As a parent sex can be a topic we avoid. It can be awkward, scary, and often times we just do not know what to say. I have a broad open stance on the topic of sex. It is by no means an opinion of the minority anymore, but I do think how open I plan to be is different than most parents. This is especially true as a Christian. I am Christian however, I do not believe in sexual purity, I do not believe in teaching abstinence, I do not believe in waiting until you’re married, and I do not believe in sheltering my children from sex. I do believe in being open with my children and being honest when teaching them about sex in an age appropriate manner.
What is sexual purity?
Sexual purity is the belief that physical intimacy should be sacred between husband and wife. Therefore, you should remain abstinent until marriage. Not only should you remain abstinent but also pure of sexual thoughts and feelings.
Why Sexual Purity Gives Me Pause
There are many Christian beliefs on sexual purity that give me pause. For instance, “Remaining sexually pure helps you to be confident and truly happy and improves your ability to make good decisions now and in the future.” This is a good example of why I have a strong dislike for teaching kids to be sexually pure. Specifically, I have a problem with teaching kids that their value is contingent on them remaining sexually pure. This line specifically is saying that sexual purity has a direct link to them being happy, confident and having an ability to make good decisions.
I will be completely honest. I did not wait until I was married to have sex. I did wait until I was ready, I was 22, and I dated that man, my first real boyfriend for just shy of two years.
Had he asked I would have probably said yes and married him.
It would have been the biggest mistake of my life.
He was emotionally abusive, but I did not know better. Until he broke up with me and I decided to gain some confidence and start dating I was weak. I was not confident, and I was very shy. What did I do? I dated. I made mistakes. I only had two more “boyfriends” (the third “boyfriend” is the man I married) but I had sex with 17 men. What did I learn? I learned what I liked. I learned to be okay with what I wanted and to ask for it. I learned that sex is good. I learned that sex is raw and animalistic. I learned that sex is pleasurable, and it is not just for making a family. I also learned over the eight months of dating my now husband that sex with him was worth a lifetime with. How, if I would have waited, would I have known that we were sexually compatible? My husband and I dated for eight months before he proposed and then we were engaged for a little over a year before the ceremony. We lived together most of that year of our engagement. I do not believe that God judges us for finding pleasure in the things he creates, like sex.
I hate the concept of sins and that everyone is a sinner.
I have faith Christ died for my sins, so yes, I believe I’m a sinner but because Christ died for my sins I do not dwell on mistakes I may make. I have been forgiven. I believe that dwelling on sins and being a sinner can be detrimental to the mental health of all of us, especially our children. “The prophet Alma taught that sexual sins are more serious than any other sins except murder or denying the Holy Ghost.” Let me gloss over the fact that this is stating that denying the Holy Ghost is more sinful then murder or rape, and just stick to the fact that sexual sins are more serious than other sins. We would be teaching our child that a sexual sin is one of the worst sins. Then in turn teaching them that they are the worst kind of sinner if the commit that sin. This is why it causes mental health issues for many.
Abstinence and teaching our children that the only answer is abstinence is harmful on so many levels. I want to at this point say a bit of a disclaimer. I will teach my children about abstinence. If that was the choice they preferred I would not stop them. It is their choice, BUT, I will teach them abstinence and every other possibility in order to make sure they are making informed decisions.
Teaching abstinence only is harmful to children
that have, hard to suppress, sexual desires.
I will be teaching my children about condoms, safety, and birth control. I will be teaching my children about consent. I will be teaching my children to listen to their own desires. I will be teaching them to wait until they are ready, but if they feel they are ready, then they must be safe.
I will teach my daughter that she must be on birth control and she should not rely on a boy to bring condoms. I will buy my daughter’s birth control and condoms for her if she so chooses to have sex before she turns 18. I will teach my son to make sure his girlfriend is on birth control and to always have condoms as well.
I will teach both that no matter what they must use a condom because it does not just protect from pregnancy but from diseases.
I will teach my children that masturbation is okay. Masturbation is a wonderful way for each person to explore what they like, and masturbation is a great way to curb sexual desires that are inappropriate to act on. For instance, as a teenager, a boy may have a girlfriend that is not ready to have sex. Masturbation is a great way for that boy to curb his own desires in order to respect his girlfriend’s wish to wait, and that, in my opinion is not sinful.
It is okay to explore.
I will teach my children that porn, in moderation, is not a bad thing. (Preferably I’d like this to be a discussion after their 18 but I’m sure it will happen earlier than that.) Porn in marriage is not a bad thing when you’re open and honest to your spouse and it does not take precedence over having sex with your spouse.
The fact that parents can opt out of having their kids take sex education classes in school is unbelievable to me. Of course, while restrictions are put into law restricting what teachers can teach I do not know if I’d completely trust public school sex education classes in the first place.
I do not believe in sheltering my children from sex.
I believe this is actually more harmful. I know of boys, specifically, that were not taught about their sexual desires. As pre-teens and teenagers those desires can be so strong it can be mind-numbing. When kids do not understand their desires and they do not understand right from wrong with those desires they can do inappropriate things.
A public example of this would be Josh Duggar. He is a public enough figure with his family’s previous show, 19 Kids and Counting. Their show that was cancelled due to the release of information that Josh Duggar molested a few of his sisters when he was a teenager. I personally know of one person who did the same thing. Sheltering our kids and not teaching our kids about their desires is harmful. But it is also necessary that we teach them appropriate ways to handle those desires versus inappropriate ways, hence masturbation is okay.
There are so many things I hope to teach my children.
I am positive that as these conversations approach I will have new thoughts and new feelings about what should be taught to them. Given my experience thus far in life, as a teenager, as an adult in relationships, and as an adult dating around I do know that the fact I had sex before I married taught me a lot about myself. I do not know if I would have been the person I needed to be when I found my husband.
Check out this great post about Why The Church Has to Stop Saying Sexual Sin is the Most Important Thing.