Let’s Talk About Sex: Good Sex


My father-in-law had quadruple bypass surgery this week, and we’ve planned a random sell-everything-we-can Yard Sale for tomorrow. Since my brain is a bit scrambled and because I have friends who are much wiser than I, I’ve asked a great blog friend to guest post today. I’m so thankful that Laura from The Wellspring addressed speaking with our children about sex because I have a lot to learn. My five year walked up to me while I had company just the other day and detailed something he saw the horses doing on the other side of the fence, and I responded with a giggle and told him I’d explain it later. I still haven’t talked about it.

———– GOOD SEX—————

I “fell from Grace” on a twin bed across the hall from my mother’s bedroom.

She wasn’t there.

It wasn’t what I wanted. Despite all that was wrong with my young life, I was saving myself for marriage. I didn’t have any idea what God wanted for me, but I knew He wanted that. My mother told me so.

When I was about in third grade.

And never mentioned it again.

At night I wept and begged Him for forgiveness. I knew I was ruined. Dirty. Impure. I was eighteen years old.

How can you love me, Lord?

I wish there had been someone to talk to. Someone to tell me that yes, He loves me…someone to tell me about His grace. Someone to say I deserve better. I spent five years of my young life in a destructive relationship because I believed I had no choice. I thought there was no turning back.

I remember these things when I Run Amuck and stumble on this post by Amber  – the one where she asks, What are some positive ways you would like to see the church respond to SEX?

I let myself think about it for a moment. I wonder how my life may have been different if someone from church had told me that God forgives—even this kind of mistake. I wonder how my life may have been different if my church had had an open dialogue about sex with kids my age. If someone—anyone–had given me permission to leave SHAME behind.

Maybe I would have made the same choices; maybe it would not have made one hill of beans of difference.

But I’m not going to take that chance with my own children.

Amber’s question sends me looking.

I find it in our Children’s Ministry office at church—at the end of a shelf filled with old Bible studies.

Good Sex! It shouts at me from between the more pious titles. But it is the subtitle that takes me: A Whole Person Approach to Teenage Sexuality & God. I carry the box with me into the sanctuary. I hold it close to my chest. I pass a young mother with her babe on her hip. She stares wide-eyed at my clutch.

It’s a Bible study, I quickly say. For the youth.

What kind of church is this? She whispers in her baby’s ear, then smiles at me mischievously.

I hug the box closer. We don’t discuss these things in church.

I am distracted by the box throughout worship. It holds such promise. It screams at me all that I lacked as a teen. During the sermon I discretely open the box and take out the leader’s guide.

Good Sex: a whole-person approach to teenage sexuality & God by Jim Hancock and Kara Eckmann Powell. (http://www.amazon.com/Good-Sex-2-0-Leaders-Guide/dp/0310282713)

On the first page the authors list the big ideas behind Good Sex:

  • We’re created in God’s image, male and female.
  • Sexuality is a wonderful, complex gift that takes a lifetime to explore.
  • Sex touches every part of us: our bodies, of course, but also our minds, emotions, spirits, and every relationship we have—including our families and the God who made us.
  • Sex is affected by our brokenness and wrongdoing, just like everything else about us.
  • Sex can be rescued and renewed by the grace of Christ, just like everything else about us.

I can’t help it (don’t judge me), I had to read more.

In the real world, kids encounter sexual information and experiences in a process that stretches over decades. And out of that process—or in the middle of it—they construct their ideas and values about sex. And out of those ideas and values, they act. Most of that information—and quite a bit of the experience—is indirect. Kids read, listen, watch television and movies, hang out with friends and acquaintances. They watch their parents and other adults. They watch their siblings and peers. The experience sexual arousal (and it takes them by surprise).

From all these impressions, they construct a picture of what sex is—or what it appears to be. And from that picture come their sexual attitudes, opinions, and actions. The picture is updated as they encounter new information and experiences, and—even in adulthood—the picture is never complete as long as they’re learning.

…We believe Good Sex should be more of a process than a confrontation because we believe that’s how people—especially kids—learn best.

This is one way the church can respond positively to sex. By teaching a Biblical model that encourages our young ones to respect themselves and their bodies. By having a dialogue, a place these kids can talk about how they are processing this whole sexuality thing.

I take the box home with me when I go. And I think about ways I can help implement this study. I will take it to our Youth Leaders. I will talk to the kids. I will try to be a safe person for them to reach out to.

There are no guarantees that it will make a hill of beans of difference.

But I bet it will.

amberhaines
About me

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20 Comments

Kristen@Moms Sharpening Moms
Reply July 9, 2010

I'm betting it will, too, Laura! Way to be that approachable person-the link between God and sex- who was missing from your younger years. Have a wonderful Friday!

laura
Reply July 9, 2010

Thank you, Kristen. I'm not sure we're there yet, though! I asked my oldest son (13) if he would like to do Good Sex as our summer Bible study and he told me no. He said it was "weird" talking about sex with "your mother and your brother". Grin. I guess he has a point. But...that led to another conversation about how we should be able to talk about anything. Still...I think I'll give the curriculum to his youth group leader :)

A Simple Country Girl
Reply July 9, 2010

Amber, prayers and thoughts with you and your family.

