Monday, March 17, 2008

Parenting- Part 3 The Sex Talk

I had 12 conversations last week with college men about sex (per a message at church from Matthew 5- Jesus' teaching on lust).

They told me everything- first exposure to pornography, first discovery of masturbation, sexual history and current struggles with moral purity.

With the exception of one student, there was one common factor in all these conversations: Dads never talked to their sons about sex. In that one case, the dad explained in generalities and then said, "Don't have sex before you're married." Although it was better than nothing, it was hardly enough to keep him from sexual experimentation. In another case, a mom gave her (then) 5th grader a series of Focus on the Family messages on the topic. This proved to be the most effective of all (this is one of the purest guys I've talked to). If you leave the conversations about sex for your kids to have with their peers on the playground, locker room or overnight at a friend/cousin's house, don't be surprised when your kid stumbles into sexual perversion.

Recently, a parent shared their concern that words like, "adultery" and "rape" were being mentioned in our church. Their kid was over 10 years old. Two questions for this parent: If you are not willing to talk to your child about these issues, and if the church can't educate your kids, who do you want to teach your kids about sex? School? Peers? And how old should your child be before you talk to them? 12? 14? 17?

I was bathing Makai with Cameron and his cousin the other day. As they watched, one of the boys said, "Makai has a penis like me. I push my pink part in so you can't even see it anymore. Do you want me to show you guys..." I told him God doesn't want us to show anyone our penis or let anyone touch us there. He also didn't intend for us to play with it- we should just use it for going potty. These are two 6 year olds having this conversation. I'm glad I was there.

The other thing that stands out about the conversations I've had with college students and teenagers over the years- in most cases, the (negative) exposure happens well before junior high. And the destruction of sexual sin is overwhelming.

So what do we do?

Leatha and I use the strategy of making this kind of conversation as normal as possible. We don't talk about "privates" "pee pees" etc, we use the real terms, "penis" "vagina" etc. We use these books called "God's Design for Sex" and there are four books, all age appropriate. We first heard about these books through the book, How and when to tell to your kids about sex.

Dads, like it or not, we have a responsibility to take the lead in this. Moms, help us out by getting the book in our hands. Imagine the scene in our house this evening...I'm reading the following to Cameron (5) and Ava (6), "A boy has a penis and scrotum between his legs. The scrotum is a soft bag that holds two round [me trying not to laugh, thinking 'Am I really saying this??!!!'] harder organs called testicles..." At this point I'm interrupted by Ava who says, "I've got two of these" (She points to her throat area)... Leatha comments from the kitchen, "No, Ava, those are your tonsils, not testicles..." We all laugh.

Men, this won't be easy for you. But what's not easy at age 6 won't be any easier at age 16. One guy told me that his mom sent him and his dad away with cassette tapes to listen to and discuss. About five minutes into the road trip, the dad looked at the son, then hit "stop" on the tape player in the truck. They spent the rest of the afternoon shooting rabbits and squirrels with their guns. That was a conversation that could've spared a lot of confusion and sexual experimentation that followed.

But think about it- your child will learn about sex. And it will most likely be much sooner than you'd like. Who do you want your kids to learn from?

We have an obligation. We must not abdicate our God given responsibility. Let's put down the newspaper and remote control and raise up a generation of men and women of purity.

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