What We've Told Our Pre-Teen About God's Plan For Sex

No worries: this post is rated PG. :)

The messages are everywhere. Some more subtle, some less so. But all too familiar:

  • If you've got it, flaunt it!
  • Sex is fun and everyone's doing it - just do it safely.
  • To be beautiful is to be sexy; they are the same.
As with many parents, we've sought to help our daughter understand a different - a more Biblical - view of sex.

The Biblical worldview tells us that God made everything for a purpose, but that everything was broken to some extent by our sin (what theologians call "the Fall"). This includes human sexuality: it was designed by God to work a certain way, and we want our kids to know and respect its intended purpose. So how do you explain that to them? Two things have been helpful to us.

First, prompted by a terrific study Amy is doing with Elizabeth, is Proverbs 5:19 which urges husbands to "be intoxicated always in [your wife's] love." Intoxicated is a strong word! God has designed a woman's body to allure - even intoxicate - a man. But only one man: her husband. We've talked with our daughter about the attraction power she will have as she grows, and who God intends her to reserve that attraction for. And she's also learning to recognize the way many women use their God-given attractiveness to draw attention to themselves from any man who will look.

Which led us to the second item: a great illustration (from a terrific little book called Ask Me Anything) of what happens when we don't use our sexuality the way God intended. Author J. Budziszewski says our sexuality in some ways can be compared to a piece of duct tape. The first time it is pressed to something it sticks strongly. But what happens if you peel it off and then stick it to another surface? Perhaps it adheres again, but not as strongly this time. If it is peeled off and pressed to a new surface time and again it will eventually lose its ability to stick at all.

In the same way God intends human sexuality to cement the relationship between a husband and a wife. It's designed to add a unique level of intimacy to the marriage relationship. But if we go beyond God's intended boundary for sex by sharing our sexuality with others, either through inappropriate public displaying of our bodies or by trying to "stick" ourselves relationally to multiple partners via sexual activity, sex itself gradually loses some of its power to cement a marriage relationship the way God intended.

In all this we hope our daughter comes to understand the powerful and valuable gift God has given her as a woman - and how to use that gift for her own good and for God's glory.

7 comments:

Ken said...

Matt,

I would like to congratulate Amy and yourself on being proactive and thoughtful parents. It is important that parents take an active role in teaching their children about sex and sexuality in an age-appropriate manner. It's important the children are exposed as they are ready. If you simply either ignore the topic all together or resort to the "sex is bad and don't do it until you are married" you risk either encouraging your children to engage in risky behavior just to spite you or worse, engaging in that behavior because they don't know any better.

Kids don't come with an owner's manual, but you are taking a solid, proactive approach. I have no doubt your kids will learn from this and understand that their actions have consequences and that they will make the right choices when they are confronted with those "decision making moments."

Oh, and threatening her boyfriends with a baseball bat or worse won't hurt either :-)

Ken

Matt Guerino said...

Thanks Ken. The guns are already loaded. :D

Seriously though, that's our goal. It is our responsibility and deep privilege as parents to provide our kids with what they need to live a successful life. From physical provision to an academic education to knowledge about God, money and yes, even sex, that's our job. And we relish it. Especially as cool as our kids are! Everything in me wants to see them succeed.

Amy gets the lion's share of the credit here though. Being a woman, she's already had many great talks with our daughter. I get to explain how boys work. :)

Aaron said...

Mark Gungor of Laugh Your Way To a Better Marriage has a great video series. In it, he addresses sex. One particular point he makes worth noting here relates to your point about duct tape. He says that sex with multiple partners destroys a woman's ability to value the emotional connection, trust, and true intimacy that comes along with it because she becomes sort of conditioned to believe (emotionally, psychologically, and even physically) that sex is the intimate equivalent of a handshake. Over time, she becomes unable (or has greater difficulty) to grasp the true meaning and purpose of sex - a massive shame.

Great post - both for the information and the insight on what you and Amy are doing! God is definitely being glorified in your parenting.

Matt Guerino said...

That's a great way to put it. I've heard of that series but never seen it - thanks for adding that insight to this discussion!

Aaron said...

Someone gave it to Melissa on DVD, so you're welcome to borrow it if you'd like. Just let me know!

Amy Guerino said...

Aaron, I would love to borrow it. It may be helpful in further equipping the feeling of floundering in parenting. Thanks for the affirmation but I continue to be on my knees and more uncertain than anything. Dependency is what the Father wants of us and parenting sure does bring it out in me!

Aaron said...

Oh my, I can totally relate, Amy! As challenging as parenting is, there's something so freeing and comforting in being completely dependent on God.

I'll bring the DVD's to church next week (I'm in Seattle this weekend) for you to borrow.

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