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.
Also my posts about 30 Things I Want to Teach My Son & 40 Things I Want to Teach My Daughter
I agree with you so much on this! I would much rather teach my son about safe sex than teach him not to have it at all (until marriage). this never ends well, and in cases where abstinence only was taught, there are higher cases of stds and pregnancy!
I wouldnt say it never ends well. My husband and I both waited until marriage for sex. I was always taught to wait – same with him. I’m glad I did too. Knowing the we only had sex with each other is absolutely amazing. I definitely will be teaching my children the beauty of waiting
This is a very interesting read. I agree with most of what you said. Great article and will read again. 🙂
Wow. I really disagree with you on so many levels. I encourage you to read scripture again. I certainly believe in grace, but Paul says in Romans that we are not to use grace as a license to sin. He says, “God forbid.”
My question to you might be that if you don’t follow all of the Bible, then how do you define what is sin? Sin is pretty clear biblically so now you are creating your own rules. Your idea of sin will change to fit your feelings at the time. The line is moved around.
It is only when you are truly aware of your sin against God, do you realize your need for a saviour. It is then that you truly don’t want to hurt God and grieve Him. It’s not about rules. It’s about a relationship. I do not condemn you; I hope for your heart to be grieved when you truly see your need for Jesus. We all need Him. There is no need for a saviour if you don’t think you are a sinner. He died for nothing in this case.
I do not believe anywhere in my article did I say it wasn’t a sin according to the Bible. And the quote I gave and refuted about it being a worse sin then everything other then murder and the Holy Ghost was from an LDS prophet. Not the Bible. I agree the Bible says it is a sin but I do not believe the Bible should be taken literally. It is written by man and man is flawed so in turn the Bible is flawed. I am a Christian I just realize that no matter what I have faith in I could be wrong. And I’m willing to admit that. I do not find fault if people so choose to wait until they are married I just did not think it was the right move for me and I have many reasons why. I will Teach my children those reasons and they are free to make their own choice.
I hear you, but I still disagree. First of all, 2 Timothy 3:16 says the Bible was inspired and breathed by God. All of it. No one is saying that sexual sin is worse than other sins. The Bible clearly says that we are all sinners. It’s the consequences that are harder to overcome. There are bigger consequences for sexual sins. I don’t know how old your kids are but this is what is going to happen if you choose to teach this. They will do in extreme what you did in moderation. Almost half of all teens don’t use protection even though it has been drilled into their heads. I am a teacher, I know this first hand. I have been teaching teens for a while.
Your kids will be at risk for STD’s, abortion, betrayal, emotional distress, single mother, poverty, shame, and spiritual darkness due to their sexual choices. Guys get all the fun and many times leave the girl high and dry when she is pregnant. This is a bad deal for women. Abstinence is pro-woman.
When we live in habitual sin, whatever it is, the Holy Spirit is quenched. The gospel you preach is not biblical at all. Romans 1 says that God turns us over to our own depravity, and I fear that is what has happened to this generation. God won’t stop us because he lets us choose, but we will feel the aftermath. Staying abstinent is for our protection. Sex is a covenant so precious that it was meant for only marriage. It is out of love God asks us to wait, not meanness. My children are adults now. I taught them to wait, and it is their choice but I have presented them with the truth. Looking back, I would do the same thing all over again. So far it is working out.
I love this post! Teenagers are curious and if it’s going to happen I’d rather them be safe and educated about it.
Sex is a beautiful, wonderful thing, and I think it’s great that you are planning to have open conversations with your children about it.
However, isn’t teaching your kids to have sex before marriage just as bad as teaching them not to have sex before marriage? Shouldn’t we be educating our children to make good, solid decisions–whatever those may be?
I plan to have an open conversation about sex with my children, as well. But I am neither going to teach them to have or not to have sex. Instead, I will encourage them to make conscious decisions when it comes to sex, and never be coerced into doing anything they don’t want to do–and to be careful about unwanted pregnancies and STDs.
Finally, as a healthcare worker, I would strongly encourage you to read up about the dangers of porn, from a health perspective. Porn has been clearly demonstrated in study after study to be linked to some very troubling mental and emotional health issues, as well as interpersonal issues; although I think it’s good to not hide the fact from our children that porn exists, encouraging its consumption is very risky, if not downright dangerous.
I’m not encouraging porn I’m just not going to completely vilify it. And the point of my post is that I’m going to educate my children tell them my experience which is includes why I believed having sex before marriage was good for me then let them make a decision to do what they wish when they are ready.
Porn in moderation and to the right people is not bad. But yes it is just like alcohol or drugs. It can be addicting. It can cause relationship issues and lifestyle issues. THats why I say in moderation. And if you have a problem then it’s like being an alcoholic. Stay away from it. I will Teach my kids that. Not encouraging but making them aware it can become a problem just like I will for alcohol (there is alcoholism in my family) or other drugs.
