Let’s talk about sex!

“Let’s talk about sex!” – It’s very unlikely that your parents ever started a conversation with you using those words. It’s also very unlikely that you’ve ever said those words to your children. It probably wouldn’t be the best way of starting to talk about the subject! How it normally happens is far more surprising, unplanned and frankly, awkward!

And yet, we need to talk to our children about sex. Not just sex, but gender, identity, puberty, relationships and marriage. The Bible gives us beautiful truth that builds healthy foundations for thinking about these things. We can be confident, as Christians, that we DO have something to say that will enable our children to flourish. We can say something better than, “If it feels right, then do it.” If we – as Christian parents – don’t talk to our children about these topics in the light of God’s word, they will be left with only a distorted, unhealthy understanding, shaped by the world.

We need to talk about sex! But how? When should we start? What should we say? Are there books that can help us? In episode 13 of the Faith in Parents podcast, Ed Drew interviews Dr Liz Jones, Director of Lovewise, to answer these, and many other questions. Episode 13 part 1 is for parents of younger children, while part 2 is for parents of teens.

Liz and Ed recommend resources for three broad age-ranges (but bear in mind that every child is different – you are the best person to judge what is suitable for your child at any age):

5-8 years – At this stage, talk positively about the great bodies God has given us, and how men and women are made to be different. Talk positively about marriage as God’s intended model, whilst acknowledging that not all families look like this.

Recommended books : “Marriage God’s way” – by Dr Chris Richards and Dr Liz Jones.

“Birds and bees by the book” – by Patricia Weerakoon. A set of 6 books covering family, body, brain, sex, gender and pornography, with accompanying parents resources available online.

8-11 years – At this stage, talk positively about the changes which happen in puberty, as God prepares our bodies and minds for us to live independently and to be able to get married and have children.

Recommended books:

“Growing up God’s way for girls” – by Dr Chris Richards and Dr Liz Jones.

“Growing up God’s way for boys” – by Dr Chris Richards and Dr Liz Jones.

These books give clear explanations of the changes which happen in puberty, in the context of God’s good plan for marriage, whilst also introducing conception and pregnancy in simple terms.Great books to read along with your child as the starting point for discussion, ideally before they are taught about puberty in school SRE lessons.

Into the teenage years – Conversations will need to include other things that they are hearing about, eg pregnancy, abortion, STIs, masturbation and pornography. Showing that we are willing to spend time talking and listening, in an atmosphere of grace, will encourage our teens to come to us with questions or concerns.

Recommended resources:

Growing up by the book – for 11- 14s 

Teen sex by the book – for 15-18s

Staying pure online” – a slideshow about pornography with accompanying notes for parents, to work through with your teen

Lovewise online – a website designed specifically for teens to read for themselves

We need to talk about sex – but we don’t need to be afraid of doing do! Every parent is the expert on communicating with their own child. Every Christian has the word of God, giving us a pattern for sex and relationships that is far, far better than anything that the world can offer. And every Christian has the help of the Holy Spirit as we try to teach our children God’s ways. So … let’s talk about sex!