Laura, you know it will make more than a hill of beans. If I had had someone like you to tell it plain and simple, perhaps I wouldn't have fallen off the edge so hard. Or at least I would have seen a hand to help pull me up a lot sooner that it actually took.

Thank you for sharing intimately of your heart and your hurt and the One who heals.

Blessings.

Kelly Langner Sauer
Reply July 9, 2010

My husband's mom told him about sex, years after he'd learned all he needed to know - the hardest way. It was so awkward for him; he wished his dad had talked with him, instead of his mom. We talk so often about it ourselves. We learn new every time we share.

I've a feeling it's going to be an open discussion in our house, between us and the kids.

Amber, giggling is cool, I think. Girls giggle about sex. :-P

Maureen
Reply July 9, 2010

My mother's only approach was to ask whether we girls were receiving "the talk" at school and even when we explained what it did not include, she went no further; she couldn't, because she had no model to draw on.

We owe it to our children not just to provide the "technical" information but to help them understand the difference between sex and love that includes sex and to appreciate that being sexual in a loving and committed relationship is a gift we give ourselves and our spouse.

laura
Reply July 9, 2010

SCG--I think about what Jesus said, "...her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little"; and I know that my past is part of the reason I am who I am. I feel that kind of love in you too.

Kelly, so good that you and your husband are so open about sex. It is important to be healthy role models for our kids. I get chill bumps when I think about the difference my marriage is making in the lives of my boys. My husband and I are breaking a cycle of multiple generations of dysfunction on my side of the family. What a blessing.

Yes, Maureen! I feel this responsibility so heavily. Our society puts less pressure on boy regarding fidelity, I think. We need to change that, starting where they begin.

Thank you all for your encouraging words.

Jen
Reply July 9, 2010

I so wish I had had something - someone - like that as a teenager. I, myself, may (or may not) have stuck to my guns about keeping my purity for marriage. I'm not yet married myself, and I was saved 5 years ago (still working on it too) and I still wonder if I am good enough - and I've been told I'm good enough. They enemy certainly knows where to hit home with me when it comes to making me feel worthless...

I know one thing - if we give the children we influence a Biblical model for living and for approaching sex that counters the world's view, it will give them a chance to choose differently they we may have because they will have the Truth.

misty
Reply July 9, 2010

yes, the dialogue and open, safe space are the keys, aren't they?

i resonate most deeply w/ what you said in the above comment, tho, about breaking the cycles of dysfunction--amen!!! my husband and i get all chill-bumpy, too, when we think about the legacy we leave our children. i'm scared, sometimes, of the weight and fear of raising boys in a culture that's so exploitative and also b/cs of my lack of positive male influence in my life. but i rest in HIm b/cs my husband is a good man and i believe he'll make an excellent role model for our own boys.

laura
Reply July 9, 2010

Jen,
It's hard to shake those feelings, isn't it? We have to believe Him when He says He gave it all for us. I believe it is Ann Graham Lott that talks about sexual sin being such a self damaging thing. But, hallelujah, you are free! It still makes my heart heavy to remember. Sometimes I wonder how long until freedom takes that away too. I believe that talking about my mistakes takes me closer...if I can help one person through the sharing, I would be so grateful.

misty,
Amen, the dysfunction stops here! Making our marriages Christ-centered and training up our children in His ways are the best guarantees we have, in a world where there are no guarantees, that they won't fall prey to the same mistakes. Amen.

Anna B
Reply July 10, 2010

I remember as a teen asking everyone I could find (who was Christian) the same question: Why is it so important to not have sex before marriage?

Sadly, no one had a better answer for me than "'Cause God said so."

If someone had known - and told me - about the beauty God intended for marriage, about the way sex ties you into someone spiritually as well as physically, about how being with a non-Christian led you away from God by the simple act of yoking with them... I would not have made half the mistakes I made. At LEAST half.

Someone needs to understand the beauty of godly intimacy, and TELL the kids about it! All they see in society and culture is lust - pure physicality - and if we don't know to tell them differently, that's what they will think sex is for. :-(

God means it - and US - for SO MUCH MORE.

Krista
Reply July 10, 2010

Oh Laura, what an incredible post. Thank you for sharing your heart. As someone who was not given much information or had an open dialogue growing up, the topic is very intimidating for me. But with five children, I know I must give them God's truth, with openness and love. God demands it of us, but it's so scary to me! Something new, rarely talked about in Christian circles and so over hyped with the media. I pray daily that I get it right, that I speak God's words. I've looked for a good book, curriculum, anything to guide me along this path. Oh such a treasure we can share with our children, to change the past disfunction, to set a new course for future generations. I pray God gives me grace and strength and women just like you, to help me down this road.

So thank you for being open, sharing, leading and encouraging.
Blessings, my friend.

Krista
Reply July 10, 2010

Amber, I'll be praying for your father in law and your entire family during this journey of healing

Blessings!

Christy A.
Reply July 10, 2010

We did that study with the youth in our church (we added a chapter that I talked on though, about alternate sexual lifestyles and how we as christians can respond to the people we love who are in those) and three years later, the freshman who took that class are still talking about it and bringing up refrences to it in our small groups. Especially the girls. So I do think it makes a BIG difference, but the biggest difference has been seen was that series was used as a starting point to start the conversation, and now that they know we adults are open, the conversation has continued as things have some up. I've always said the Church is missing a big opportunity by sticking to the "just don't do it" mantra - an opportunity to tell kids what a gift sex is, and how wonderful it can be when used to unite two people in marriage. And to discuss Grace if you have fallen. We're planning on doing in again, and every four years after that...

Amanda
Reply July 10, 2010

@Christy A.-- I'm curious, what did it say about alternate sexual lifestyles? I have friends that are involved in such relationships or see no problem with them and a specific friend who has tried to shove her opinion on me more times than I have cared. I have no problem discussing such stuff, but it does get irritating when they're right and I'm wrong.
@Laura-- Great post; I'm interested in this book, even though I'm no longer a "youth" and I'm married. I hope our church has it in the library!

laura
Reply July 11, 2010

Anna B.--you say this so beautifully. This is the biggie, isn't it? But it is so hard to make hormone-ridden teens understand what that means. That's why it's so important to have this dialogue started at an early age--and keep it going--so they will feel comfortable coming to you when it becomes an issue. Just as Christy A. says, it will make an impression on the kids. The same thing happened in our church the first time we did this study, Christy. That class of kids are now finishing up college and they still talk about it too.

Krista, thank you for your kind words and good for you! Funny what intimidating subjects we are willing to traverse for our kiddies, huh? This study might be a great place for you to start. Check it out and see what you think.

Amanda, i'm interested in hearing more about that too. That was a great idea, Christy. I think a lot of us "grown-ups" need reminded about how important this issue is in our overall health too. May not be a bad read.

It's a tough subject for the church to handle, but I think it's worth it. Sounds like you all do too.

Keaven
Reply July 12, 2010

When I was 17 I had a Bishop at church who took the time to talk about sex to a bunch of giggling hormone laden guys and girls.

He told us that sex was not bad. He said it drove him nuts when adults told teenagers that sex was bad. He said sex was wonderful. But he said, like all things, there is a time and place where sex is appropriate. He said there are even inappropriate times for a married couple to have sex.

The way he explained it made so much sense to me. I knew what I'd always been told by other adults was bull crap. If sex was so bad and awful, how come everyone was doing it, talking about it, obsessing over it. It wasn't awful... just inappropriate for that time in my life.

I had wanted to save myself for marriage, but ended up sleeping with a man who I thought would soon be my husband. I was wrong. It was wrong. And I truly believe it ruined the relationship. Me and my husband did wait until marriage. And it made all the difference.

I just thought I'd share what I'd been told. Maybe if people start telling more of the truth (like you're trying to encourage with the youth group) teens would recognize it and understand it, instead of rebelling against what they know isn't true.

ali
Reply July 13, 2010

I get to hang out with a fabulous group of 'bout to be seniors...I do my very best to be open and real with them when it comes to all things concerning sex. Its obvious that for most of them they are not use to hearing adults use the word in a truthful, respectful and positive way (so yes...i agree...it must start young if even to just reduce the shock of it all). Some of them tell me things that they say that they wouldn't tell anybody else....and others...knowing that I love them regardless, that I've made mistakes and know how hard it is and LOVE for them to be straight up with me....lie to my face.
I wonder all the time....if I had been given the chance to talk it all out to someone...if someone would have been just plain ol straight with me....would I have given them the chance to display God's grace to me or would I have lied to their face?
Even in this moment I'm just not sure.
But I do wish I would have had a chance...I'd like to think it would have made a hill of beans of difference. And I've seen it make a difference in some precious lives.
Lord...give us courage...and truth...and love.

laura
Reply July 14, 2010

Keaven and Ali,
Thank you for sharing your stories, your thoughts. I don't think there is one way, one talk, one anything that works for all kids. That's why I believe we need to keep a dialogue...keep trying...make it real.

Like you guys.

This has been an awesome discussion. A big thank you, Amber, for inviting me over here. You have some pretty amazing readers and I am honored to share in their stories here.

the Blah Blah Blahger
Reply July 15, 2010

As a former youth volunteer at my church, I LOVED this post! How refreshing!!! More people in the church need to adopt this point of view and then maybe so many of our teens will "fall from Grace." Thanks for sharing!!!

Charissa Steyn
Reply July 16, 2010

Loved this post :) Although I don't have kids yet ( i am newly married) I am definitely seeing a huge need in the Body of Christ to speak/write about this is a good, honest, healthy, and open way... it's harder than we think. I too, seemed to discover sex as I went along, thankfully I bumped into all the right people and influences. But so many children do not have that ...

thanks for posting this... I know you are making a difference!

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