I loved the honesty in your post. I also agree with you. When my children get older I will also educate them about abstinence but at the same time, I will let them know that sex is a beautiful act between people who love each other. Teens are curious by nature and I would rather have honest conversations with my children then have them do it behind my back and potentially get STD’s or pregnant. I will however not tell them that they are sinners if they have sex before marriage but instead tell them how proud I am of them that they would have used protection and turn to me for any questions they may have.
Very well written, I think as a Christian parent it’s kind of hard figuring out where to draw the line on just how much to let our children on. But at the end of the day you have to know just how much teaching you want to give your children, and how much the world gets to influence them on.
Such a nice post and this is really an interesting read and I agree with you
I love everything about this post. Sexuality is a beautiful thing, and it should be embraced. By not waiting until marriage, I learned about my body in a way that wouldn’t have been possible for me with a single partner. I learned what I liked and how to communicate my needs with a partner. I also learned what I didn’t like in a partner, something I may have told myself was not an issue if I had just been with one person.
I have 3 daughters, and I want them to embrace their sexuality confidently and without restrictions. I hope they make mistakes and learn from them, and I want to teach them how to explore their sexuality and make those mistakes and learn those beautiful things safely.
I am also a modern feminist, and historically speaking, sex has often been another way for women to be controlled. I refuse to let my daughters grow up thinking they should be ashamed of things like arousal, masturbation, number of partners, etc. Sex is beautiful. It’s connection and love and pleasure. I never want them to feel ashamed of that.
I completely agree especially with sex being a way to control women. I am also a feminist. Sounds like you and I agree a lot.
Sex Ed needs a lot more awareness in the world and people in general need a lot more perspective in the world. I think your post harmonizes both wonderfully. It’s amazing that you feel comfortable sharing all your thoughts and I admire your ability to say what you believe in!!
Wow! I just read the article and the comments. If you don’t take the Bible literally, then don’t call yourself a Christian. It specifically states in the New Testament that it is Gods word and it is living and active and like a double edged sword. In other words powerful. And the things that a church can teach as this being the worst sin. The Bible teaches that all sin is equal, so so we shouldn’t live off of somebodies quotes because we will be mislead so easily. Your thoughts and views on life are completely immoral, so there is no way a person can have no fear of the lord and call themselves a Christian.
I don’t believe fear of the Lord is an appropriate way to view Christianity. I don’t believe the church has to be the middle person for a believer and their relationship with God. I have faith Christ died for my sins and I live my life morally and as a good person. I don’t have fear of the Lord because I don’t believe I’m a bad person that deserves retribution. If you are living life as a good person then why would you have fear in the lord? I’m sorry you cannot take another views and realize that others can think differently and still be good people.
From my own experience and personal beliefs I respectfully disagree with you on most of this. However, I completely agree that a person’s self worth is not contingent on their sexual purity or any other choice we make. God loves us, all of us, no matter what has happened to us or what we do. I believe we are responsible for our choices, but nothing we do can remove us from His love. He loves us, always. I don’t believe the Bible or my church’s doctrine teaches that love is contingent on purity, but I think it happens in religious culture and I think we as Christians can do a better job of not making people feel that way.
Thank you. I appreciate your response. I like that point of view and I agree that religious culture vs the Church can have some major differences. And not all issues people find with Christianity can be blamed on the Church itself but on religious culture as well.
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I do disagree with having sex before marriage. Is it a horrible sin? No. But both my husband and I waited until marriage and I think that’s so beautiful. I don’t think i would of liked knowing my husband touched another woman before me. I don’t even like the fact that I kissed guys before him!
I do not think it’s wrong or kids will rebel if you teach them to wait. I just think you have to teach them in a way that makes them want to wait…to tell them how beautiful it is and special to wait until you meet the one. That’s what I was taught. Not once did I ever feel left out or different. I did come close once..with I guy I thought I loved but then he turned out to be a real jerk. If I would of slept with him…I think that would of haunted me knowing I did.
Of course I will teach my children about sex. My mom talked about sex all the time. But she told me many times how much she regretted sleeping around. How it made her feel used up.
I read in a comment above that you don’t take the Bible literally because it was written by man…not to be mean but those who write the Bible were prophets…people ordained by God to spread His word. You really should stop and consider this. It was not just written by random people who think they know the rules.
Waiting for sex until marriage is beautiful and worth waiting for. Just because His word doesn’t make sense to you doesn’t mean you should break it. God knows best.
