Our culture loves to talk to our kids about sex.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of truth in what they’re being told. 

From Miley Cyrus to Demi Lovato; kids are being told “Be sexual!” “Make porn!” “Do whatever you want to nurture your true, authentic self!” 

Many kids (and a lot of us adults, if we’re honest) have fallen for lies about sex, but it’s high time we break that cycle. Let’s see what the world is telling our kids and explain how the biblical view of sex is the only option that offers true, authentic flourishing.

Lie #1: You’re incapable of waiting. Why try to do the impossible?  

This lie is plain and simple: “If you’re a teen, there’s no chance this side of heaven that you could possibly wait to have sex. It’s just too difficult, she’s too pretty, your hormones are too crazy, your body has neeeeeeds, and you might go blind if you don’t act on them now!”

Okay, so that last one is a bit of a joke.

This lie makes appearances in sex-ed curriculum, informational websites, and teen magazines so often that even adults have given up trying to encourage kids to wait for sex. After all, the research “all” says that it’ll happen no matter what. Better help make it safe. 

Through the Spirit, we can exercise self-control

But in Galatians 5:22-23 there’s an incredibly important fruit of the Spirit that’s been all but stomped out by the current cultural narrative: self-control. 

Cultivating self-control isn’t easy. Paul bemoaned his occasional slip-ups (Romans 7:18), but we are reminded by Solomon (who conducted a playa lifestyle experiment detailed in Ecclesiastes) that there is a time and purpose for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8).

We know that in Christ we can see victory (Philippians 4:13). Neglecting the necessary development of self-control is like being a city whose defenses are broken down (Proverbs 25:27-28). According to Scripture, you aren’t even fit to lead if you lack self-control— and I don’t know any boss who would hire you without it. 

Our sex lives require just as much self-control as anything else. Your job and marriage will suffer if you’re ensnared by a porn addiction. If you contract an STD, your health and fertility will suffer. Your body, mind, and spirit suffers if you’re sleeping around. 

Our kids need to know that godly self-control isn’t impossible; it’s actually vital for a flourishing life. We can strengthen this spiritual gift by leaning on God for strength and wisdom— and actively making God-honoring choices in our lives. 

Practically this means recognizing our own weaknesses, avoiding points of temptation, and being accountable to other brothers and sisters in the faith. This requires an element of vulnerability which isn’t popular today. If we can paraphrase Proverbs 27: better is the rebuke of a friend than the attractive lies of pop culture.  

Lie #2: Waiting for marriage is literally unhealthy.  

Not only are kids being told it’s impossible to wait, they’re actually being told that it’s psychologically damaging and reckless for future relationships.  

You wouldn’t want to look like you don’t know what you’re doing on your wedding night, would you? You wouldn’t buy a car without test driving it first. So why would you marry a man/woman unless you find out if you’re bedroom compatible? 

This lie tries to justify sin by claiming that you’re gaining a necessary life skill. You have to find out what you want, how to fulfill your needs, how to wow him/her in bed! As progressive pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber states in her book Shameless, waiting for marriage “robs” people of their “sexual development” during which they could be “gaining wisdom…from having lovers, making mistakes, from falling in love.”

True wisdom comes from God

As attractive as her claims sound, her argument fails in two big ways: 

First— wisdom isn’t morally neutral. Wisdom can only come from God (James 1:5) which means wisdom is both good and true. Anything that is sin (like premarital sex) cannot, by nature, count as wisdom. It’s just a cheap counterfeit.  

Secondly, Boltz-Weber confuses knowledge (the understanding of something) with wisdom (the right/moral application of that knowledge.) No criminal in history has ever been let off the hook by claiming he was just “gaining wisdom” by breaking into a house. Why? Because his knowledge on how to get through a busted door was wrongly applied. 

The same goes for sex. 

Boltz-Weber’s argument only works if there is no right or wrong way to use our bodies. But God has clearly designed us with and for a purpose. He has also designed sex with and for a purpose. If we act outside of those purposes we might learn a few things (like how penicillin shots hurt like crazy!), but this doesn’t count as gaining wisdom.

Wisdom comes from resting in the Lord, not from resting in the arms of a string of lovers.

Wisdom comes from resting in the Lord, not from resting in the arms of a string of lovers.

Lie #3: You aren’t a “real” man/woman until you’ve had sex. 

This lie is at the heart of every virgin joke ever made.

On hit shows like Atypical, having sex for the first time is presented as the stepping stone into adulthood. Our kids are accused of being crazy, frigid, or gay for not wanting to “hit that” whenever someone makes it known that they’re ready and willing. 

This lie pokes at our children’s insecurities and makes them feel stupid for not acting like the world. It also doubles down on Lie #2 by saying for the sake of their man/woman card, they shouldn’t wait. 

In reality, this is just Romans 1:18-32 in action. The world had full knowledge of what God intended for us to do with our bodies. Instead, they rejected His design and decided to do what they wanted. In a very real sense they became their own gods and actively engaged in idol worship. In response, God gave them over to their lusts. Folks caved to their every desire and encouraged people around them to join in. 

Before our kiddos hear this lie, they need to be aware that the process of sin doesn’t start with actions, but in the mind. When we stop leaning on the teachings of God, we unplug ourselves from wisdom and plug ourselves into worldly falsehoods. These falsehoods will then lead us into all sorts of sin because we are chasing after self and not God.

Once they understand this, they will recognize that when the world tells they they’re being a prude or wuss by not having sex, what they’re actually hearing is the world lamenting it’s own brokenness.

Our kids need to be encouraged that true manhood and womanhood is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control— not who they had in bed last night (Gal. 5:22-23).

Lie #4: My kids don’t want me to talk to them about this.

Parents, we’ve fallen for this lie hook, line, and sinker. But wanna know a little secret? Our kids want us to talk to them about sex. 

No really, they do. 

When the Power to Decide campaign surveyed thousands of students, do you know who teens, age 12-15, overwhelmingly said had the most influence on their sexual decisions?

Their parents.

Do you know who won for influence with teens ages 16-19? Parents. 

Don’t let their perpetual AirPod use or eye-rolls fool you— our kids are listening. Let’s start talking. 

Check out our next post, 5 Guiding Principles as You Shepherd Your Child’s Sexuality, to learn more about how to talk to your kids about Biblical sexuality or order your copy of Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality.