexuality, complete with college-aged counselors and videos, as well as STD photos supplied by Dr. Dad. Our boys were in the youth, scattered between middle and high school. Our daughter was in grade-school, but all ears at all times.

Thus it was that even she was involved in some discussions of sex. Jan is a very good educator, and also a trained counselor, so it was natural for her to include our little girl in the talks, albeit at an age-appropriate level.

So over the next few days, our little princess would often stop her brothers and ask the following question: ‘Are you going to have the sex? I think I’ll have the sex, because the sex sounds interesting.’ Brother one, red-faced, would run away. Next victim. ‘How about you? Will you have the sex?’ Repeat with second and third brothers, with varying responses, like hands over ears and yelling ‘lalalalala.’

They would plead with us: ‘mama, papa, PLEASE make her stop it!’ To princess it was just another day of inquiry. To her brothers it was sheer torture. Frankly, my wife and I had a great laugh about the sibling interaction on ‘the sex.’

But it illustrates the point that run as they may, children will confront sexuality. And as fathers and mothers who want to model Godly relationships, we have a duty to explain it and prepare them for their own futures as sexual beings.

So we have discussed it, in terms physiologic, relational and spiritual. Over the years, we have tried to explain to our children the boundaries within which their sexuality must function. If the world wants to teach us anything, it’s the propaganda that unhindered, unfettered sexuality is the only way it can be ‘true’ or ‘natural.’ We all know that for the lie it is; and research is quite clear on the issue. From staggering rates of STDs, to the very real fact that sexual satisfaction is greater in marriage than outside of it, science shows us the falsehood of ‘popular wisdom.’

So the kids have heard all of it, in one way or another. All are now teenagers, from 13 to 19. They know what the Bible says about sex and they know, from numerous ‘lectures,’ about issues like disease and infidelity, and even the importance and joy of having children. That we have been successful is evidenced by their discussions: ‘my kids will be way smarter than your loser kids!’ And it’s confirmed by the way they recognize bad relationships and inappropriate sexuality on television and in movies.

However, we aren’t done. The older guys may be weary of lectures, but we can still influence them. Good, loving parents never stop teaching…or at least advising, since we are always trail-blazers for the futures of our children. So in my opinion, the best thing we can do is model affection for our children.

We’ve always done it. My wife and I hold hands. We embrace frequently, we kiss in front of the children. They see the way our emotional love, and our verbal expressions, are modeled in our physical behavior. To use theological terms, our love is incarnate in our embrace, and in the smiles that we exhibit when we are together.

Teenagers are cynical by nature, and even Christian teens can become jaded by diabtribes, and by the endless chain of sappy pamphlets and poorly executed videos on abstinence. We have to be careful. But they pay attention to the examples we set. They watch closely for hypocrisy; if I said I loved their mother but was distant and cold, they would take note. And if we told them that they should wait because marital sex was the best sex, but then we never exhibited any connection or romance as a couple, they would get the message.

So here’s my Dad advice: if we want our children to believe in waiting, to believe in sex within marriage as the right way to express their sexuality, to look forward to that time, then we have to model affection, touch and passion. We have to laugh and play with one another, to make the marriage relationship look like a delightful, wonderful thing to be emulated. We have to flirt, and speak to one another in a way that suggests our attraction. I commonly say (and mean it), ‘You look beautiful honey!’ Or my wife might say, ‘there’s my fine-looking man!’ Then, the children see that the boundaries we teach about sex will enclose a promised land of green pastures, rather than a barren land of boredom.

Oh, and one more thing. To have a little fun, and keep them off guard, don’t neglect to joke. Sexuality, like faith, has to have a light-hearted side. Here was one I recently tried. I had been playing Wii with the kids, after their mother was in bed. I turned to them and said: ‘You know, sometimes when you aren’t here, your mom and I play strip bowling.’ The look on their faces was AWESOME!

Due to the behaviors Jan and I model, and the words we share, I believe our children have learned that sexuality in marriage is an inestimable gift, a thing which welds a couple together. And a thing that makes waiting worthwhile.

Even if is their ‘gross’ parents teaching them the lesson.

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