I’m not trying to be mean and of course you can raise your children how you want! But I don’t believe it’s wrong to teach the beauty of waiting. I was taught that and I never felt left out or different. Sure you’re not an expert at sex when you have it with your husband at first but who cares? You learn together. Then it becomes amazing.
[…] post from before is Why I Plan to Teach My Kids to Have Sex Before Marriage, I highly recommend reading it. In it I state why I plan to teach my children that having sex […]
I definitely plan to educate my kids on sex, their bodies, and all that, including the emotional aspect of sex. I am not going to encourage anything other than responsibilitiy.
This is tough for me. I strongly believe in waiting until marriage because biblically I believe it’s what is best. I will stress this to my kids but yes obviously I can’t control them. So most importantly, more than anything, I want my kids to feel safe coming to me to have an open on going conversation about sex.
My kids are still small enough on teaching them about it . But it is amazing to read, and know how you do, and how I will have to proceed in almost 5 years now.
oh boy I am nervous that my son just turned 12 and these conversations will be had real soon.
It is so ironic that I am reading this right now, given the rest of work on my agenda for today 🙂
I am wondering if you’re familiar with Our Whole Lives? (OWL)
I agree with much of what you raise above (e.g., the overall unhelpfulness of the abstinence only approach to sex) but, even though I am a trained OWL facilitator for K-12, I am so glad I DON’T have to be the only one teaching my kids about sexuality! 🙂
Short version, it’s a curriculum jointly developed by the United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalists to teach kids about human sexuality *within the context of* their beliefs and values. Which, let’s face it, are still developing/forming – in other words, it acts as a program to help them FORM their own values in the first place. While providing complete, accurate information about the full range of human sexuality and development.
Since it sounds as if you are a person of faith, I encourage you to check it out – if you’re part of a faith community and you have other like-minded parents around you, you may want to look into whether it’s something you’d want to offer as a congregation to your youth.
I’m a member of the UCC, and we jointly offer this curriculum to our youth in conjunction with our local UU congregation – but we also have youth from other backgrounds who participate, including everyone from Quakers (Friends Meeting) to Mennonites!
It’s a really great program. (Go to ucc[dot]org[slash]owl if you want to learn more)
It’s so helpful when your kids also have a group of similarly-knowledgeable peers with whom they can discuss these things 🙂
It’s so good to hear from other like-minded moms. I completely agree with you on this topic. I don’t want sex to be a taboo topic that my kids avoid. But at the same time I don’t want to encourage them to have sex. We have to face the reality as parents that our kids are likely to do the opposite of what we tell them to do. If we tell them not to have sex until marriage, they are likely to have sex at a young age. I’ve seen it happen time and time again to friends who grew up with abstinence only education. My 14 year old is actually starting a comprehensive sex-ed course this weekend run by our church call OWL. Since our education system teaches abstinence only education and has been known to shame young girls I felt this was our best option. You should check it out and see if it’s available in your area. https://www.uua.org/re/owl
Love your post. I am not religious so cannot relate to a lot of feelings about sex that are rooted in religion. But even without religion I have heard my fair bit of shaming talk about sex and not really understanding much about it when I was younger. Sex should not be viewed as a sin and virginity is not something you give to anyone. So yes, kids should absolutely learn about sex. Better from parents than school but school should definitely fill in information that parents didn’t cover. Abstinence simply does not work as evidenced by the high teen pregnancy rate in states that practice abstinence. We should all remove the shame from sex. It’s not shameful.
[…] Why I Plan to Teach My Kids to Have Sex Before Marriage […]
I will go back and read all the Christians that are pissy about this post later and laugh, but for now, I find it appropriate to give you a huge high five. The kind that makes you flinch because it’s so loud, and doesn’t hurt until a couple seconds after, but then for minutes that seem like hours.
I come from a Christian background. I was the good girl who prayed all day long, tithed 10%, and gave 10% to strangers on top of that. I volunteered at my church, and sang the songs. I didn’t ever feel “God” as described in the Bible. I didn’t agree with all the rules, especially this one. I spent YEARS repressing who I am as a lesbian woman. While I’m grateful I was led to where I am now, the Christian rules have a lot to do with that, and why I chose to renounce my belief the Biblical God and realize I do believe in God, just not the one brought to you by the Bible and all the rules associated.
I have teens and their father is still very stuck in the rigidity of the rules, while our co-parenting is important to me, we highly disagree in this regard. You went about this exactly like I did, and I feel so validated. I am grateful there are open minded Christians out there that believe in making the best decisions FOR THEIR FAMILY, and not to follow blindly. Thank you for restoring a little hope I had lost in the Christian faith and it’s following.
Thank you for putting yourself out like this, being raw and vulnerable, and facing all those pissy Christians up there. Keep your head up and don’t let them quiet your powerful voice.