I applaud anyone willing to tackle the difficult topic of sex with students. Really, I do. Sex is never easy to talk about and it’s even harder with teens. Nevertheless, it’s so important that teens hear about sex from God’s perspective. So thank you for doing that.
Having done and sat through my fair share of sex talks, I just want to devote three blog posts to sharing three things with you not to say in your sex talk. And I’ll admit beforehand that these are from a female point of view. Just so you know.
1. Virginity as the Holy Grail
Do not present staying pure and entering marriage as a virgin as the ultimate goal for a teen. It’s not the Holy Grail or the thing to strive for. Jesus is the ultimate goal. A relationship with Him is what students should aspire.
Staying a virgin till marriage will not get you into heaven, nor will it make you a better Christian. Our faith in Jesus Christ will save us, nothing else. Let’s make this abundantly clear!
Yes, I believe that sex belongs inside a marriage and that premarital sex is a sin. But so is stealing candy from a store, lying to your parents, cheating on a test, etc. They’re all sins and we all deserve the death penalty for them from a Biblical perspective.
The Bible does teach that sexual sins are sins against our own body (1 Co 6:18). However, Paul said this in the context of the Corinthians claiming that every sin was a sin outside the body. If you look at the whole passage, Paul makes a plea to glorify God with our bodies. That implies that other sins that affect the body, sins like smoking, doing drugs, etc are also an ‘abuse’ of our body as a temple.
If we teach that having premarital sex is somehow a worse sin than others, what are we saying? That Jesus didn’t die for that? That God’s forgiveness and grace doesn’t extend that far?
Too often, I’ve heard well meaning youth workers state that sexual sins are the worst. That they will impact your marriage forever. That there’s no turning back from it. That you’ll always regret having sex before marriage. That you will feel guilty towards your spouse for all eternity and beyond for not coming to him/her pure.
Yes, premarital sex is a sin. And yes, it’s a sin with potential far-reaching consequences. Of course it is. There’s risk of STD, pregnancy, you name it. But to make it sound like it’s the worst sin ever, that there’s no coming back from it?
God’s grace covers all sins, when we put our faith in Jesus Christ. He can make all things new, including our sexual mistakes. There’s always redemption possible.
But let’s approach it from a different angle. How many teens in your audience will have had some kind of sexual experience already? Maybe voluntarily, maybe under (peer) pressure, maybe as a victim. How will it make them feel if you stress virginity as the ultimate goal, knowing they’ve lost it?
I can tell you. It will make them feel dirty. Done for. Worthless. Used goods no one wants anymore.
Teach about the importance of virginity, please do. God does intend for us to enter marriage pure. But let’s teach with grace and kindness and understanding. Let’s teach knowing that there’s pain in our audience, trauma, guilt, and shame.
And then let’s teach the Gospel, let’s bring into the room the all-changing power of the Gospel: the news of a Savior who died for all our sin and shame, in whom we can be a new creation, no matter our past. Let’s teach forgiveness of all our sins through faith in Jesus Christ, also our sexual sins.
That’s what truly matters, bringing our students to the feet of Jesus.
(In the next post we’ll discuss another issue not to mention in your sex talk).